A MAN struck gold when he came across a centuries old ring in a farmer’s field.
George McKean of Mold Historical Search Society was hoping for medieval or Roman finds when he went metal detecting in the Erbistock area of Wrexham.
He did not expect to discover a long lost love token from the late 16th or early 17th century.
Made of gold and with dark blue enamel and a repeating floral pattern, the ring measures 15.2mm in diameter and has an inscription inside reading: “Not a truer [heart] alive”.
The ring was authenticated by Dr Mark Redknap of the National Museum Cardiff and declared treasure by North East and Central Wales coroner John Gittins at an inquest in Mold.
Posy rings have inscriptions that express affection, friendship and love.
Mr McKean, 60, who found the ring, said it had probably been lost during hay-making or when vegetables had been planted years ago.
“They used to throw potatoes out in handfuls,” he said. “It might have got lost then.”
Mr McKean, who has been metal detecting for 40 years, said when he unearthed the ring, he had been fairly sure what he had found.
“And I knew it was a ladies’ ring when it didn’t fit on my finger,” he said, “but I thought it was a mourning ring because the enamel looked black. I’m delighted it’s a posy ring.”
Due to its age and because the object contains more than 10 per cent precious metal, it qualified as treasure under the Treasure Act 1996, the inquest heard.
Wrexham Museum has expressed an interest in acquiring the ring and Mr McKean said he would be happy for the ring to go there.
Mr McKean found the items in May 2010 after he was invited by the landowners, a farmer and his wife, to search his land.
The discovery came just a few months after Mr McKean found an even older ring – from 1350 – on the Duke of Westminster’s estate in Huntington near Chester.
Mr McKean said he was “very pleased” with his most recent find.
“It’s not worth a great deal of money but I’m not in it for the money,” he said. “That’s not what it’s about.
“Metal detecting is a chance to get some fresh air, have some gentle exercise, and discover history without it costing the taxpayer anything.”