History revealed: Pre- and post-medieval rings declared as treasure in Harrogate

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Two historic rings have been declared as treasure at a treasure trove inquest at Harrogate Magistrates Court.

The first, a medieval gold finger ring, was found in Bilton in Ainsty by someone using a metal detector in August last year.

The court heard that the complete cast gold ring featured a traditional medieval pattern with what appeared to be “flowers or fruit” decorated with diamonds and enamel.

Black lettering was also found engraved into the metal on the inside of the band reading: “Mon Cuer Avez” which coroner, Mr Rob Turnbull, said translates to: “my heart is yours”.

The item is thought to be a posy ring dating back to the period AD1430.

In a separate hearing, Mr Turnbull identified a gold mourning ring which had been found in October last year, in Linton, North Yorkshire.

A report on the ‘post-medieval’ item dated the ring back to 1688.

Reading from the report Mr Turnbull said: “Mourning rings were worn to commemorate the loss of an acquaintance or a loved one.

“People often set aside money in their will for mourning rings to be made and distributed to family and friends.”

Mr Turnbull said that in the 19th century philosopher and jurist, Jeremy Bentham left 26 mourning rings to friends according to his final will dated May 30 1832.

Both rings were declared as treasure as a result of the time period they dated back to and the amount of precious metal in their composition.

Museums have expressed interest in both items.

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