Medieval rings and a silver brooch, all dating back centuries, found in counties Down and Antrim

One of the medieval rings, believed to date back of 13th to 14th century, which were found in Co Down. Picture by Hugh Russell

A SNAPSHOT of life in townlands in counties Down and Antrim has been uncovered with the discovery of two medieval rings and a silver brooch, dating back centuries.

The rings, believed to date from the 13th to 14th century, were found a short distance apart at Bright, near Ardglass.

The silver brooch, closely associated with Viking burials, was discovered near Dunseverick on the north Antrim coast with the details of the items discussed yesterday at Belfast coroners court ahead of their transfer to the British Museum for treasure valuation.

The rings are tarnished in appearance, but have been tested as silver with the surface of both divided into a number of panels, some with a cross-style motif.

The decoration of one ring includes a flower pattern and traces of lettering, believed to say in Latin, 'Iesu Rex Exaudi Nos' or 'Jesus, king, hear us'.

The two rings are believed to have been lost or deposited together and were found close to the ruins of Castle Bright, suggesting they could have been owned and lost by the castle's occupants.

Meanwhile, a silver brooch found at Lisserluss, near Dunseverick is believed to date back to the 8th to 9th centuries. It is similar to the so-called 'Tara' brooch from Bettystown, Co Meath - one of the great treasures of Early Christian art.

The brooch, consisting of a circular hoop and pin, is badly damaged, perhaps after it was buried in the ground.

These brooches were worn by 'high society' and might have been the property of kings.

The item was found near what was remembered in the 1830s as a graveyard, raising the possibility it may have accompanied the burial of a Viking or someone of Viking ancestry.

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