Posie Rings

As I promised yesterday, today I am going to share a little of what I know about Posie rings.  A ‘Posie ring’ (sometimes written as posy, posey or poesy) is any ring with an inscription on the outside or inside.  Usually they are gold.  They were particularly popular in England and France during the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries as lovers’ gifts.

18th century poesy ring. Inscription reads:  "Many are the stars I see but in my eye no star like thee."

18th century poesy ring. Inscription reads: “Many are the stars I see but in my eye no star like thee.”

The early posie rings had inscriptions in Norman French and later were written in Latin, French or English.  I have not come across them in other languages, although I suspect they must exist.  They can be simple bands or they can be set with stones. Tolkien must have gotten his inspiration from the English Posie Ring.

Here are some examples of typical inscriptions.  I love the deep romance of these sentiments from a more poetic age. Posie rings are truly a wonderful item to own, to give and to collect.

In love abide till death devide’

‘ In thee my choyce I do rejoyce’

‘In thy sight is my delight’

posy ring

Post-medieval posie ring (1500-1650), found in Rowton Castle area, Shropshire. © Portable Antiquities Scheme and British Museum

File:Posy Rings.jpg

Posie rings in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford

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