A MAN who uncovered a valuable item of treasure at a York field has described his delight at realising what he had found.

Derek Greenwell, 58, said he considers uncovering a heavy gold signet ring just six inches under the soil at Church Farm at Overton, to be the high point of the 23 years he has spent metal detecting.

The 17th century ring, with the coat of arms from Manchester’s Prestwich family, is now in the possession of the British Museum and has been declared treasure. He said: “I was ecstatic when I found it. Finding that in my hand, I said ‘thank you God’ and I’m not even religious. I was really over the moon. It’s a day I will never forget.”

Mr Greenwell, a former factory worker from Durham, was at the farm last October when Craig Best, also from Durham, found part of a silver pilgrim badge from the 15th Century. It has also been declared to be treasure.

He said: “He was running across the field when he found out. I said it was a piece of Victorian rubbish, but I was wrong.”