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Gold mine! Teacher digs up £10k ring with grisly history

Historic find: Edward Colman’s gold ring with family coat of arms PICTURE: MICHELLE VALL

A GOLD ring worth £10,000 that belonged to a king’s courtier who was wrongly executed for treason almost 350 years ago has been unearthed by a metal detectorist.

The signet ring of Edward Colman, who worked for Charles II, was found only six inches underground by Michelle Vall, who was on holiday in Loch Lomond.

School teacher Mrs Vall, 53, said: ‘Obviously 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.

‘Plot’: A sketch of Colman

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

Mrs Vall (pictured), from Blackpool, enlisted the help of specialist auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb to research the coat of arms, which was confirmed to be that of the Colman family.

Edward Colman was implicated in the Papish Plot, a fictitious Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles, and was hung, drawn and quartered in 1678. A priest called Titus Oates, who was later dubbed ‘Titus the Liar’, claimed several Catholic men were plotting to kill the king.

Although later established to be false, it led to at least 22 people being executed, including Colman who was put to death at Newgate Prison in London.

It is believed the ring originally belonged to his grandfather Samuel, who lived in Norfolk between 1569 and 1653. Edward Colman is believed to have taken it to Scotland in 1673 when he worked as a secretary for Mary of Modena, the wife of James II.

The ring is now with the Scottish Treasure Trove which has declared it must go to 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 previously sold at auction for around £10,000 so we’d expect it to be in that region.’

She and the landowner who gave her permission to search the field will be given a reward.

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