Gold ring found on village farmland near Milton Keynes sells for £20,000

    ©Hansons Auctioneers

    A 17th Century gold unicorn ring, that was found in Thornton, has sold for £20,000.

    The 17th century gold signet ring was discovered by a metal detectorist in Thornton back in 2018. 

    Weighing more than 20 grams in weight, the gold ring has engravings suggesting that it belonged to a member of a noble family and has travelled far.

    The engraved unicorn was the crest of the Curwen family of Workington, Cumbria. 

    A spokesperson for Hansons Auctioneers wrote: "The other side shows the family coat of arms charged with a crescent. This indicates that the ring belonged to Thomas Curwen, second son of Sir Henry Curwen MP (1581-1623).

    "Thomas Curwen was born in 1602 and inherited the family estate following the death of his elder brother, Sir Patricius Curwen, 1st Baronet, in 1664. The estate included the 15th century Workington Hall, where Mary, Queen of Scots sought refuge in 1568 in the immediate aftermath of her defeat to Elizabeth I at the Battle of Langside.

    "The unicorn head crest is an echo of early Curwen family links to Galloway, Scotland. Gateposts at Workington Hall are surmounted by carved stone unicorns’ heads. Thomas, who never married, died on February 24, 1672 and was buried at Workington."

    Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “The ring had travelled far from its ancestral home but we will never know how and why. It was discovered in 2018 by a metal detectorist on farmland at Thornton in Buckinghamshire and could realise a small fortune at auction.

    “Metal detecting finds like this are fascinating. We’re thrilled to be offering an object with such historical pedigree. Not only is it a stunning item of jewellery, it’s an important family heirloom and a fascinating piece of Cumbria’s local history.”

    Despite having a guide price of £10,000-£12,000, the ring sold for £20,000. 

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