A METAL detectorist has found a 15th Century gold ring worth £1,500.

The ring is the most valuable object Colin Henderson, a 43-year-old father-of-two from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, has found in six years of the hobby.

He found the jewellery 5in underground during an outing with the Quakers Acres metal detecting club.

It is hoped the ring, discovered at farmland at Aldbrough St John, near Darlington, will now be displayed at a local museum.

Mr Henderson, a technical manager at Aycliffe Fabrications, said: "We went out for a full day search and I found it within the first few minutes.

"I walked about 30 paces onto the field and it was the first thing I found. We found nothing else all day.

"I have been doing this for about six years now. In the past, I have found a Saxon brooch, medieval coins and lots of Roman coins, but this is the best thing I have ever found."

The ring, which has a lily engraved on the side and is made from hollow cast gold, was discovered late in 2006. Under the Treasure Act, it was taken away for valuation by the Treasure Valuation Committee.

Once its value is decided, a reward equal to the value of the item is given to the finder.

Mr Henderson has been informed that it is worth £1,500, which will be split with the landowner.

He said: "Because it was over 300 years old and made of gold, it has been officially classified as treasure. Within a couple of weeks, it is taken away from you.

"At the moment, it is at the British Museum, but Harrogate Museum are keen to get it.

"Hopefully, it will be on display because I would like to have a look myself some day."

No one knows who the ring belonged to, and Mr Henderson said he had given a lot of thought to its origin.

He said: "We can fantasise about different stories, but we will probably never know where it came from.

"You build stories up in your head. Whoever it belonged to would not have worked in the field - they would have been too rich for that.

"Maybe the owner had a tiff with her husband and chucked it.

"There is no way to attach it to one particular person."