A metal detectorist who discovered a 350-year-old gold and crystal mourning ring in a field on the Isle of Man slept with it under his pillow before reporting it to the authorities.
Lee Morgan unearthed the Civil War era piece on an afternoon in late December in the south of the island. He said it was a “fantastic feeling” to unearth the “spectacular” item. The find was reported to the Manx Museum shortly afterwards and declared treasure at an inquest last week.
Mr Morgan said he made the discovery with what was his “final signal of the whole year” while out metal detecting with his parents. He had decided to head back to the car after two hours searching when he found it by chance in an area he had already extensively searched.
It is the third item of treasure he has found since he started metal detecting in 2008, having previously detected a Viking Age ingot and a hoard of coins. He said the latest find “looked like the day it was dropped” when it was uncovered, adding: “I wasn’t expecting it to be as spectacular as what it was.”
While the find itself was a shock, “unravelling the story” behind it was even more exciting, Mr Morgan added. It is though the ring, which dates back to the mid to late 1600s and bears the initials JD in gold thread, could have been produced to commemorate the death of the 7th Earl of Derby and Lord of Man James Stanley.
Mr Morgan said the Manx Museum, where it has been put on display, was the “right place” for the item as it was “part of the Manx history”.
Artefacts found on the island must be reported to Manx National Heritage and if an item is declared treasure the finder is compensated.