The ring said to have inspired Tolkien at The Vyne, Hampshire
Perhaps the most interesting object in The Vyne’s possession is a solid gold ring dating from the 4th or 5th-century.
Discovered in the 18th-century, the faceted ten-sided band has a Latin inscription engraved on it, which reads: ‘O Senicianus, may you live prosperously’. The fearsome looking head once thought to be a lion has now been identified as that of the Goddess of Venus. Several decades after the ring was found a Roman lead tablet was uncovered at the site of a temple in Gloucestershire, bearing an inscription referring to this same ring, cursing the person who had stolen it.
There has been some suggestion that the story of this curse came to the attention of J R Tolkien, who had been advising on finds at the temple, and that this ring was the inspiration for his Lord of the Rings trilogy.