Couple make second historic discovery

metal detector enthusiasts Iain and Sheila Gunn are holding parts of the posy ring, which is now on display at South Ribble Museum.
metal detector enthusiasts Iain and Sheila Gunn are holding parts of the posy ring, which is now on display at South Ribble Museum.
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The amazing story of a 450-year-old silver ‘love’ ring on display in a Leyland museum has come to light - just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Half of the historic posey ring was unearthed by a couple of metal detectors in a field near Leyland in 2014.

metal detector enthusiasts Iain and Sheila Gunn are holding parts of the posy ring, which is now on display at South Ribble Museum.

metal detector enthusiasts Iain and Sheila Gunn are holding parts of the posy ring, which is now on display at South Ribble Museum.

Now, South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre is proudly exhibiting the full ring – after the other half was remarkably found by the same

detectors, in the same field more than two years later.

The first half had the word ‘Yours’ inscribed on it, sparking much discussion about what the cryptic inscription meant.

When put together, the ring reads ‘I Am Yours’ and the find has provided a fascinating insight the ring’s story.

It was uncovered by metal detecting enthusiasts Iain and his wife Sheila Gunn, of Heath Charnock.

Sheila said: “The ring is very small. Iain found the first part and he thought he would just go round the same area in the remote chance he could find the other bit.

“It’s small, but beautifully decorated with nice letters on the end.”

Sheila, a former teacher who worked in schools in Atherton and Bolton, and Scottish-born Iain, who worked in a dairy in Liverpool, are both members of the Preston Metal Detecting Group. They have been detecting for about 12 years.

Sheila said there was a variety of reasons for donating the ring to the museum.

“Leyland doesn’t have a budget for buying finds, so that was a good reason,” she explained. “The item was found within the area around Leyland.

“Thirdly, the beautiful building and terrific staff who give their time free of charge. We love visiting the museum.”

Iain said: “It’s of very little monetary value. It’s just the history that’s interesting. It’s good quality silver. It’s a nice Valentine’s Day story.”

David Hunt, curator of South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre, said: “It is quite an astonishing double find and tells a heart-warming tale of love and courtship from the Tudor era. It is what is known as a posey ring and it dates from around 1550.

“Potential suitors would present them to their sweethearts as a declaration of their love.

“Of course, we will never know if the feelings were mutual, but maybe the effort that went into it struck a chord with the recipient.”

The Gunns are set to donate other exciting items they have found to the museum, including a 17th century reliquary.