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Mystery of hero's missing key solved

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

The mystery of the whereabouts of a memorial to one of Shrewsbury's most famous sons has been solved - thanks to the Shropshire Star.

An appeal was launched to trace the display case containing items linked to Admiral John Benbow earlier this week.

Andrew Finch, from Wattlesborough, near Shrewsbury, said it used to be kept at the old Furrows garage but he appealed for people who knew where it was now to come forward.

He also issued an appeal for the town to celebrate Admiral Benbow, claiming that he felt he had been "forgotten" in his home town.

And now Jade Lynch of Benbow Quay, off Coton Hill, has solved the mystery after reading about the search for the glass case, which contains a section of a tree with a key hanging from a rusty nail.

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In a post on the Shropshire Star's website she said: "I live at Benbow Quay and, yes, the tree with the key hanging on it is displayed behind the fountains in between the wishbone staircase."

Benbow Quay was built by Shropshire Homes on the site of the former Furrows garage in 2006 and the display case is at the front of the development, flanked by two plaques. One says: "Admiral Benbow's key was recovered here by Shropshire Homes Ltd and unveiled here by Mrs Jane Coward MBE, JP on October 3, 2006."

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The site of the development is known as the birthplace of Admiral Benbow. It is thought that before running away to sea, the young Benbow deposited a key in a nearby poplar tree and it is this which is displayed at the site. He died in action in the West Indies in 1702.

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Today Howard Thorne, managing director of Shropshire Homes, said he had contacted Mr Finch to say that the display case was at the site.

He said: "We're delighted to have helped to solve the mystery. We wanted to ensure we included the display case at the development when we designed it and it takes pride of place at the centre of Benbow Quay.

"Admiral Benbow is an important figure in the town's history and we are pleased to be able to include a memorial to him at the site."

By John Kirk

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