A woman has unearthed an ancient gold ring that dates back to the 12th century – in the back garden of her home.
Deborah Young, 57, was digging fence posts in her garden in Crantock, Cornwall, when she made the astonishing discovery.
In the topsoil was a tiny gold ring, small enough to find on a child’s hand, set with a square sapphire.
Three years after Ms Young dug up the gem, she is hoping to find a new home for it after the British Museum returned it following two years’ of analysis.
The ring dates to the 12th Century, between 1150AD and 1300AD and is valued at around £700.
The mum-of-three said: ‘I was just digging in the garden when I found it.
‘I picked it up and dusted it off and thought it looked like a child’s ring as it was old and delicate.
‘It looked like old gold and it wasn’t tarnished.
‘I got in touch with the museum in Truro and then it was hand delivered to the British Museum.’
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Ms Young would like the jewellery to stay in Cornwall, where is became a talking point among neighbours who joke that it may have belonged to Poldark – despite the hit TV show, which was filmed nearby, being set in the 18th Century.
She added: ‘I was hoping that the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro might want to buy it as I would like it to stay locally.
‘It is classed as a national treasure, but they said they were unable to buy it.
‘I’d like it to stay in the county if someone was interested in it.
‘I wonder if there are any collectors who would want to buy it.”
When her children, now all adults, were small, Ms Young attended a night school studying archaeology and continued her interest for the past 20 years.
She believes the significance of the ring could have been missed by someone with less historical interest.
After making the discovery in 2015, Ms Young put the ring on a dresser in her kitchen and forgot about it.
When she rediscovered it the following year, she began the process of contacting museums, and an inquest was held into the treasure.
It stayed with the British Museum for two years, until being returned recently.
The Post Office worker added: ‘I asked the previous landowners what the field had been used for, and was told it was a burial ground.
‘The history of the village itself goes back to when a monastery was built. Generally back then, anyone from the church was wealthy.
“Cranstock was the main shipping area for merchants, there were probably a lot of wealthy people passing through.’
Ms Young now plans to sell the ring to someone in Cornwall ‘who would like a bit of Cornish history’.