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Suffolk family ring found at Loch Lomond sells at auction for £17,000

PUBLISHED: 11:30 11 September 2019

The ring is believed to date from 1640 to 1680 Picture: DNW

The ring is believed to date from 1640 to 1680 Picture: DNW

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A 17th century ring engraved with the crest of the Colman family from Suffolk and with links to King Charles II has sold for more than £17,000 at auction.

Michelle Vall with the Colman ring she discovered Picture: DNWMichelle Vall with the Colman ring she discovered Picture: DNW

The gold armorial ring, which is believed to date from 1640 to 1680, was discovered on the shores of Loch Lomond in November last year by detectorist Michelle Vall.

Mrs Vall, a teaching assistant from Blackpool, Lancashire, found it at Duck Bay on Loch Lomond while exploring the area with her husband last November.

She declared it as Scottish Treasure Trove to the National Museum of Scotland but the body told her in June it did not want to buy it, leaving her free to sell it.

She contacted auction house Dix Noonan Webb (DNW), which discovered the crest belonged to the Colman family, of Brent Eleigh, near Lavenham.

The ring was expected to fetch £10,000 at auction but sold for £17,000 Picture: DNWThe ring was expected to fetch £10,000 at auction but sold for £17,000 Picture: DNW

The crest can be seen prominently displayed on the ledge slab of the tomb of Samuel Colman (1569-1653) in St Mary's Church in the village and on the Brent Eleigh sign post.

The ring is believed to have belonged to Edward Colman, who became a convert to Catholicism and was later found guilty of treason and hung, drawn and quartered.

DNW valued the ring at £10,000, but after going under the hammer at its Jewellery, Watches and Objects of Vertu sale in London on Tuesday sold for £17,360 with buyer's premium.

Mrs Vall said: "I'm relieved it's all over - it's quite a moment after waiting for so long.

Brent Eleigh village sign featuring the Colman family crest Picture: MICHAEL HALLBrent Eleigh village sign featuring the Colman family crest Picture: MICHAEL HALL

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"The whole auction side of it was quite scary, you wonder how it's going to go. I'm very pleased with the outcome."

She added her half of the earnings - the rest goes to the landowner - would be put away to pay for future metal detector travelling.

It is not the first time Mrs Vall has found a valuable object.

A few years ago she found a rare gold half angel coin struck during the reign of the Richard III, which sold at auction for £40,800 in December 2017.

The inside of her latest find, which is thought to date from 1640-80, is engraved with I for Jesus, which could indicate the owner was a member of the Jesuits.

Colman established himself at court in 1661, acting as a bodyguard to the king, and by 1673 had been appointed secretary to fellow Catholic, Mary of Modena, wife of James, Duke of York, the younger brother and heir presumptive to the Protestant King Charles II, who reigned from 1660-85.

But in September 1678, Titus Oates a renegade Anglican priest made claims of a "Popish Plot", accusing nearly 550 Jesuits of involvement in plots to assassinate the king, with Colman among the accused.

He was found guilty of treason and in November 1678 was hung, drawn and quartered, one of at least 15 innocent men to be executed.

Now considered a Catholic martyr, Colman was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929.

Oates was later discredited and convicted of perjury for the Popish Plot.

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