BM-14CF37: Medieval gold finger-ring

Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Unique ID: BM-14CF37

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Gold finger-ring with external inscription, of 15th-century date.

Description: The finger-ring is complete, comprising a broad, flat circular hoop of comparatively small diameter. The hoop was soldered and the feathered join is evident on both the inside and outside faces. The hoop has been engraved with leaves and flowers between words in black-letter script. The decoration comprises a four-petalled flower, repeated three times and flanked each side by springs of foliage. Between the decorative leaves, the inscription appears to read: + ie la veil (I wish it, or I want it). The inscription is in French and is a love motto; quite what the wearer wanted is left to our imagination, but presumably was union with the beloved.

Discussion: The finger-ring type is typical of a late medieval form, which can be closely paralleled with a 15th-century finger-ring declared Treasure in 2007 (Robinson, 2007, 135, No 301) with the motto + Mon cuer auez (have my heart). The ring can also be closely paralleled with another 15th-century example found at Ewenni, Vale of Glamorgan and reported on by Cherry and Redknap (1991, 120) with the inscription + ieme la belle (love the beautiful) . French phrases and mottoes were associated with gifts and expressions of love in 15th-century England. The small size of the finger-ring may suggest that it belonged to a young person.

Dimensions: Internal diameter of band:13.3mm; external diameter of band: 14.5mm, Width of band: 4.4mm; thickness of band: 0.6mm; weight: 1.3g.

Conclusion: The finger-ring is over 300 years old and visually appears to be well in excess of 10% precious metal, and therefore should be considered as potential Treasure under the 1996 Treasure Act.

Mark Lodwick
Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Coordinator; Wales

Inscription: + ie la veil

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Declared Treasure but returned to Finder as Museum unable to acquire

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2009T674


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Exactly AD 1400
Date to: Circa AD 1500

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Width: 4.4 mm
Thickness: 0.6 mm
Weight: 1.3 g
Diameter: 14.5 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 20th September 2009

Personal details

Recorded by: Miss Janina Parol
Identified by: Mr Mark Lodwick
Secondary identifier: Dr Malcolm Jones

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2009T674

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Incised or engraved or chased

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Kinnersley (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SO3449
Four figure Latitude: 52.13534
Four figure longitude: -2.9657
1:25K map: SO3449
1:10K map: SO34NW
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: BM
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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