John’s sapphire ring find is fit for royalty

John Cooper with a gold ring with sapphire from 13th century with Norman inscription that he found while metal detecting. Believed owned by nobility or royalty.
John Cooper with a gold ring with sapphire from 13th century with Norman inscription that he found while metal detecting. Believed owned by nobility or royalty.

A metal detecting enthusiast has dug up the find of a lifetime by unearthing a 13th century gold ring worth thousands of pounds.

John Cooper, formerly of Sleaford but now living in Cheshire, has been following his hobby of metal detecting in the Sleaford area for the last 30 years, in the past finding such things as Roman coins and brooches.

He and his wife were about to pack up for the day when he got a reading. He said: “It wasn’t buried very deeply. At first it looked cheap like it was from the fair, all bent and soil compacted round it, so I stuck it in my pocket, but when I got it home for a closer look it was like an electric shock.”

He took it to Adam Daubney, the county’s finds expert, who was very excited and had it inspected by a London jeweller to reveal it is a gold ring with a sapphire fixed in it and probably worth thousands of pounds due to its rarity. It would have been worn by a noblewoman or royalty and bears an inscription in Norman French saying: “I am a love token, do not give me away, I am here instead of a lover.”

Mr Cooper and the landowner are likely to split the proceeds of a treasure inquiry and would like it to be bought for the museum at Lincoln.