Published:
October 16, 2014
Burnham metal detector enthusiast strikes gold with ring discovery

A Burnham-On-Sea metal detector enthusiast has unearthed a solid gold ring in a field near Highbridge which appears to be hundreds of years of old and worth thousands of pounds.

Morley Howard, pictured, said this week he is stunned to have discovered the valuable ring.

"It's now on its way to the British Museum to be examined and logged under the Treasure Act," he told Burnham-On-Sea.com.

Morley has been metal detecting for around four years and has found many items, but the ring stands out as a special find.

"When previously metal detecting on this land I'd only unearthed pre-decimal and modern items, but the farmer recently ploughed the land and I thought I'd give it a couple of hours again."

"My metal detector was quiet initially and found few signals. But just as I was about to turn around, my machine gave a good strong signal and I dug a small plug and lifted the sod of soil to reveal a small band of yellow. It was a marvellous moment."

"The moment I unearthed it my thoughts were mixed. I thought what a loss it must have been for the owner at the time. It was also a joy for me to get a treasure find."

The ring was taken to the Somerset County Museum and has since been sent to the British Museum to be verified.

"If it's proven to be over 300 years old it will be offered to a local museum to acquire," said Morley.

"If a museum wants it they will have to pay the land owner 50% and myself 50% once it's been valued. These rings - called posy rings - can have a value ranging from £1,500 to £4,000. If the ring is not acquired by a museum then it is returned to me and the land owner and we'll decide what to do with it."

Morley added: "It is hard to date as there are no makers initials or hallmarks. These were introduced in the 1300's and not everyone used them - most posy rings date from the 15th century to 18th century. The inscription is unique and reads 'In thee my choys I do rejoyes'.

"Many posy rings were made for women and are smaller, but this one is a male ring and weighs 6.8 grams."

"Not a lot of people know that Burnham is full of history that dates back to Roman times. The huge 1607 flood buried most of our history even deeper."

The ring was unearthed from beneath several inches of soil, as shown here.


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