What is a “mourning ring” and why has one been found in North-Essex?
- Credit: Archant
A gold ring engraved with the message “remember me in hope” is thought to date back to the 17th century and may have been given as token of love, a treasure inquest heard.
The post-medieval ring, believed to be more than 300-years-old, and nine other items containing precious metals, were declared treasure by the Essex Coroner’s Service today Friday August 24, at a hearing in Chelmsford.
The gold ‘posy’ ring was inscribed with the words “remember me in hope AT” - and is thought to be a commemorative mourning ring or perhaps a betrothal ring. The ring is relatively small and could have been produced for a child or a woman.
The ring also appears to bear a small coffin-shaped makers mark or production stamp on the inner band.
The report presented to the coroner, Caroline Beasley-Murray, suggests the lettering on the inscription is akin to mourning and betrothal rings from the late 17th century and since the item contains more than 10 per cent gold and believed to be more than 300-years-old, it was considered treasure.
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A silver post-medieval cufflink showing two hearts surmounted by a crown was also presented to the coroner and experts from the British Museum believe that the item may have celebrated the marriage of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza in 1662.
The item, declared treasure, was very worn but the two hearts and crown were a common motif which probably continued to be used for some time after the marriage of Charles II as a popular symbol for marriage.
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One report suggested the design had royalist or catholic connotations and that such pieces went out of fashion around 1714.
Among other items presented to the coroner were a hoard of Bronze Age copper alloy objects and a collection of coins from the late Iron Age, both of which were discovered using a metal detector and deemed to be treasure.
A medieval silver bird finial, with both the tip of the wings and the end of the body missing, was also classified as treasure by the coroner. It is believed that the item was part of a larger object, which would have featured as part of fine tableware.