KENT-ECA76E: Iconographic ring

Rights Holder: Kent County Council
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Unique ID: KENT-ECA76E

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A worn cast gilt-silver cast iconographic finger ring of medieval date.


It has a bezel rectangular plan and is divided into three sunken fields divided by raised ridges. Each field has incised decoration; the outer two panels have foliate motifs which flank the central panel containing a crude haloed saint. This figure holds an object in their right hand and gestures to it with their left. It is not clear what this attribute is, it takes the form of a triangle topped with a circle and may represent the Virgin Mary holding the infant Christ or John the Evangelist holding a chalice. The shoulders of the ring are subdivided by a central ridge oriented at right angles to that on the bezel, and to either side of each shoulder ridge is diagonal decoration formed by paired lines with pellets in each of the triangles formed by the diagonally incised lines. The decoration changes to alternating plan bands and ribbon bands.

The decoration particularly on the exposed areas of the shoulder and lower band are heavily worn. The inner band also shows a number of scratches but more gilding survives here than on the outer band. The entire band is slightly squashed, likely this occurred in antiquity.

Measurements: 23.7mm long, 21.37mm high, 9.41mm wide (at the bezel, 4.46mm wide at the lower band), 1.54mm thick (at the bezel, band is 1.01mm thickest) and 4.65g in weight.

Discussion: Frequently given as New Years and wedding gifts, iconographic rings of the 15th century originated through the cult of saints some point in the late 14th century, with the type not surviving the English Reformation (Scarisberick and Henig 2003, 42-43). A number of similar rings with the less common segmented band, or related types, have been reported to the PAS as treasure and Kent has produced nearly 20 such examples. This form of iconographic ring , with transverse panels of decoration, is less common although similar examples have been reported to the PAS as treasure such as 2018T732 (NLM-C8FEB9) and 2013T898 (SUSS-603855) which have two panels and 2016 T652 (LIN-2F6F65) which has the three panels as here

Conclusion: It is therefore clear that this ring dates to before 1718 and as the object is made of more than 10% precious metals, it constitutes potential Treasure under the stipulations of The Treasure Act 1996.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Include in MedArch

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2018T354


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

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 23.7 mm
Height: 21.37 mm
Width: 9.41 mm
Thickness: 1.54 mm
Weight: 4.65 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 24th February 2018

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2018T354

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Decoration style: Figurative
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Kent (County)
District: Folkestone and Hythe (District)
To be known as: Newchurch

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

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

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