‘Buried treasure’ worth thousands of pounds found in Derbyshire

A Derbyshire fishmonger could net a fortune after finding a spectacular, centuries-old golden ring with his metal detector.

The 64-year-old, from North Derbyshire, discovered the 400-year-old treasure in the grounds of Castern Hall, in the Peak District.

Valued at £25,000 to £35,000, the ring is set with a purple-blue Chalcedony gemstone carved with the initials ‘GL’ along with three candles – and dates back to circa 1600-1650.

The finder, who has been metal detecting for more than 40 years, said: “This is the best and most important find I’ve ever made.

“I got a strong signal and started digging down but hit a large, round flat stone. When I lifted it up, I found the mammoth gemstone.

“I discovered it three years ago in February 2018 and it’s been at the British Museum for most of the time since. It would have been made for an extremely wealthy and sizeable man because the ring itself is unusually large.”

Family records have identified the possible first owner of the ring as possibly Geoffrey Lowe, former squire of St Mary’s Church in Denby, who died in 1637.

Experts believe the jewellery could have then been passed down to Elizabeth Lowe by her uncle John, who she nursed on his deathbed, and may have been hidden during a dispute over John’s will following his death in 1690.

Castern Hall owner Charles Hurt said: “In 1671 my direct ancestors Nicholas Hurt and Elizabeth Lowe married, linking the estates of Castern and Alderwasley in Derbyshire.

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“The Lowes and their ancestors had been given Alderwasley by the King in the 13th Century. So, one obvious candidate for the ‘L’ on the ring is Lowe.”

This historically-significant treasure is now due to be sold in Hansons Auctioneers’ between February 25 and 26 Historica Auction.

Adam Staples, Hansons’ valuer and a renowned metal detectorist, said: “We suspect the ring may have been buried on purpose as it was found hidden under a large round stone, making it buried treasure, rather than a ring that simply fell off someone’s finger.

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“There are legends about buried treasure at Castern Hall and it could be that the ring was left there on purpose hundreds of years ago.

“The ring itself is an astonishing size. It’s too big for my thumb but may have been worn over a glove.

“I’ve done a huge amount of research, with help from the Hurt family, to try to work out who the ring belonged to. It’s a rather mysterious, but wonderful find.”

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