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Suffolk engraved gold ring discovered at Loch Lomond could fetch £10,000

PUBLISHED: 12:43 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:56 29 July 2019

The ring is believed to date from 1640 to 1680 Picture: DNW

The ring is believed to date from 1640 to 1680 Picture: DNW

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A rare 17th-century gold ring engraved with a Suffolk family’s crest will go under the hammer in September after being unearthed in Scotland by a metal detectorist.

Michelle Vall with the Colman ring she discovered Picture: DNWMichelle Vall with the Colman ring she discovered Picture: DNW

The gold armorial ring, which is believed to date from 1640 to 1680, was discovered on the shores of Loch Lomond in November last year by detectorist Michelle Vall.

Mrs Vall, a teaching assistant from Blackpool, declared the ring as Scottish Treasure Trove to the National Museum of Scotland - but was told in June that the museum did not want to buy the ring.

She then contacted auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb (DNW), who further researched the ring to discover the crest belonged to the Colman family of Brent Eleigh, near Lavenham.

The crest can be seen prominently displayed on the ledge slab of the tomb of Samuel Colman (1569-1653) in St Mary's Church in the village and on the Brent Eleigh sign post.

The village sign in Brent Eleigh Picture: GOOGLE MAPSThe village sign in Brent Eleigh Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The Colman family made their fortune in the mid 16th-century from the cloth trade in Lavenham.

They invested their wealth into land and in 1607, Samuel Colman purchased the manors of Brent Eleigh and Fennhall as the family rose to rank among the Suffolk gentry.

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Samuel's second son Thomas was a devout clergyman in the protestant faith in Brent Eleigh, but Thomas's only son Edward became a convert to Catholicism and had a reputation as an effective preacher of his new faith, gaining a number of converts.

The ring is expected to fetch 10,000 pounds at auction Picture: DNWThe ring is expected to fetch 10,000 pounds at auction Picture: DNW

Edward worked as a courtier for James II of England (James VII of Scotland), who lived for a while in Edinburgh before he took the throne.

Nigel Mills, DNW's antiquities specialist, said: "The Colman seal ring is an excellent example of a high status ring of the period, of which there are only a very limited number surviving in this condition.

"Metal detectorists like Michelle have contributed vastly to our knowledge by finding treasures that would have otherwise been unknown to exist."

Mrs Wall, who previously unearthed a rare gold hammered coin which fetched £40,800 at auction in December 2017, said she was shocked to discover the ring with husband Tony.

"Uncovering the ring was an unforeseen event as myself and husband were detecting on a field with no particular history of finds in the area," she said.

"We were enjoying the peace and relaxation of our wonderful hobby, finding the usual ring pulls, tractor pieces and miscellaneous metal objects. So when I unearthed the ring, which was close to the surface, I knew straight away that it was something special.

"It shone with a distinct bright yellow colour as I carefully lifted it out of the dark muddy hole, where it had waited for at least 350 years. 
"My calm mind changed to one of excitement as I shouted Tony over, he was surprised to see the ring lying in the palm of my hand."

The ring, which will go under the hammer on Tuesday, September 10 at DNW's auction rooms in Mayfair, central London, is expected to fetch around £10,000.


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