Ring from 1860s is found

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A treasure hunter has unearthed an old gold mourning ring that belonged to the niece of a man who died in a freak boating accident in St Neots in the 1860s.

Ashley Bossendorfer, 41, who detects metal as a hobby, found the ring in a field just outside Wilden several weeks ago.

The ring he describes as a gold mourning ring has the word uncle spaced out on the outside and inside is inscribed: “Alfred Peacock died 30th May 1867 aged 23 yrs old.”

After doing some research, Ashley found that Alfred Peacock was among three who died in a boat accident in 1867.

He said: “It’s a really sad story actually. All I did was google his name and the story came up and then I went to the records service and found the article the Bedfordshire Times did at the time.

“He was one of a group of five lads who had gone on a boat trip on a rowing boat on the River GreatOuse in St Neots. One of them stood up and was messing around, which caused the boat to capsize and they went under. Three of the five guys died.

“I originally thought that Alfred lived in St Neots, but after doing some research I actually found out his family was from Ravensden.

“So I thought there’s no way I can give this ring away. I started to look into doing a family tree and I really want to reunite the ring with a family member if there are still any living locally.”

Through more research Ashley found out that Alfred was son to Samual and Mary Peacock and that the ring was manufactured by a Joshua Horton & Son in Whitechapel, London.

Alfred Peacock is buried next to his father at Ravensden church.

Ashley added: “I actually thought it was specially made because I have seen a few of these rings but none that say ‘uncle’, but I have been told that it is more likely the ring would have been bought from a jewellers and then inscribed.

“I also found out that the ring would have been bought about a week after he died.

“It is a gold mourning ring that at that time time were traditionally worn by girls who were in mourning. I have tried to trace who it could have belonged to but I have reached a bit of a dead end. There were about 10 or 11 brothers and sisters, who then had lots of children so I’m a bit stuck now.”

If anyone has information on who the ring may belong to email editorial@timesandcitizen.co.uk