A small gold ring inscribed with ‘Cans Repentir’, a phrase written in medieval French meaning ‘without changing’. It became very fashionable from the 1400s onwards to give rings like this as a love token. They usually featured stock phrases or excerpts from popular poems. The ring is also inscribed with a floral design which has then been inlaid with white enamel.
The ring was found during a dig on Thames Street in Poole, on what was the medieval shoreline. The excavation, known as The Foundry site, revealed a medieval boatyard. This gives us unique information about the way boats were constructed at that time, as well as many fascinating finds from the period.
It is easy to imagine the frustration that must have been felt by the owner at losing such a valuable ring. Another more fanciful interpretation could be that it was thrown away after a lover’s spat – we can only guess at how this ring came to be languishing in the mud for more than 400 years.