The stranger and the ring

When my father died he left me a ring which had once belonged to his father. But before long I was thrown into a panic – I had lost it. Racked with guilt, I tuned to a stranger for help.

Gold drew many to South Africa and it was gold that has just reaffirmed my faith in this muddled, mosaic nation.

As a Briton living in Cape Town, I recently received the call nobody wants. My father had passed away. After the funeral in England, my mother showed me dad’s will. It mostly went to her with one named item for me – a gold ring, worn for decades by dad and before him, by his own father.

The stranger and the ring

Rare medieval St George ring found in Norfolk

A 600-year-old gold ring engraved with St George and the Dragon sheds new light on the saint’s medieval followers in Norwich, an expert has told the BBC.

The ring, found by a metal detectorist in South Creake, Norfolk, dates from between 1350 and 1430.

Dr Jonathan Good, author of The Cult of St George, said the ring “attests to the popularity of St George” and may be linked to a guild devoted to the saint.

The ring was ruled to be treasure at an inquest in Norwich this week.

It is set to be acquired by Norwich Castle Museum.

Rare medieval St George ring found in Norfolk

Saffron Walden Museum’s £60,000 treasure appeal gains support

The urgent appeal to raise £60,000 to enable Saffron Walden Musuem Society to keep five archaeological treasures discovered in the area has already received more than £2,500 of the Society’s £7,500 local funding target.

The thousands of pounds, which have come from generous local donors and organisations, have been donated after the Society launched a public appeal two months ago to keep the items close to where they were buried.

The finds, made by metal detector enthusiasts, were declared treasure after their discovery since 2011.

Saffron Walden Museum’s £60,000 treasure appeal gains support

Tragic tale behind 18th century ring found in a Shropshire field

The tragic story behind a beautiful ring discovered in a field in Shropshire has been revealed by metal detectorist Tony Baker.

Mr Baker found the gold ring while out metal detecting in a field near Bridgnorth in 2005. Inscribed on the ring were the names Mary and Sarah Littleton and the date June 7, 1735.

He did his own research and discovered that the ring, which has a rock crystal, was made by Thomas Littleton in memory of his wife Mary and their child Sarah, who had died in childbirth.

Mr Baker, 66, will tell the tale of the ring on ITV’s Britain’s Secret Treasures on an episode due to be screened on October 31.

Tragic tale behind 18th century ring found in a Shropshire field

Aurelia and the Beanstalk

I attended another club dig yesterday, this time in the Bedford area, on 4 fields of bean stubble. The soil was heavy clay and it had been raining heavily overnight and continued to rain almost all day. I lasted 2 hours before giving up, looking like something risen from a primaeval swamp to terrify small children. I shivered all the way home and had a stiff drink and a hot shower when I got there.

The mud was Biblical. My pin pointer was covered to half a inch thick. Eventually I couldn’t find the on/off switch and the little speaker vents were covered with mud so I couldn’t actually hear it bleep. My finds pouch was filled with mud, the pin pointer holster was filled with mud, my knee pads stuck to the ground every time I knelt down, and both the spade handle and the detector stuck to my hand. It wasn’t just the mud, but all the loose bits of vegetation that stuck to the mud. If I wasn’t a primeval swamp monster I was at least a walking compost heap. So I gave up.

The fields were generally quiet as regards actual signals. The odd iron grunt, the occasional good signal and an awful lot of chirps and chatter. The latter was because the coil reacted every time it struck a bean stalk. Unlike wheat or barley stubble, which the coil just pushes out of the way, bean stubble is much thicker and stronger which added to the problems of the mud.

In two hours I dug 4 pieces of God-knows-what. It was impossible to work out in the field what they were because of – did I mention the mud? The more I tried to rub it off on the spot the more I seemed to rub on. Eventually I put the nondescript pieces of metal in my finds pouch, hoping they would not stick to the trowel and be lost again.

It took me several hours this morning to clean the mud off most of my equipment and to have a look at my finds. Three pieces of scrap lead and 1 copper alloy book clasp or strap end which will be going to see the FLO in December.

Those who stuck it out were rewarded for their persistence. Other finds included a dozen or more hammered coins, a Bronze Age gold ring and a medieval bronze figure of Christ some 4″ to 5″ tall, presumably from a large crucifix. There are going to be some very happy FLOs I suspect.

Finds: 1 strap end (probably).

131013 clasp

South Shropshire gold ring declared ‘treasure’

A coroner has ruled that a 1,500-year-old gold ring found by a metal detectorist is treasure. It was found in south Shropshire in August.

Peter Reavill, finds liaison officer for the county, said Shropshire Museums would like to buy the ring.

Experts at the British Museum said the ring, which weighs 8.21g (0.3oz), is 93% gold.

Their report said it probably dated from the early medieval period, the beginning of the Dark Ages after the end of the Roman occupation of Britain.

South Shropshire gold ring declared ‘treasure’

13th century gold ring found in Sleaford

A metal detecting enthusiast has dug up the find of a lifetime by unearthing a 13th century gold ring worth thousands of pounds.

John Cooper, formerly of Sleaford but now living in Cheshire, has been following his hobby of metal detecting in the Sleaford area for the last 30 years, in the past finding such things as Roman coins and brooches.

John’s sapphire ring find is fit for royalty