Metal detector ‘find of a lifetime’ may fetch £10k
AN amateur metal detector enthusiast was celebrating a “find of a lifetime” after he discovered a 500-year-old gold ring worth £10,000.
Driving instructor Paul Wood, 64, was searching a field when he found the pristine artefact buried under several feet of mud.
The ring was found on land in Bampton, on the edge of the Cotswolds.
The seal ring, which dates back to between the late 1500s and early 1700s, was named ‘artefact of the year’ by the Metal Detectives Group.
The ring is engraved with an elaborate coat of arms and crest, which is believed to represent the Skynner family.
According to research carried out by Mr Wood, the Skynners were important in the Bampton area from the 13th century onwards.
Mr Wood, from Upton, near Poole in Dorset, stumbled across the ring in August 2016.
He said: “I’ve been metal detecting since the mid-1970s and this is a find of a lifetime for me. It could be 500 years old. I’ve found broken bits of ring before but never anything like this. It’s in beautiful condition. There isn’t a blemish on it.
“I found variations of the Skynner crest and traced the Le Skiniers, who came over to England during the Norman conquest in the 11th century.
“There was a Henry Le Skynner in 1287 in Brampton. The evidence is compelling.”
Mark Becher, who runs the Metal Detectives Group from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and who organ- ised the search, said: “It took place on land sold off for housing development.
“I asked if we could explore the land before the houses went up.
“The homes have been built now. But for Paul, that ring, which is steeped in history and worth thousands of pounds, could have been lost forever.
“When Paul found it, he was so excited – we all were. We knew it was special. It’s a high-end object that would have belonged to a person of wealth and importance.
“It demonstrates craftsmanship, skill, detail and definition. It’s just amazing. Gold comes out of the ground exactly as it goes in.”
The ring is now going under the hammer and is expected to fetch £10,000 at Hansons Auctioneers next month.
James Brenchley, Hansons’ head of antiquities, ancient art and classical coins, said: “It’s a wonderful find and, due to it being rather small, may have belonged to a lady.
“The coat of arms features an elegant chevron decorated with small dots between three birds’ heads. Above the shield is a well detailed helm, from which emerges elaborate mantling on either side.
“Just above the helm, the crest consists of another bird’s head rising from a battlement, its mouth open and neck decorated with thin lines to indicated ruffled feathers.
“A similar example can be found at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.”
Paul Wood shows off his ‘artefact of the year’ awardalongside Mark Becher
The beautiful ring with its elaborate coat of arms