Lot 1678: Medieval Gold 'Assheton Family' Signet Ring with RA and Lancaster Rose
December 8, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: Late 15th-16th century AD. A D-section hoop widening to a circular boss with maltese cross against white enamel extending to acanthus leaf against black enamel shoulders; the sexfoil bezel with incurved sides bearing incuse Lancaster five-petalled rose flanked by trifold floral sprigs above the retrograde initials ' R A' divided by a larger trifold floral sprig, the edges bordered with beaded and plain lines. Accompanied by an Art Loss Register certificate. 13 grams, 27mm overall, 22.23 x 19.31mm internal diameter (approximate size British Z 1/2, USA 12 3/4, Europe 29.49, Japan 28) (1"). Ex Meiling collection; reputed to have been found in an ancient barn near Gretton, Northamptonshire, in the 1950s; thence by descent. Accompanied by a positive X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate. The Lancastrian Sir Ralph Assheton (sometimes Sir Ralph de Ashton, 1421-1486 AD) held offices under Edward IV and became known as 'The Black Knight' after he was knighted by Richard III; his half brother was the alchemist Sir Thomas de Ashton; another relative, Sir John Assheton, was knighted on the field after the battle of Northampton. The family had fought with William the Conqueror at Hastings in 1066, at Agincourt, and had served widely over centuries. A later family member was a Member of Cromwell's Long Parliament. Lands were held throughout Lancashire and elsewhere with the family seat at Middleton Hall, and later at Downham Hall, Preston. Within the family, the forename Ralph frequently occurs, down to the related Ralph Assheton, who took the title Lord Clitheroe when knighted in 1955, so this ring could well be associated with the Assheton family. After the accession to the throne of Henry VII, the first Tudor monarch, Henry combined a red rose of Lancaster with the white rose of York to create the famous Tudor double rose seen in English heraldry to the present day.
Condition Report: Very fine condition. A large wearable size.