“The Roxwell” gold ring of William Skrene

Found on 4 September 2021 at Roxwell, Essex and recorded at the PAS as ESS-CD68AE.

The design shows a bird of prey perching with wings spread and head turned. The lettering reads ‘·al : for : ye : best ·’ (all for the best). It has not been possible to definitively attribute this motif or legend. However, the ring was found in the vicinity of the Skreens Estate, property of the Skrene family in the 1400s and it is possible the ring was once owned by one of them. Given the quantity of gold used in its manufacture and the quality of the workmanship, it evidently belonged to a person of some wealth and status.

Given the dating of the ring to the 15th Century, a likely candidate is William Skrene, who was an Irish-born barrister and judge. Wiiliam spent his professional life in England, being appointed King’s Serjeant and a judge of assize, as well as Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer in 1395-7. He died in 1419-20.

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