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On Left – William Shakespeare. On Right – Representation of posy ring. Source: Left, Steschum / Adobe Stock; Right, Medieval Posy Ring / CC BY-SA 2.0.

Grandmother May Have Found a Ring Owned by Shakespeare

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In recent years, metal detectorists have made many exciting discoveries in the United Kingdom . Most recently a retired postal worker in England who is a detectorist believes that she has made a potentially historic discovery. She believes that she found a ring that could have belonged to William Shakespeare, perhaps the greatest poet and dramatist in the English language.

Wherefore art thou?

Sue Kilvert (66) has been an avid detectorist for the past five years. She is a retired postal worker and a grandmother who spends much of her free time looking for treasure with her metal detector. Sue made the find near Shakespeare Hall in Rowington, Warwickshire.

This Tudor-era building was once owned by the family of the great writer, William Shakespeare. Ms. Kilvert told the Metro that, “I had been digging up nothing but rubbish all day when a fellow detector suggested I try the fields around the Tudor hall”.

She started investigating a banked field not far from Shakespeare Hall. As she was making her way to the end of the field, her machine appeared to have picked up something metallic.

Shakespeare Hall, Rowington, near where the ring was located. Photo taken from the Heart of England Way, a recreational footpath through Warwickshire. (Image: Heart of England Blog)

Shakespeare Hall, Rowington, near where the ring was located. Photo taken from the Heart of England Way, a recreational footpath through Warwickshire. (Image: Heart of England Blog)

The detectorist told the Daily Mail “I dug down 8 inches (20 centimeters) and looked into the hole but couldn't locate anything, which I thought was strange”. Then she spotted something in the tall grass. Sue had come across what looked like a ring and became very excited.

All That Glitters Is Not Old

At first, she thought that the ring was a nice piece but probably did not have any historical value . According to Ladbible, she stated that “It was tiny so I thought it might be a modern child's ring”. Then she asked some fellow detectorists about the ring. They were more impressed with her find than she was.

The posy ring that was discovered. (History UK / Twitter)

The Daily Mail reports that one of the detectorists, told Sue, “he was certain it was a posy ring ”. These were gold finger rings that were popular from the 1400s to the 1600s and often worn by unmarried lovers, in both France and England.

Then her fellow detectorists began to talk about the ring having a connection to Shakespeare. It is from the period when the ‘Bard of Avon’ lived and it is near his family home, where it is believed that he wrote the classic comedy ‘As You Like It’ in 1599.

William Shakespeare’s Ring?

The Daily Mail reports that the “The delicate red and white enamel on the gold ring carries the inscription ‘Truth Betrays Not’”. Sue thinks that the inscription is very poetic.

She is not getting carried away with the idea that the ring was once owned or worn by the author of Hamlet and Macbeth. Sue told the Daily Mail ”I don't think you could ever prove if it was linked to him but it is a very romantic thought!”

Did the posy ring belong to William Shakespeare? (Paris 16 / Public Domain)

Did the posy ring belong to William Shakespeare? (Paris 16 / Public Domain )

Sue brought her discovery to a museum in Birmingham. Under the Treasure Act 1996 , those who find items that may be historically valuable need to notify the local authorities. After the University of Birmingham has appraised the ring, a local coroner will determine if it is ‘treasure’.

Is the Shakespeare Ring a ‘Treasure’?

If the ring is deemed to be treasure the finder is obliged to sell it to a museum in the UK. The value of the object will be determined by the “British Museum’s Treasure Valuation Committee” reports the Herald Publicist . Sue and the owner of the land where the ring was found will receive a financial reward.

However, if the ring is deemed not to be treasure, then Sue as the finder can do with it what she wants. She can sell it at an auction if she wishes. However, she really likes the ring and if she is allowed to keep it she may not sell it, because she believes that it is a once in a lifetime find.

Top image: On Left – William Shakespeare. On Right – Representation of posy ring. Source: Left, Steschum / Adobe Stock; Right, Medieval Posy Ring / CC BY-SA 2.0 .

By Ed Whelan

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