The poesy ring

“I could tell from the size of the box that it was jewellery of some sort. When I opened it, I got my first surprise: it was a ring.

It’s a silver ring with a celtic knot design of tiny intertwined hearts around the outside, and on the inside the words ‘Yours Only’ are engraved.”

(yes, there was a second surprise)

This isn’t Tasha’s ring, but it’s very similar ….


The Poesy Ring
Having posted this on Facebook over the weekend, I thought I’d share here some of the information I discovered about the poesy ring while researching for my novels.

“In 16th and 17th century England or France, a wedding ring would invariably be inscribed with a sentiment of love, faith, and hope: a short love poem or poesy. A sterling silver betrothal ring would often be replaced with the same poesy ring in gold upon marriage. The popularity of these poesy rings is attested to by their frequent mention in Shakespeare’s plays. The tradition is older than Shakespeare’s time, but it was during the Renaissance (14th-17th Centuries) that the custom reached the height of popularity.” (source)

The British Museum gives more detailed information:
“The practice of giving gold hoop rings engraved with mottoes at betrothals or weddings was common in England from the sixteenth century onwards, and continued until the late eighteenth century. ‘Posy’ rings could, however, be given on many other occasions as tokens of friendship or loyalty, and ‘posies’ are also found on religious and memorial rings. The inscription is generally found on the interior of the ring, hidden to everyone except the wearer. Most of the sentimental mottoes were taken from popular literature of the time, such as ‘chapbooks’ (pamphlets), or from collections on the language of courtship. A few customers would supply their own composition for the goldsmith to engrave.

The outside of the hoop was often decorated to enhance the message or to form part of the message itself.”

I think it’s a shame that this tradition went out of fashion: it seems a much more personal and personalised gesture, particularly when compared with the modern-day engagement ring, which is invariably chosen by the recipient. What do you think?

A poesy ring presented Tasha with surprises, dilemmas and questions that she hadn’t expected. To find out what they were, and how she reacted – and whether or not she ever wore the ring – you’ll need to read “New Beginnings: Starting Over” 😉

under1pound“New Beginnings: Starting Over” is available for less than £1 from (or Other books in the series can be found here.


About johannanield

Welsh author of a contemporary British romance trilogy
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