Metal-detecting grandmother, 66, discovers a gold ring in a field near Shakespeare Hall


A grandmother who spends her spare time scanning the British countryside for hidden gems with her metal detector has unearthed a delicate gold posy ring.

The find, unearthed near Shakespeare Hall in Warwickshire, may have once been owned by William Shakespeare, according to its discoverer. 

Retired postlady Sue Kilvert, 66, uncovered the gold posy ring while inspecting a field next to Shakespeare Hall in Rowington, Warwickshire.

The hall used to be owned by the Shakespeare family and local legend has it the great bard wrote his play ‘As You Like It’ there.

The small ring has a delicate red and white enamel and carries the inscription ‘Truth Betrayes Not’.

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The delicate red and white enamel on the gold ring carries the inscription Truth Betrayes Not'. First impressions of the ring were underwhelming, with Ms Kilvert thinking it was simply a discarded children's ring from the modern day

The delicate red and white enamel on the gold ring carries the inscription Truth Betrayes Not’. First impressions of the ring were underwhelming, with Ms Kilvert thinking it was simply a discarded children’s ring from the modern day

Ms Kilvert, who has been detecting for about five years, was approaching the bottom of the banked field when she got a strong signal on her machine.  

She dug down eight inches (20 cm) into the ground and found the object in the soil.

First impressions of the ring were underwhelming, with Ms Kilvert thinking it was simply a discarded children’s ring from the modern day. 

But on closer inspection she noticed the inscription on the inside of the band and its likely history. 

Ms Kilvert took it to show fellow detectors who identifying it as a gold posy ring and another mentioned the possible Shakespearean connection.

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She said: ‘I had been digging up nothing but rubbish all day when a fellow detector suggested I try the fields around the Tudor hall.

‘I started going up and down the banked field when I got a strong signal.

‘I dug down 8ins and looked into the hole but couldn’t locate anything, which I thought was strange.

‘But then I caught sight of an object sitting on the grass.

‘I thought that looks pretty and picked it up. It was tiny so I thought it might be a modern child’s ring but when I took a closer look I could see the inscription and realised it could be something more significant.

‘The feeling was almost of disbelief. I took it to show the others and they couldn’t believe it, they were so excited.

Retired postlady Sue Kilvert, 66, uncovered the gold posy ring while inspecting a field next to Shakespeare Hall in Rowington, Warwickshire

Retired postlady Sue Kilvert, 66, uncovered the gold posy ring while inspecting a field next to Shakespeare Hall in Rowington, Warwickshire

Ms Kilvert took the ring (pictured) to show fellow detectors who identifying it as a gold posy ring and another mentioned the possible Shakespearean connection

Ms Kilvert took the ring (pictured) to show fellow detectors who identifying it as a gold posy ring and another mentioned the possible Shakespearean connection

WHAT IS TREASURE?

Under the Treasure Act 1996, finders of potential treasure in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are legally obliged to notify their local coroner

An inquest then determines whether the finds constitute treasure. 

If the find is declared treasure, the finder must offer it for sale to a museum at a price set by the British Museum’s Treasure Valuation Committee.

A reward is then offered to the finders and other relevant parties.

‘One of them said he was certain it was a posy ring and then the comments about Shakespeare started.

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‘I don’t think you could ever prove if it was linked to him but it is a very romantic thought!’

Birmingham Museums and the coroner have been made aware of the ring’s discovery, which is due to be inspected in the coming months.

She hopes to keep hold of the ‘once in a lifetime’ find, but that will be out of her hands if it declared as ‘treasure’ under the Treasure Act (1996).

In that instance, she would be legally obliged to offer it for sale to a museum at a price set by the Treasure Valuation Committee.

Miss Kilvert said: ‘It is in the hands of the coroner to decide whether this ring constitutes treasure or not.

‘I’d love to keep the ring, it is a once in a lifetime find.’

Shakespeare is believed to have written ‘As You Like It’ in 1599, with it featuring in his First Folio, his collection of plays, in 1623.

It tells the story of the heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court, later finding love in the Forest of Arden.

Posy rings were popular during the 15th through the 17th centuries in both England and France as lovers’ gifts.

Shakespeare Hall used to be owned by the Shakespeare family and local legend has it the great bard wrote his play 'As You Like It' there

Shakespeare Hall used to be owned by the Shakespeare family and local legend has it the great bard wrote his play ‘As You Like It’ there



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