Amateur metal detectorist unearths 350-year-old ring that belonged to King Charles II’s courtier

An immaculately preserved gold ring from the 17th century has been found by an amateur metal detectorist in Scotland. 

The signet ring is in perfect condition and is believed to be worth up to £10,000 and previously belonged to a King’s courtier who was wrongly executed for treason. 

It belonged to Edward Colman, who worked for King Charles II before being hung, drawn and quartered in 1678. 

Treasure hunter Michelle Vall, 53, of Blackpool found the artefact under six inches of mud while holidaying at Loch Lomond. 

   

Mrs Vall was staying in a holiday cottage close to Loch Lomond and gained permission from a local land owner to search a field when she found the ring. 

The school teacher said she did a little dance of joy when she realised she had struck gold.

The ring has now been declared as ‘treasure’ by the Scottish Treasure Trove and is deemed to be so historically significant it must reside in a museum.   

Mrs Vall is expected to receive a reward along with the land owner. 

She said: ‘The ring was only six inches underground. Obviously at the time I didn’t know what it was, but to find gold is rare for us detectorists and I even did a little dance to celebrate.

‘It was a very exciting moment and you just don’t expect to find something so special.’ 

Edward Colman was convicted as part of the Popish Plot, a fake conspiracy put before the privy council by priest Titus Oates in 1678.

Oates, later dubbed ‘Titus the Liar’, claimed several Catholic men were plotting to kill the King, with Edward Colman among those named.

Although later established to be false, the plot resulted in the execution of at least 22 people, including Colman.

He was hung, drawn and quartered at Newgate Prison in London in 1678. 

It is believed the ring originally belonged to Colman’s grandfather Samuel, who lived in Norfolk between 1569 and 1653, and handed down through the family.

It is likely to have been taken to Scotland in 1673 when Edward began working as a secretary for Mary of Modena, the wife of James II.

The ring bears the grand-looking coat of arms of the Colman family.  

She enlisted the help of specialist auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb to help research the coat of arms which was confirmed to be that of the Colman family.

Mrs Vall said: ‘The Scottish Treasure Trove have claimed the ring back due to its historical importance.

‘They are working on a valuation but a similar ring has previously sold at auction for around £10,000 so we’d expect it to be in that region.

‘I’ve dealt with Dix Noonan Webb in the past and I can’t thank them enough for how helpful they’ve been.

‘They came back to us with information about the Colman family and without them we would never have found out the story.

‘The history of the ring is really interesting and it’s been a really amazing find.’ 

This is not the first time Mrs Vall has found treasure. In 2017 she discovered a £40,000 gold coin dropped by one of Richard III’s soldiers during the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

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