Posy Ring "GOD'S PROVIDENCE IS OUR INHERITANCE"
In England the tradition of wearing a plain gold ring as a visible pledge of matrimony dates back to the late medieval period and continued well into the eighteenth century. Queen Mary I in 1554 and later in 1840 Queen Victoria chose to be wedded with a plain gold band. Popular, however, were the so-called "posy" rings, their name deriving from the term poésie or poetry, due to the engraved mottoes or inscriptions, either in prose or verse. These messages were often concealed inside the hoop and only known to the wearer and the giver. The exchange of rings between lovers often preceded the wedding ceremony as a symbol of consent of marriage to be contracted either inside or outside of a church setting. Inscriptions evoking religious sentiment suggest the ring was given to the bride in the Church as a sign of the sacredness of marriage.
The plain gold band with D-section has on the interior the engraved inscription in italic lettering "God's providence is our inheritance." Near the hallmark is a file mark, possibly from testing the gold. The ring shows traces of wear and is in good condition. Except for the letter 'F' at the beginning of the maker's mark, the cartouche-shaped hallmark has become undecipherable through general wear.
Variants of this posy which can be found as early as the 16th century and on rings more commonly in the seventeenth and eighteenth century; see examples in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Oman 1930, no. 682 with mention of one in the Norwich Castle Museum) and British Museum, London (Dalton 1912, nos. 1179-1181). For a history and of posy rings, see Evans, 1931 and Anon., A Garland of Love: A Collection of Posy-Ring Mottoes, London 1907. For further information, see Dalton 1912, pp. 174 ff.; Scarisbrick 2007, pp. 74 ff., Taylor and Scarisbrick 1978, and Oman 1974, pp. 39 ff.