Signet ring

Signet ring
Brass signet ring engraved with a prancing lion crest. Research results indicate it is probably of early 17th century origin, but a late 16th century origin can’t be definitively ruled out. The ring was excavated at the Cape Creek site (Croatan), Buxton, Dare County, North Carolina, in 1998 during the Croatan Archaeological Project, which was directed by East Carolina University Professor Emeritus David Sutton Phelps. Date approximated.
Original Format
1cm x 2cm
Local Identifier
Location of Original
East Carolina Manuscript Collection
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S Sutton Sep 16 2016

The prancing or dancing lion is normally associated with the Sutton family. One of the lost colonists, Martyn, was also a Sutton. The Kendall family crest is different...

Doug Wilson Jul 14 2016

G. Smith is quite right. Hakluyt's Principle Navigations volume 8 p.416 reports that John White found on a tree by the beach "CRO : which letters presently we knew to signifie the place, where I should find the planters seated" On p.417 he further reports that John White found on a tree by the fort entrance "in fayre Capitall letters was graven CROATOAN without any crosse or signe of distresse;" Both were carved in capital letters as written in the report. .

John Towles Jun 25 2016

To be honest, I would be willing to bet that this was most likely an heirloom of the Towles family of Accomac County Va.My reasoning is that Henry Towles married a Kendall in the mid 17th century and it was Henry Towles who was been cited as having sealed an official document with his family signet ring - a lion passant; not the Kendall family.

G. Smith Aug 16 2015

Observation: In National Geographic and other sources, the word you have spelled here, "Croatan", is spelled "Croatoan". Signed: An old proofreader who can't help herself.

Doug Wilson Jul 19 2014

Correction to first words in previous post: "A gilded copper-alloy signet ring"

Doug Wilson Jul 19 2014

A gilded copy-alloy signet ring of very similar style was found near Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex, England, in May 2004. It is nearly identical in design (less worn), age (1400-1600 AD), and size (Width: 4.2 mm, Diameter: 20.8 mm, Thickness: 2.1 mm, Weight: 4.72 g)      Shoreham-by-Sea is on a bay between Worthing and Brighton along the British Channel shoreline. That is about 260 miles east of Pelyn, Cornwall, where the Kendall family with lion passant crest was living in the 16th century.     Notably, the curator of the British Museum's "virtual museum"  website tags the design as a "standing lion" aka rampant. The posting can be found at Unique ID is SUSS-C937A8.    It would be interesting to know what an expert in medieval signet rings would conclude by comparison of  the West Sussex find to the one found on Hatteras. Same craftsman? For same person/family? Perhaps a less expensive copy of the gold ring found on Hatteras?  

Doug Wilson Feb 03 2014

It would be helpful to have a link from this digital collection page to the manuscript collection page about this item - - where there is more of a description of Dr. Phelps findings. Thank you for sharing this discovery with us.

Doug Wilson Feb 03 2014

This is a great presentation for this unique find. Kudos to Dr. Phelps and ECU!One thing please. Is it possible to pause the 360 degree video and continue without starting over so one can study it at different angles?

r33ce Sep 08 2010

you need flash player to watch, you can get it here:

r33c3 Aug 19 2010

the 360 view is accessible again :]

not given Aug 18 2010

you used to be able to view this as a 360 image - where did it go?

Diane Buccheri Feb 28 2009

Marvelous find. Dr. David S. Phelps was a marvelous director and archaeologist. Forever, my hat's off to him.

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