A GOLD and diamond medieval wedding ring found in Dorset by a metal detectorist that may have been lost by a 14th Century noblewoman while playing croquet has sold for £38,000.

The ring is thought to be a gift from aristocrat Sir Thomas Brook to his wife Lady Joan on their wedding in 1388.

Inside is an inscription in medieval French, 'ieo vos tien foi tenes le moy' which when translated reads: "As I hold your faith, hold mine."

It was found on land in Dorset which Sir Thomas used to own and which now belongs to a dairy farmer who allowed one of his old milk tanker drivers to search the field with his metal detector.

Bournemouth Echo:

David Board, 69, had only been detecting for three months when he came across the golden ring near Thorncombe in February 2020.

He said he was disappointed when he caught his first glimpse as he thought it was a sweet wrapper.

Bournemouth Echo: Andrew Phillips with the 14th century ringAndrew Phillips with the 14th century ring (Image: SWNS)

He added: "I was detecting on a field, it was called Bowling Green, I thought it was quite odd because it was flat, there must have been quite a lot of activity there.

"I was searching there and found a few old coins, a lot of silver paper, the kind from sweet wrappers.

"And I was walking back to the car when I got a signal, dug the hole about five inches down, saw a bit of gold and I thought oh, not another bit of wrapping paper, and then found the ring.

"It was a really wet day so I washed the mud off and put it in my top pocket. I had only been detecting for three months."

Bournemouth Echo: (L to R) David Board and Patrick Tolley. Picture: SWNS(L to R) David Board and Patrick Tolley. Picture: SWNS (Image: SWNS)

Asked if he has ever found anything like it since he said: "No, it's a once in a lifetime find. You won't find anything like that again."

Patrick Tolley, 64, the dairy farmer who owns the land where David found the ring, said: "He came over all excited. I couldn't believe how shiny it was.

"The fields have been ploughed and cultivated dozens of times over the years, it's a surprise it has not been damaged at all."

David and Patrick watched the auction while in their local pub as the ring went for a hammer price of £38,000.

Speaking after the sale, David said: "I am so pleased that the ring sold, as I was worrying that it wouldn't.

"Despite having media interest from all over the world, we hope that it will remain in this country."

David plans to use his share of the money to help his partner's daughter arrange a mortgage.

Auctioneers Noonans consultant Nigel Mills said: "This ring is in almost perfect condition and has an inverted diamond set into the raised bezel so that it comes to a point.

"The hoop is composed of two neatly entwined bands symbolising the union of the couple."

Following the sale, he said: "This was a great result for this beautiful ring, which had a wonderful aura about it, which made you not want to give it back when you held it."

The ring was found on an old bowling green and Nigel said that Lady Brook could have lost it while playing an early form of croquet there.

He added: "It's very likely that she was playing an ancestral game of croquet, jeu de mail, that was brought over by the French. That may have been how she lost it."