Last Wednesday evening we were delighted to officially unveil the late medieval ring which we acquired through a fundraising campaign back in May. The evening was also a thank you to all of the wonderful people who donated to our fundraising campaign. Without all of the generous donations, we would not have the opportunity to add this valuable piece of Woking history to our Heritage Collection or to have it on display for all to see and enjoy.

Our Director, Marilyn Scott, opened the event by thanking everyone who donated and also, the finder of the ring Mr Mark Doyle for informing the right authorities about the discovery. Marilyn commented, ‘Having the ring come to The Lightbox means that thousands of people will be able to enjoy it. It is great to be able to see tangible early history from Woking that shows it’s long and fascinating history.’

The Mayor of Woking Cllr McCrum spoke about the importance of a community feeling a connection to their history and a sense of pride, which has been shown by the number of people who donated to keep this piece of local history in Woking. The Mayor continued by saying ‘It is so important to have a place to show and preserve our heritage’.

After a fundraising campaign in May which raised the £1750 required with over 42 people donating to the cause, the ring was acquired through the British Museum. Believed to be from the late 14th century, probably from between 1350 – 1400, the ring is a valuable addition to The Lightbox’s Heritage Collection which focuses on pieces from Woking’s past.

Woking was once a popular Royal hunting ground and Woking Palace is well known for being the home of Margaret of Beaufort, the determined mother of King Henry VII. During 1350 – 1400, the period that the ring is believed to be from, the Manor of Woking (the site that would become Woking Palace) was owned by another well-known and powerful family, the Kents and Hollands, Earls of Kent. In 1400 Thomas, the 3rd Earl of Kent, was executed for treason and the Manor of Woking reverted to the Crown. It is exciting to consider that the ring could have fallen from the finger of a Royal courtier or member of one of the most important families in England! We will probably never know for sure, but it is fun to imagine the possibilities of the ring’s former owner and how it came to be buried in the ground in Woking.  

Researched by the Heritage Team at The Lightbox, the display includes an exploration of the period the ring is believed to have come from. The display is currently displayed in pride of place at the front doors for all to see, before being moved to a more permanent position in Woking’s Story, The Lightbox’s free museum. So pop in and have a look, make sure to pick up a copy of the winning story by Sarah Stewart-White who wrote a fun and imaginative piece about where the ring could have come from!

Thank you again to everyone who donated.

Image credits: Late Medieval Ring © The Lightbox ; Jonathan Lord MP, The Lightbox Director Marilyn Scott, Mayor of Woking Cllr McCrum © The Lightbox ; Celebrating the unveiling of the late medieval ring at The Lightbox © The Lightbox