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Amateur metal detectorist unearths 350-year-old ring that belonged to King Charles II’s courtier

An immaculately preserved gold ring from the 17th century has been found by an amateur metal detectorist in Scotland. 

The signet ring is in perfect condition and is believed to be worth up to £10,000 and previously belonged to a King’s courtier who was wrongly executed for treason. 

It belonged to Edward Colman, who worked for King Charles II before being hung, drawn and quartered in 1678. 

Treasure hunter Michelle Vall, 53, of Blackpool found the artefact under six inches of mud while holidaying at Loch Lomond. 

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The signet ring is in perfect condition and is believed to be worth up to £10,000 and previously belonged to a King's courtier who was wrongly executed for treason 

The signet ring is in perfect condition and is believed to be worth up to £10,000 and previously belonged to a King’s courtier who was wrongly executed for treason 

Mrs Vall was staying in a holiday cottage close to Loch Lomond and gained permission from a local land owner to search a field when she found the ring. 

The school teacher said she did a little dance of joy when she realised she had struck gold.

The ring has now been declared as ‘treasure’ by the Scottish Treasure Trove and is deemed to be so historically significant it must reside in a museum.   

Mrs Vall is expected to receive a reward along with the land owner. 

She said: ‘The ring was only six inches underground. Obviously at the time I didn’t know what it was, but to find gold is rare for us detectorists and I even did a little dance to celebrate.

‘It was a very exciting moment and you just don’t expect to find something so special.’ 

The ring is believed to have belonged to Edward Colman, who worked for King Charles II before being hung, drawn and quartered in 1678. It bears the coat of arms of his family and is thought to have originally belonged to his grandfather 

The ring is believed to have belonged to Edward Colman, who worked for King Charles II before being hung, drawn and quartered in 1678. It bears the coat of arms of his family and is thought to have originally belonged to his grandfather 

Edward Colman was convicted as part of the Popish Plot, a fake conspiracy put before the privy council by priest Titus Oates in 1678 (pictured). Oates, later dubbed ‘Titus the Liar’, claimed several Catholic men were plotting to kill the King, with Edward Colman among those named.

Edward Colman was convicted as part of the Popish Plot, a fake conspiracy put before the privy council by priest Titus Oates in 1678 (pictured). Oates, later dubbed ‘Titus the Liar’, claimed several Catholic men were plotting to kill the King, with Edward Colman among those named.

Edward Colman was convicted as part of the Popish Plot, a fake conspiracy put before the privy council by priest Titus Oates in 1678.

Oates, later dubbed ‘Titus the Liar’, claimed several Catholic men were plotting to kill the King, with Edward Colman among those named.

Although later established to be false, the plot resulted in the execution of at least 22 people, including Colman.

He was hung, drawn and quartered at Newgate Prison in London in 1678. 

It is believed the ring originally belonged to Colman’s grandfather Samuel, who lived in Norfolk between 1569 and 1653, and handed down through the family.

It is likely to have been taken to Scotland in 1673 when Edward began working as a secretary for Mary of Modena, the wife of James II.

The ring bears the grand-looking coat of arms of the Colman family.  

She enlisted the help of specialist auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb to help research the coat of arms which was confirmed to be that of the Colman family.

Treasure hunter Michelle Vall, 53, of Blackpool found the artefact under six inches of mud while holidaying at Loch Lomond. Mrs Vall also discovered a £40,000 gold coin dropped by one of Richard III's soldiers during the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 

Treasure hunter Michelle Vall, 53, of Blackpool found the artefact under six inches of mud while holidaying at Loch Lomond. Mrs Vall also discovered a £40,000 gold coin dropped by one of Richard III’s soldiers during the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 

Mrs Vall found the artefact has now been declared as 'treasure' by the Scottish Treasure Trove and is deemed to be so historically significant it must reside in a museum

Mrs Vall found the artefact has now been declared as ‘treasure’ by the Scottish Treasure Trove and is deemed to be so historically significant it must reside in a museum

Mrs Vall said: ‘The Scottish Treasure Trove have claimed the ring back due to its historical importance.

‘They are working on a valuation but a similar ring has previously sold at auction for around £10,000 so we’d expect it to be in that region.

‘I’ve dealt with Dix Noonan Webb in the past and I can’t thank them enough for how helpful they’ve been.

‘They came back to us with information about the Colman family and without them we would never have found out the story.

‘The history of the ring is really interesting and it’s been a really amazing find.’ 

This is not the first time Mrs Vall has found treasure. In 2017 she discovered a £40,000 gold coin dropped by one of Richard III’s soldiers during the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

HOW DO METAL DETECTORS WORK?  

The invention of the metal detector cannot be truly claimed by one person. 

It is a combination and amalgamation of several different pieces of technology. 

Alexander Graham Bell did fashion a device that was an electromagnetic, metal locating machine.

This was based on a device invented by physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove. 

Sometime later, an engineer Gerhard Fischer, filed a patent regarding a design. 

A metal detector consists of a stabiliser, control box, shaft, and search coil. 

It is the two coils that are actually responsible for the detection of metal. 

The outer coil is the transmitter coil while the inner coil is the receiver coil. 

This works to detect and amplify frequencies. This type of technology is known as Very Low Frequency or VLF technology. 

When electricity is provided to this transmitter coil, there is a magnetic field created around the coil.

This is the same science behind electromagnets.  

When the machine wafts over metal the electrons in the metal – due to its metallic bonding and sea of electrons surrounding a fixed positively charged mass –  are affected by the magnetic field. 

The change in the electrons triggers a tiny electrical field in the metal object which alters the frequency of the metal detector. 

This indicates  metal is present.  

More advanced metal detectors are also able of differentiating between different types of metal ad the frequency change is different and therefore the pitch of the note is altered. 

Source: The Detectorist 

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