Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
March 28, 2024 ·  4 min read

Metal detectorist discovers medieval wedding ring worth an estimated $47,000

A man in the English countryside achieved every metal detectorist’s dream. He discovered a medieval diamond wedding ring. The valuable artifact is expected to fetch £30,000 and £40,000 ($35,500 and $47,300) when it goes on auction. David Board, 69, used to be a metal detectorist in the 1970s but found nothing of consequence. But during his second attempt at this hobby, he found the ring near Thorncombe, in South West England.

Metal Detectorist Finds Valuable Medieval Wedding Ring

Board started metal detecting for the second time in November 2018. Newly retired, he decided to go back to his old pastime and bought a new detector. He found the ring while searching a wide pasture. “I got permission from a farmer friend of mine.” He explained, “I did a bit of research and found one of the fields was called Bowling Green and it was quite flat. I went over two or three times and on the third time I found the ring.[1]

In fact, he was about to give up when his metal detector signaled something by a footpath. He dug five inches and found what he thought was a candy wrapper. Then he assumed it was a piece of scrap metal covered in dirt. “It was once I got home and washed it off that we realized it was a lot better than we thought,” he said.

medieval wedding ring
Image Credit: Noonans

Nigel Mills, a consultant in coins and antiquities at Mayfair Auctioneers Noonans, described the ring as in “almost perfect condition” in the release. The ring has two gold bands entwined to represent the union of marriage with an inverted diamond at the top. Inside the ring is a medieval French inscription saying, “Ieo vos tien foi tenes le moy.” The auction house translated it as “I hold your faith, hold mine.[2]

Read: Vikings were in North America in 1021, well before Columbus, researchers say

“You never know what the next signal is going to bring.”

Board described the medieval wedding ring as “a once-in-a-lifetime” discovery. “There will probably never be another one like it. Back then, each ring was individual and unique, not mass produced like today. It’s stunning.” 

Because of the quality and location of the found ring, experts at Noonans’ theorized it had belonged to Joan Brook and given to her by Thomas Brook, her husband. Their union had occurred in 1388. Previously, Joan was married to Robert Cheddar, a successful merchant and twice mayor of the city of Bristol. The wealth she brought to her second marriage made the Brook family rich as well. The ring represents this time period when chivalry and courtly love were highly valued. The ring is now known as The Lady Brook Medieval diamond ring, to be auctioned on November 29. [3]

Board hopes to use his earnings from the medieval wedding ring to help his partner’s daughter set up a mortgage. And he continues to search with his metal detector, often three times a week. He hopes to find another valuable relic. “It will be amazing if I did,” he said. “You never know what the next signal is going to bring.” In fact, he has already had some luck. “I was out a couple of days ago. I got permission in a deer park and found musket balls and an Edward III half groat.” 

More Incredible Metal Detector Finds in the UK

In February of this year, Michael Leigh-Mallory, 58, went metal detecting for the first time in a long while. He gave up the hobby when his kids were born, but at age 10 and 13, they encouraged him to start again. On his first day, with a new metal detector, he struck gold. Literally, he found the oldest gold coin in England from the 13th century. The coin sold for £540,000 at Spink and Sons auctioneers. 

It is quite surreal, really,” Leigh-Mallory said. “I’m just a normal guy who lives in Devon with his family, so this really is a life-changing sum of money which will go towards their future.” He explained that his kids share his passion for history. “In fact, I really owe it to them for having found the coin in the first place, as they were my inspiration to go out prospecting.” [4]

In March, a 10-year-old discovered a rare monastic seal in a field in Suffolk. George Henderson was metal detecting with his father when they uncovered the 800-year-old item. The Latin inscription indicated it came from the Butley Priory and used to mark official documents. The pair had gone metal detecting together since George was five. “The seal’s historical importance rather than value is what’s important to both me and George,” said his father, Paul. “It’s the most exciting find either of us have ever made.” [5]

Keep Reading: Veteran Goes On ‘Antiques Roadshow’ To Get Rolex Appraised, Collapses After Learning Value


  1. Medieval ring worth £40k unearthed by metal detectorist.BBC. November 19, 2022.
  2. “Man Discovers Rare Medieval Wedding Ring Worth an Estimated $47,000 While Using His Metal Detector.” People. Tracey Harrington McCoy. November 18, 2022
  3. “Metal detectorist discovers medieval wedding ring worth an estimated $47,000.” CNN. Issy RonaldHafsa Khalil. November 18, 2022
  4. “Father discovered a medieval English gold coin worth a record $875,000 on the first day he tried out his new metal detector.” Business Insider. Bethany Dawson. February 5, 2022
  5. “Boy, 10, finds rare monastic seal while metal detecting.BBC. Greig Watson. March 22, 2022.