Recently, a metal detecting newbie had an amazing find just 20 minutes after beginning to metal detect in Sherwood Forest. He discovered a golden ring, though to be from the 14th century, which may be worth up to £70,000.

The ring, with a heavy golden band and a deep blue rectangular stone, appears to be a man’s, and has an engraved image of  a naked Christ-child and of a ‘female saint’ (the newspaper’s words–I would imagine it is the Virgin Mary.)

The find was not far from the ruins of the Palace of Clipstone, also known as King John’s Hunting Lodge, and is may have fallen from the finger of some dignitary on business at the palace. Many kings and nobles visited Clipstone, including Richard Lionheart in 1194, after his return from captivity and subsequent siege of Nottingham castle, which had been held against him by supporters of John. The King held a great council here, which included many notables including the King of Scotland. If there is any truth to the legend that Robin Hood met Richard, it would probably have been around Clipstone, as the king went hunting on his second day at the palace.

Edward I also convened Parliament in Clipstone, and it was while here that his Queen, Eleanor of Castile, began to show signs of the illness that would kill her a few days later while the royal party was on the road to Lincoln.

By the late 15th century, the palace began to become ruinous, as the king preferred to lodge elsewhere, and by 1525 it was in a very poor, abandoned state.

Sherwood, of course, also had many roads through it  so the ring could have merely been dropped by a passerby. There were also two monasteries right in the heart of the forest, Rufford and  Newstead, and several more on the periphery, as well as several small castles like the little-known Tickhill, all of which would have had visitors arriving from various directions.

Treasure hunter finds medieval ring in Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest




  1. Brilliant find. Literally. I confess I was a little surprised by the precise facets on the stone, which appears to be a sapphire, because I was under the (erroneous) impression that the period to which the ring belongs did not do anything more than carefully shape and polish precious stones, i.e. no facets. They also carved ‘pictures’ into them, but that was all. Or so I thought. For instance, the sapphire in the Middleham jewel is definitely not symmetrical, and if it has been cut, it is very simply. Not having seen it, I do not know the extent to which that particular stone has been prepared.

    I fell into the trap, and had my knuckles rapped by a very knowledgeable agent. I was told that a writer of medieval fiction should not permit rings, necklaces and so on to flash and glitter as such items do now. Rather do they gleam, glow, catch/reflect the light and so on. This notion is clearly wrong, for the stone in this ring has been cut and faceted all around the edge.

    I searched a little further for information, and found Clearly precious stones were indeed cut and faceted, although not as intricately as happens now.

    What I’m saying is that the ring pictured above has rather opened my author’s eyes. From now on my fictional characters can have the occasional flash. I and they look forward to it.


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