US NewsTreasure hunter, 52, finds £20,000 ring 'worn by two of Henry VIII's wives' in a farmer's field in York
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When metal detectorist Paul Ibbotson found a bejewelled gold ring in a farmer’s field he knew it was special.
But when he researched it he became convinced it may have belonged to two of Henry VIII’s wives and was last worn by Catherine Howard months before she was beheaded.
His fanciful story will intrigue visitors to a museum in York when the 15th-century ring – valued at £20,000 – goes on display later this year.
But experts, while describing the gold ring set with ruby and emerald as an ‘incredible treasure’, say its provenance cannot be proved.
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Mr Ibbotson, 52, from Blackpool, found it in a field at Fulford, near York, in December 2016. It was officially declared treasure and he and the landowner received £10,000 each. Now, after more than two years of research, Mr Ibbotson believes it could be the ring on the index finger of Anne of Cleves in Hans Holbein’s 1539 portrait.
The painting convinced King Henry VIII to marry her but he was disappointed when he met her in real life and their marriage the following year was never consummated, and annulled.
Meanwhile, Catherine Howard, a lady-in-waiting, had caught Henry’s eye at court and became his fifth wife in July 1540. Mr Ibbotson believes Anne gave her the ring and she wore it when the royal couple arrived in York in 1541.
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He suggests Catherine and her lover the courtier Thomas Culpeper may have met in the area and that she threw it to the ground to show her love for him over the king. The lovers were both eventually executed.
Lucy Creighton, of the Yorkshire Museum, said the story ‘is impossible to verify [but] this doesn’t make the ring any less special’.
Gallery: Meet America's most successful treasure hunters (lovemoney)
MSN are empowering Women In Sport this summer. Find out more about our campaign and the charity fighting to promote the transformational and lifelong rewards of exercise for women and girls in the UK.
Mystery of fish caught with wedding ring attached solved.
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The Prince and the Pauper Audiobook by Mark Twain | Audiobook with subtitles
The Prince and the Pauper (1882) represents Mark Twain's first attempt at historical fiction. The book, set in 1547, tells the story of two young boys who are ...