Detectorist finds rare 17th century posey ring in Peak District

The 17th century posey ring, inscribed with the words let Reason Rule Affection.
The 17th century posey ring, inscribed with the words let Reason Rule Affection.
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A ring sought after by romantics around the world because of its rarity has been discovered in the Peak District by a retired former pub licensee.

Known as a posey ring, it bears a hidden inscription on the inside of the simple gold band - for a lover’s eyes only - and dates back to the 17th century.

Sandra Shaw found the ring in the Peak District.

Sandra Shaw found the ring in the Peak District.

The ring carries a rare and cautious motto, ‘let Reason Rule Affection’ (Don’t Let Your Heart Rule Your Head).

The find was made by Sandra Shaw, 71, chairman of the High Peak Metal Detecting Club and former licensee of The Anglers Rest at Millers Dale.

Sandra, of Smalldale, near Buxton, said: “I recognised what it was straight away, it was high on my wish list.

“Another was an Iron Age Horn Cap, dating from c.300 BC - c. AD 43, which I also found in Derbyshire. It’s described by the UK Detector Finds Database as an ‘enigmatic Late Iron Age artefact generally referred to as a Horn Cap’ but its function remains undetermined.

“The Horn Cap was found at a depth of 22 inches. Around 20 examples have been found in the UK, all in the south as far as I know. This is the only one found in the north. This was one of my better detecting days.”

Both items are coming up for sale at Hansons Auctioneers’ Historica sale on August 23 and should prove popular, according to Hansons’ antiquities experts Adam Staples and Lisa Grace.

Adam said: “The ring is one of three 17th-18th century posey rings for sale and we expect bidders from all over the world.

“A posey ring sold at Hansons earlier this year for £2,300. People love them because of the romantic inscriptions.”

“There are more than 100 different known inscriptions, each one chosen with special sentiment to the giver and receiver,” added Lisa.

“They were popular from the 15th to the 18th century in England and France.

“But the trend to have rings inscribed on the inside faded away and that’s why they are so sought after by romantics all over the world now.”