The typical decade ring takes its name from the fact that it has ten knobs, although this one has eleven. The rings were used in the same way as a rosary . A ‘Hail Mary’ (Ave Maria) prayer was said for each of the knobs, and then an ‘Our Father’ (Paternoster) for the bezel (the centre of the ring).
Decade rings in which the bezel was engraved with a saint appeared in the middle of the 15th century, but ceased to be produced after the Reformation. In this instance the bezel is engraved with the letter ‘S’. This could have a religious significance (standing for servus or ‘servant’ of Christ), but may simply be the initial letter of the owner’s name.
- Place of origin:England, Great Britain (made)
- Date:1500-1520 (made)
- Materials and Techniques: Bronze
- Museum number: 775-1871 (V&A Museum)