A gold ring “Memento Mori” engraved with a skull is one of nine stunning medieval and post-medieval objects found in Wales.
The ring found in the Carreghofa parish in Powys would have been kept as a reminder of the inevitability of death.
“Memento Mori” is a Latin term that literally means “remember you must die”.
Among the other priceless objects are three gold and silver coin treasures and the first Anglo-Saxon style double hook clasp identified in Wales.
All nine finds were discovered by metal detectors in Powys and Vale of Glamorgan and declared a treasure by the National Museum of Wales.
They were all personal items belonging to wealthy members of Welsh society from the 9th to 17th centuries AD.
In the picture “Treasure Chest 19.11” – a post-medieval golden Memento Mori finger ring that was found in the municipality of Carreghofa in Powys
MEMORIAL OF DEATH
Memento Mori literally means “remember that you have to die”.
The early Puritan settlers were particularly aware of death and feared what it might mean. Hence, a Puritan tombstone often shows a memento mori meant for the living.
These skulls or skulls may seem creepy to us, but they helped keep the living on track for fear of eternal punishment.
In earlier centuries, an educated European could put a real skull on his desk to keep the idea of death in mind.
The gold Memento Mori ring named “Treasure Case 19.11” was found in the Carreghofa Community by metal detector David Balfour.
Engraved on the flat bezel is what the National Museum of Wales calls a “skull” – a skull – inlaid with traces of white enamel.
The skull is surrounded by the inscription ‘+ Memento Mori’ in small, italic, italic font.
The inscription, the style of the engraved skull, and the cursive script indicate that this ring dates between 1550 and 1650, according to the National Museum of Wales.
The government agency said in a blog post that it is hoping to acquire this artifact for the Welsh national collection.
“This is a rare example of a Tudor or early Stuart Memento Mori ring with a clear Welsh ancestry,” said Dr. Mark Redknap, Assistant Director of Collections and Research at the National Museum of Wales.
‘His feeling reflects the high mortality of time, the motif and the inscription recognizing the brevity and vanity of life.
“This discovery extends our knowledge of attitudes towards death in early modern Wales.”
Among the other finds, all of which were listed by the National Museum of Wales this week, are a medieval silver ring brooch, a Tudor silver coin treasure and a medieval silver bar holder.
Three medieval gold coins (Treasure 19:44) were found by Chris Perkins and Shawn Hendry while detecting metals in Llanwrtyd Community, Powys, in April 2019.
The coins are “nobles” from the reign of Edward III. And Richard II (1327-1399) with a total value of 20 shillings, which corresponds to about 50 daily wages for a craftsman.
They were probably buried for safekeeping towards the end of the 14th century, but their owner never salvaged them.
NATIONAL MUSEUM WALES ANNOUNCES NINE MEDIEVAL AND POST MEDIEVAL TREASURES
Treasure Chest 19:25, a 17th century gold coin treasure found in Trefeglwys Community, Powys
Nine medieval and medieval treasure finds have been declared treasures by Thomas Atherton, assistant coroner for South Wales Central.
– – Treasure Chest 05/19, a late medieval silver-gilt finger ring found in the Tregynon Community, Powys.
– – Treasure Chest 06/19, a medieval silver bar found in the parish of Llancarfan in the Vale of Glamorgan.
– – Treasure Chest 08/19, a post-medieval gold bouquet ring found in Talgarth Community, Powys.
Treasure Chest 5/19, a late medieval silver-gold plated finger ring found in the Tregynon Community, Powys
– – Treasure Chest 11/19, a post-medieval gold memento mori finger ring found in the parish of Carreghofa, Powys.
– – Treasure Chest 19.21, a medieval silver ring-shaped brooch found in the Montgomery community in Powys.
– – Treasure Chest 19:22, a Tudor silver coin treasure found in the Churchstoke Community in Powys.
– – Treasure Chest 19.23, an early medieval silver double hook clasp found in Churchstoke Community, Powys
– – Treasure Chest 19.25, a 17th century gold coin treasure found in Trefeglwys Community, Powys.
– – Treasure Chest 19.44, a medieval gold coin treasure found in the Llanwrtyd Wells Community in Powys
Treasure Chest 08/19, a post-medieval gold bouquet ring found in Talgarth Community, Powys
Treasure Chest 6/19, a medieval silver bar holder found in the Llancarfan Community, Vale of Glamorgan
The newly opened Y Gaer Museum, the Art Gallery & Library in the town of Brecon, Mid Wales, is hoping to acquire the gold coins for its new galleries.
“Very few gold coins have been discovered in South Powys, so we would appreciate the opportunity to add these to the museum’s new medieval exhibits,” said senior curator Nigel Blackamore.
A group of five silver coins (Treasure 19:22), consisting of 4 groats and a Burgundian “double patard”, was discovered by Aled Roberts and Graham Wood in May 2019 while metal was discovered in Churchstoke Community, Powys.
Treasure Chest 7.44pm, a medieval gold coin treasure found in the Llanwrtyd Wells Community in Powys
Treasure Chest 19:21, a medieval silver ring brooch found in Montgomery Community, Powys
Treasure Chest 19:22 – a Tudor silver coin treasure found in the Churchstoke community in Powys. The portrait of Henry VIII is depicted on three of these coins
The treasure 19:22 was buried around 1530 during the reign of King Henry VIII, who is shown here around 1537 at the age of around 45
This little treasure was buried around 1530 during the reign of Henry VIII, the portrait of which is depicted on three of the coins.
The Y Lanfa Powysland Museum and Welshpool Library hope to acquire this coin treasure to add to the museum’s collection, which does not yet contain examples of locally found coins from the 16th century.
“It would be wonderful to have these coins in the museum’s collection and open them to the public,” said center manager Saffron Price.
In the meantime, the early medieval decorated silver double hook clasp (treasure chest 19:23) was found by Stuart Fletcher in the Churchstoke Community, Powys, at an unknown date.
The National Museum Wales says: “The stylization of the invalidated zoomorphic motifs shows that it is an Anglo-Saxon work from the 9th century, which was probably used to attach an item of clothing as functional costume jewelry.”
Treasure Chest 19:23, an early medieval silver double hook clasp found in Churchstoke Community, Powys
She hopes to be able to acquire this artifact for the national collection as well.
“This unusual item is the first Anglo-Saxon style double-hook fastener identified in Wales,” said Dr. Redknap.
“It reflects the status of the original owner and provides new evidence of the unveiling of Anglo-Saxon styles in the early Welsh kingdoms and of the melting pot of styles and influences from which Welsh identity was to emerge.”