WMID-8D3485: Medieval: Complete stirrup finger ring

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Unique ID: WMID-8D3485

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A complete silver stirrup finger ring, of Medieval dating (AD 1200 to AD 1400).

The finger ring has a D shaped hoop. The hoop rises to a flat topped pointed bezel. A gem is set into the bezel with a plain setting. The gem is oval. Under magnification, it is possible to see pitting and a conchoidal fracture in the surface of the gem, suggesting that it is probably glass as opposed to a gemstone. A pink paste is present around the edges of the gem and inside the setting. The hoop thins in width towards the back of the ring.

The finger ring has a internal diameter of 17.0 mm, and an external diameter of 20.9 mm. With the bezel, it is 23.4 mm in length and 5.31 mm thick. The hoop has a maximum width of 4.7 mm and 2.5 mm thick (below the bezel) and a minimum width of 2.8 mm and 1.8 mm thick. The gem is 5.7 mm long and 4.6 mm wide. It weighs 3.6 g.

The finger ring is a dark grey colour with an uneven surface patina.

XRF Analysis was carried out at Birmingham Museum Conservation lab using an M1 Mistral tabletop machine. The finger ring was tested in two places on the hoop and three places on the gem. The results are below:

Location Au Ag Cu Fe Sn Mn In Si Al
Hoop - 1 0.79 +/- 0.04 98.07 +/- 0.39 1.15 +/- 0.06 - - - - - -
Hoop - 2 0.64 +/- 0.04 98.66 +/- 0.43 0.69 +/- 0.05 - - - - - -
Gem - 1 - 1.95 +/- 0.03 - - 0.27 +/- 0.03 2.10 +/- 0.13 0.10 +/- 0.02 62.29 +/- 18.23 33.30 +/- 56.61
Gem - 2 - 22.33 +/- 0.21 - 1.38 +/- 0.16 0.95 +/- 0.24 3.13 +/- 0.28 0.23 +/- 0.10 71.98 +/- 24.21 -
Gem - 3 - 7.37 +/- 0.08 - - 0.53 +/- 0.09 2.31 +/- 0.17 0.10 +/- 0.04 64.37 +/- 29.01 25.31 +/- 94.07

The XRF analysis has proved that the hoop is substantially silver (98%). The gem stone is likely to be glass with manganese as the colourant, but as two of the tests exhibited high levels of aluminium and high error levels on the silicon, this may be an incorrect result.

Stirrup finger rings were popular in England for at least three hundred years, starting from the mid 12th Century AD. This style of finger ring were worn by both sexes (Pritchard, 1991, 326). Two stirrup rings, albeit made from pewter and bronze, as opposed to silver, were recovered from excavations in London (Pritchard, 1991, 326, no 1608-9) and have dated to London Ceramic phase 8 (c. AD 1230 to c. AD 1260).

Therefore the finger ring is older than 300 years and it has a precious metal content of greater than 10%, it should be considered to be Treasure under the requirements of the Treasure Act 1996.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: County / local importance

Class: stirrup

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by a museum after being disclaimed as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2014T788


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1230
Date to: Circa AD 1360

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 23.4 mm
Width: 20.9 mm
Thickness: 5.31 mm
Weight: 3.6 g
Diameter: 20.9 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 19th October 2014

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Teresa Gilmore
Identified by: Miss Teresa Gilmore

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2014T788
Museum accession number: STKMG 2016.LH.26

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Secondary material: Glass
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Staffordshire (County)
District: Lichfield (District)
To be known as: Tamworth

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Discovery circumstances: found whilst out metal detecting
Current location: The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: WMID
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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