Amateur detectorist finds 15th century ring worth thousands in North Yorkshire village

Medievel Love Ring found by metal detectorist in field sells for five figure sum.  Mark Littler

Medievel Love Ring found by metal detectorist in field sells for five figure sum. Mark Littler

An amateur metal detectorist uncovered the find of a lifetime in a North Yorkshire village - a 15th century jewelled ring which has been sold for a five-figure sum.

Lee Rossiter, a technical writer, found the golden ring by chance in a field in Green Hammerton in April last year after buying a metal detector on Ebay.

Local museums including the Harrogate Museum tried to raise the funds to purchase it after it was declared treasure, but it has now been sold to a private buyer.

Mr Rossiter, a member of the Yorkshire Searchers Metal Detecting Club, had only started the hobby 18 months before as he thought it might interest his daughter.

But, when she lost interest, he took up the hobby himself and it was pure luck as he was walking to his car for his coat on the cold April day that he made the chance discovery.

“I got really excited, so far I had only found the odd silver coin, but this looked like a proper piece of jewellery, which seemed to be made of gold,” he said. “One of my friends said it was far too yellow to be real gold and looked like costume jewellery, I should just throw it away.”

The golden ring was uncovered in the field close to a stream, where it is believed to have lain in the ground for around 500 years.

Named ‘The Green Hammerton Ring’ after the area where it was found in North Yorkshire, it has been described as a “magnificent 15th century double bezel chased finger ring in the form of a flower” and is set with two gemstones, an emerald and a ruby.

It is engraved in Medieval French ‘ne mem – bon’ with a heart at the end, and is mostly gold, with a mix of silver and some copper.

Kieran McCarthy, director of Wartski which brokered the sale of the ring, said: “We have a strong interest in medieval rings and were thrilled to have the opportunity of purchasing this one.

“Jewels of this calibre are extraordinarily rare and it is magical when the ground presents them as gifts to those who look for them.”