Gold ring from Civil War era unearthed in field

A gold and crystal mourning ring thought to have connections to the Lord of Man during the English Civil War has been unearthed by a metal detectorist on the Isle of Man.

The “delicate” 350-year-old piece was discovered in a field in the south of the island by Lee Morgan in late December. It was revealed in an inquest where it was officially declared treasure. The ring will now go on display in the medieval gallery at the Manx Museum.

Manx National Heritage curator Allison Fox said the piece, which is adorned with the letters JD or ID, would have been made for “an individual of high status”.

There was “a possibility that it may have been associated with the Stanley family, previously Lords of Man”, she said.

It is though the initials on the ring, which dates back to the mid to late 1600s, could refer to the 7th Earl of Derby and Lord of Man James Stanley, a supporter of the Royalist cause during the war.

By the time of his execution by the Parliamentarians in 1651 he had adopted the signature J Derby.

Following his death his wife Charlotte, Lady Derby, was determined to make sure his name was not forgotten.

Mourning rings including the initials of the person who had died were sometimes distributed at funerals.

The ring will go on display at the museum on Saturday and will be valued at a later date.

Artefacts found on the island that are at least 300 years old and contain at least 10% precious metal are classed as treasure and must be reported to Manx National Heritage, with the finder paid compensation.

Ms Fox said finds reported to the organisation made “an immense contribution to our knowledge of the archaeology and history of the Isle of Man”.

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