Auction Catalogue

14 March 2023

Starting at 11:00 AM


Jewellery, Watches and Objects of Vertu

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№ 167


14 March 2023

Estimate: £5,000–£6,000

The Fontwell Ring: A late 12th century gold ring, the rectangular domed amber coloured glass inset within the hollow bezel, the bezel of rectangular form with flanges to two sides decorated with parallel grooves, the hoop rectangular in section and of tapering width, the shank inscribed in Lombardic script to the exterior ’siestre.ipvis.partir.non.avis.valete’, each letter with dotted punch detailing, the inscription translating as ‘thus to be and then to part is not worthy of opinion’, dimensions 21 x 19mm. £5,000-£6,000

This ring was a detectorist find, discovered in Eartham, near Fontwell in West Sussex, in November 2019. The nearby 12th century church of St Margaret is first mentioned in 1157 when Bishop Hilary gave it to Richard, the chaplain of Chichester.

The ring is recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database Ref: SUR-D0CDD0 and subsequently has been disclaimed as Treasure, Ref: 2019-T1043.

According to a verbal report from GCS, the cabochon is confirmed as paste/glass. Ref No: 5783-1130.

The legend inscribed around the exterior in Lombardic script reading ‘SI ESTRE ∙ I PVIS ∙ PARTIR ∙ NON ∙ AVIS ∙ VALETE,’ is likely to be a French proverbial motto translating as ‘Thus to be and then to part is not worthy of (good) opinion’, (See Malcolm Jones, pers. com), or alternatively may translate as ‘If we are parted, this has no value/is worthless’.