- Museum number
Finger-ring; gold; once enamelled; hoop represents torse of two branches from which twigs have been cut; inscription within hoop.
- Production date
Diameter: 1.10 inches
Weight: 295 grains
- Curator's comments
- Text from Dalton 1912, Catalogue of Finger Rings:
The ring may have been worn as a memorial but the form of the inscription is unusual. It has been suggested that in rings of this type the interlacing of two branches may symbolize an alliance between two families, but here again the legend is inappropriate. The form recalls the crown of thorns and suggests the possibility of a religious allusion.
According to the Braybrooke catalogue, 'A very curious and massive gold ring, formed of two knotted withes twisted together; the knots are hollowed to receive enamel, which has been black, indicating the ring to have been a mourning one; this is further confirmed by the inscription in old English characters inside the hoop, "When ye loke on thys thinke on him who gave ye thys." This ring was found in the Thames, at Westminster, as recorded by a modern inscription inside the hoop, engraved for the Rev. Mr. Cotton, late ordinary of Newgate prison, at the sale of whose effects I purchased it in 1848. There are sixteen knobs, and traces of the enamel remain in some of them: assuming it to be a mourning ring, these knotted withes may be intended to represent the ragged staff of the House of Warwick, so that the ring probably belonged to a member or retainer of that family in the time of Richard Neville the King maker, in whose memory it may have been worn. This date agrees with the period indicated by its make, and the form of the characters in the old English inscription. -294grs.'
Text from Ward, Cherry et al, 'The Ring from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century,' London 1981, pl.160.
The hoop of this ring is shaped on the outside into a wreathed pattern of branches with circular knobs, indicating that branches have been cut off. Alternate branches are keyed for enamel. Enamelling the exterior of the ring in this way is unusual, but it does occur on circular wreathed brooches from the fifteenth century. The flat interior has an English inscription in black-letter:WHAN YE LOKE ON THIS THYNK ON THEM YT GAVE YOU THYS, the sense of which has eluded exact interpretation, but which was clearly intended to inspire a sense of loyalty in the wearer.
- Not on display
- Enamel missing.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Found 1841.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number