Metal Detectorist Strikes Gold, Finding a Ring Belonging to 15th-Century British Courtier Wrongly Executed For Treason

Edward Colman was falsely accused of plotting to kill King Charles II, and was executed in 1678.

A metal detectorist in Scotland found a rare piece jewelry. Photo: MyLoupe/UIG courtesy of Getty Images.
A metal detectorist in Scotland found a rare piece jewelry. Photo: MyLoupe/UIG courtesy of Getty Images.

An amateur metal detectorist found a 17th-century gold ring in Scotland, believed to have belonged to one of King Charles II’s courtiers, who was gruesomely executed after being framed for treason.

Edward Colman, who worked for the king, was hung, drawn, and quartered in 1678 after he was falsely accused of participating in a Catholic plot to kill Charles II. The conspiracy was fabricated by an Anglican minister, Titus Oates, now remembered as “Titus the Liar.”

Nearly 350 years after Colman’s death, treasure hunter Michelle Vall from Blackpool unearthed the perfectly preserved signet ring from several inches of mud in Loch Lomond, where she was vacationing. The ring is emblazoned with the coat of arms of the Colman family and was most likely brought to Scotland in 1673 when Colman worked as a secretary for Mary of Modena, the wife of James II.

According to the Daily Mail, the ring could be worth £10,000 ($11,000), and the school teacher says she did a celebratory dance when she stumbled across the valuable artifact. The provenance was identified by auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb, who researched the origins of the ring’s coat of arms.

The ring has been designated as a treasure by the Scottish Treasure Trove and will be transferred to a museum in accordance with Scottish law governing historically significant items. Vall is expected to split an unspecified reward with the owner of the land on which she discovered the ring.

“The ring was only six inches underground,” she told the British tabloid newspaper. “Obviously at the time I didn’t know what it was, but to find gold is rare for us deterctorists.”

Vall is an experienced treasure hunter. In 2017, she found a gold coin dropped by one of King Richard III’s troops during the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, which was valued at £40,000 ($51,000).


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