A 16th-century gold ring found by a metal detectorist in Norfolk is expected to fetch more than £14,000 at auction.

Retired carpenter Alan Rumsby unearthed the jewellery buried nine inches beneath a field in Roydon near Diss.

The 75-year-old had searched the area several times without success before making the discovery in October 2020.

It is thought that the ring, which bears a coat of arms, was once owned by a woman who was born in the 16th century.

Diss Mercury: It is expected to fetch at least £14,000It is expected to fetch at least £14,000 (Image: Noonans/PA Wire)

Nigel Mills, artefact and coin expert at Noonans auctioneers, said: “The ring is historically important because it is extremely rare to find a seal ring of this period that was worn by a woman.

“The arms are divided into four, each representing her ancestral family heritage, namely Ashfield, Tendring, Botelier and Mapersall.

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“The five-pointed star in the centre of the arms represents a third son so we believe the ring was owned by Dorothy Ashfield who was born in 1594, the eldest daughter of the third son Thomas Ashfield of Hopton in Suffolk and his wife Ellen Holditch of Ranworth in Norfolk.”

Mr Rumsby said: “I have never found anything made of gold in over 10 years of detecting so was really excited.

Diss Mercury: Mr Rumsby said he would use the money for a nice holiday with his wifeMr Rumsby said he would use the money for a nice holiday with his wife (Image: Noonans/PA Wire)

“It was only after it was taken to the museum that I realised how significant this discovery was.

“The British Museum had originally declared an interest in acquiring the ring but now two years later the ring has been disclaimed, so I am able to sell it.

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“I intend to use the money, which will be shared with the landowner, on a holiday for my wife and myself.”

The ring is to be offered for sale at Noonans Mayfair in London on March 12.

It has a pre-auction estimate of £14,000 to £16,000.