This unique and highly decorated solid gold ring was found in c.1930 at the Redfearn Glassworks in Fishergate. It has a face in the centre with two elongated animals on each side, their bodies running around the ring and merging into a foliage design.
Experts agree that it is pre-Norman, but their dates range from 8th century Anglian to early 11th century Anglo-Scandinavian. The ring was presented to the Yorkshire Museum in 1951 by the three daughters of Henry Leetham, a wealthy York industrialist and owner of Leetham's Mill in Hungate.
The circumstances of it being found are uncertain, although the museum accession record says it was found at the Glassworks "on the finger of a skeleton". It is likely to have been found during building work as workers said that skeletons were often found when digging on the site.
The Glassworks stood on the site of a Gilbertine Priory, which in turn was built on the pre-Norman church of St Andrews. During the Anglian period, Fishergate was an important manufacturing and trading centre, with staiths on the adjacent river Foss bringing goods from across the North Sea.
The whereabouts of the ring between 1930 and 1951 are not known. Neither is it known why the ring was handed over by the ladies "on behalf" of their father, who had died in 1923, before it was found.
FFH and the Yorkshire Museum staged an event at the Novotel, close to where the ring was found, when some 150 local people came to see and hold the ring. FFH has a set of posters describing the ring and its origins, which have been displayed at Fishergate Tower and our exhibition at Fulford Show.
Chris Rainger gave a presentation on the Fishergate Ring to our 2015 AGM. To view the presentation, click here.Please respect copyright on images.