Metal detectorist unearths find of a lifetime after discovering ‘rare’ 15th century gold ring in a field

The gold ring, which has a drawing of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus carved into it, is believed to be a ‘very rare find’ for the UK.

A metal detecting enthusiast uncovered the find of his life when he discovered a 15th century gold ring while out searching a field. Matthew Hepworth unearthed the jewellery after he heard a faint signal on his metal detector.

The 48-year-old then found a rare, gold iconographic ring that has a drawing of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus carved into it, believed to be from the 1400s. He reported the ring to the landowner and the find liaison officer and the ring will eventually be the subject of an inquest to confirm if it is treasure.

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Although Matthew doesn’t know the exact value of the ring, he believes it is a “very rare find” for the UK. He said: "It means so much to me that a piece of history has been salvaged from the ground.

"It’s a privilege for me to have been able to have found it and save it. It was a big surprise when I found it and then I let the landowner know and he was gobsmacked and couldn’t believe it.

"It’s a very rare find for the UK I would say. There has been a few found but not that many." In the past, Matthew donated a rare silver seal depicting a slave to Lancaster Maritime Museum which he found last year.

He also discovered a Bronze Age burial site in 2016. Matthew added that when he visits the museum, it’s a “lovely feeling” to know that something he discovered is there.

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Matthew, a charge nurse, said: "It just tops everything really, it’s a lovely feeling to know that you’ve found something. It also promotes the hobby and shows what responsible metal detecting can achieve.

"It’s nice to see your name against what you’ve found and it will be there forever for future generations to enjoy." The married dad-of-two has been metal detecting for 32 years and says he enjoys it because ‘it’s nice to do and to help find our heritage.’

The 15th Century gold ring Matthew Hepworth found buried in a farmer’s field. The 15th Century gold ring Matthew Hepworth found buried in a farmer’s field.
The 15th Century gold ring Matthew Hepworth found buried in a farmer’s field.

Matthew, of Morecambe in Lancashire, said: "I like to search pieces of land with permission from the landowner. I like looking at the local landscape and then the local history of the area.

"You can find items in the middle of nowhere sometimes and it’s nice to get out in the fresh air. It can be very rewarding but the majority of times you go out and you don’t find a lot but you know you’ve had fun really.

Matthew Hepworth unearthed the jewellery after he heard a faint signal on his metal detector.Matthew Hepworth unearthed the jewellery after he heard a faint signal on his metal detector.
Matthew Hepworth unearthed the jewellery after he heard a faint signal on his metal detector.
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"It’s just been a good hobby for me over the years and I’ve had a lot of pleasure out of it. It’s an active pastime that keeps me fit and keeps my mind healthy because I’m out in the countryside and in the fresh air with nice scenery.

"It’s just nice to do and to help find our heritage."

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