A MEDIEVAL gold devotional ring found on the bank of the River Dee in the Chester area is treasure, an inquest has ruled.

Peter Sigee, assistant coroner for Cheshire, said he was satisfied the ring, discovered by experienced metal detector hobbyist Denis Price in February 2019, counted as treasure, during the inquest held at Chester Magistrates Court on Friday, February 28.

Mr Price, 72, told the court he had acquired a new metal detector that day – one better equipped to finding items in water – and had decided to try it out.

He explained he was about two feet into the water when he acquired a signal and was able to scoop the find out of the river.

After carefully removing the dirt surrounding the items, Mr Price said he was "quite excited" to see it was a gold ring.

He contacted Ben Jones, finds liaison officer for Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, and met him at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester, where Mr Jones told him it had the potential to be treasure.

Mr Price agreed to leave the ring with Mr Jones to investigate further.

The court heard evidence from Mr Jones, who had examined the ring and believed it to have been created in the 13th or 14th century.

It featured gothic script with the names of religious figures including Jesus, Mary and the three magi.

Mr Sigee concluded the find was indeed treasure.

Mr Price told him his metal detecting was a hobby which he did to the best of his ability and within the confines of the law.

Mr Sigee replied: "You do it with considerable success, you add to the value of the country. If the items are not found and put into a museum they are lost."

Chester's Grosvenor Museum has since expressed an interest in acquiring the ring, which is currently being held at the British Museum.

Speaking after the inquest, Chester-born Mr Price – who lives in Middlewich – explained he had been a metal detector enthusiast for 55 years ever since his mother-in-law bought him a metal detector.

Among his many other finds over the years were a hoard of silver Saxon/Viking coins from the reign of Eadgar, King of England between 957 and 975 AD, a find which a previous inquest heard was of "very considerable importance" in a historical context. A Saxon strapend-type buckle was also found in the same area.

Another find – a thimble which Mr Price was originally told was Victorian – turned out to be a 17th century posy silver thimble when he presented the find on the Antiques Roadshow.

Other discoveries made in the Chester area include, from the 1980s, a 15th century gold religious ring, three King Charles I shillings and a King Charles I sixpence (all silver coins).