A RING discovered by a metal-detectorist in Powys and thought to be more than 500 years old, has been officially declared as treasure.

The post-medieval silver-gilt finger ring was found by Carlton Sheath near Builth Wells in August last year. It was declared treasure on Thursday by regional coroner for the South Wales central area, Patricia Morgan.

This decorative finger ring of silver and with gilded surfaces is decorated with eight beaded panels divided by diagonal bands set in a zig-zag pattern. The style of beading seen in the panels is sometimes described as a ‘brambling’ effect.

Although the gilding has endured on most of the ring’s surface, there is some wear visible along the borders.

This form is consistent with post medieval and early 16th century date. Most notably, a ring with similar zigzag banding and brambled panels was recovered from the wreck of the Mary Rose ship, which sank in the Solent, the strait dividing mainland Britain and the Isle of Wight, in 1545.


Similar examples with brambled decoration have also previously been reported as treasure in Essex, Norfolk and also Powys. Together, these rings build a clearer picture about styles of adornment and craftsmanship across Tudor England and Wales.

The find was handed over to Felicity Sage, historic environment record manager at Dyfed Archaeological Trust, after being found by Mr Sheath while metal-detecting in the Duhonw region, near Builth, last summer.

It was then couriered to Amgueddfa Cymru/Museum Wales for identification and reporting.

Sian Iles, curator of medieval and later archaeology at Museum Wales/Amgueddfa Cymru, said: “This decorative silver-gilt finger ring is a fine example of a type popular in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

“Thanks to the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the provisions of the Treasure Act, as well as prompt reporting by the finder, objects such as this are recorded, contributing greatly to our growing understanding of fashion and style in late medieval and early Tudor Wales.”

Y Gaer, the museum, art gallery and library in Brecon, has expressed an interest in acquiring this treasure find after it has been independently valued via the Treasure Valuation Committee.

David Howell, engagement officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales, said: “The scheme provides a vital link between metal detectorists and museum communities.

Get in touch

Share your views on this story by sending a letter to the editor. To get in touch email news@countytimes.co.uk, or fill in the form on this section of our website.

“Recording artefacts found through metal detecting helps safeguard knowledge and information about Welsh heritage.

“Most treasure finds will first be shown and handed over to highly skilled finds liaison officers, who are located throughout Wales.”

A treasure trove

The ring was among six items found in Wales declared as treasure on Thursday, including four discovered in the Vale of Glamorgan. The others included:

A Roman ligula (toilet spoon), found by Valentinas Avdejevas while metal detecting in St Nicholas and Bonvilston regions, Vale of Glamorgan, in June 2020.

A variety of uses have been suggested for Roman ligulae, including the extraction of cosmetics and perfumes from long-necked bottles and their application to the face or body, the extraction and application of medicines and their use during medical procedures.

A Bronze Age hoard of seven bronze artefacts, discovered by Mark Herman in Pendoylan, Vale of Glamorgan, in September 2019. The hoard includes fragments from two bronze swords and five bronze socketed axes and dates to the Late Bronze Age, around 1,000-800 BC.

A Roman coin hoard comprising 16 copper alloy coins, found by Andrew Ellis in February 2019 in Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan.

A medieval silver annular brooch with a dagger-shaped pin, found by Alexander Savage in December 2021 during a metal-detecting rally in Penllyn, Vale of Glamorgan.

A Roman silver coin (denarius) of Emperor Domitian, found by Andrew Arthur in February 2019 in Vaynor, Merthyr Tydfil.