|The Torre Abbey Jewel|
The Victoria & Albert Museum
The pendant would have hung from a chain to serve as a powerful reminder of the Latin term meaning “Remember you must die.” The skeleton and coffin reminded the wearer that death was certain, as was the Lord’s judgment, and thusly, it encouraged a virtuous life.
An inscription on the pendant further reminds that the wearer not fear death, stating in English that through Christ's resurrection - his sacrifice on the Cross and his rising from the dead - we are all “sanctified” or made holy.
The V&A bought the jewel for £21 in 1856. This curiosity was believed to have been found in the grounds of Torre Abbey in Devon. That fact does not necessarily mean that it had any connection with Torre Abbey when it was a monastery. The jewel appears to date from no earlier than the 1540s.