Love is in the air at South Ribble Museum

A romantic riddle has been solved thanks to an amazing discovery of treasure – just in time for Valentine’s Day.

In 2014, a pair of metal detector enthusiasts uncovered half of a 450-year-old silver ring with the word ‘Yours’ inscribed on it, sparking much discussion about what the cryptic inscription meant.

Now, in a remarkable coincidence, the same treasure hunters have struck again – unearthing the other half of the ring and solving the mystery.

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

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 posy ring and it dates from around 1550. They were usually made for someone with a high social status.

“Potential suitors would present them to their sweethearts as a declaration of their love, in the hope of wooing their beloved.

“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 couple who unearthed the ring are metal detection enthusiasts Iain and Sheila Gunn, of Adlington, who are members of the Preston Metal Detecting Group.

When they made the first discovery in August 2014, they sent it to Dot Boughton, the Finds Liaison Officer for the British Museum – a requirement as the ring is legally classed as treasure due to its rarity.

After much analysis, the museum gave the ring back to the Gunns, who had no hesitation in donating it to South Ribble Museum.

Mrs Gunn said: “We love visiting the museum and admire the work of David and all of the dedicated volunteers.

“It’s a great place to visit and it’s an honour to be able to contribute to the collection – especially as it became the 1,000 object the museum has acquired.”

The ring was the star attraction in South Ribble Museum’s Archaeological Festival in summer 2015 and it is set to become even more popular now the other half has been found.

You can see it on display at the museum on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to 4pm, Thursdays from 1pm to 4pm and Saturdays from 10am to 1pm.

Entry is free, though donations are welcome. Visit south-ribble.co.uk/srmuseum/ for more information.