A Medieval tale: Saxons, Normans and the telscombe ring
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A medieval silver-gilt finger ring was found in July, 2010 using a metal detector near the village of Telscombe, in the Lewes District of East Sussex, England. The object, hereto referred to as the Telscombe Ring, was reported and documented per the Treasure Act (1996). In 2012, it was disclaimed as treasure, returned to the finder and sold to a private collector. The object is unusual, combining multiple motifs on the same ring: first, clasped hands, traditionally symbolic of a love token and belonging to a classification of rings known as the fede; second, a series of crosses or saltires that runs down each side of the hoop; third, forming a second bezel opposite the clasped hands, an arcing arrangement representative of stirrup rings; fourth, the heads of two distinctly different beasts positioned at each shoulder of the stirrup bezel. The objective of this research is twofold: first, complete detailed visual and metallurgical analysis to shed light on its use, composition and construction and to identify the makers design intent and production method; second, a comparative stylistic review within a compendium of medieval rings found in England and an array of other objects discovered near the find location to establish the ring's likely geographic origin and approximate creation date. The complexity of the Telscombe Ring provides the additional chance to offer thoughts about the ring's meaning. Since its stylistic variety necessitates the review and discussion of so many other examples featuring one or more of its characteristics, it also presents the more ambitious opportunity to expand upon the broader art history of medieval rings in England.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- List of illustrations -- Acknowledgements -- Introduction -- Contextual overview -- Technical evaluations -- Stylistic evaluation -- The Telscombe tales -- Conclusions -- Illustrations -- Bibliography