Cramp Rings were another form of Talisman worn for the prevention or cure of cramp. These rings were at one time hallowed by the Kings and Queens of England, but the custom was discontinued in the reign of Edward VI. An old MS., emblazoned with the arms of Philip and Mary, gives the prayers used in the consecration of these rings. The rings were placed in a dish and the ceremony commenced with the reading of a Psalm and a prayer for the communication of the divine gift of healing, after which the sovereign hallowed the rings by saying:

"O God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, hear mercifully our prayers, Spare those who feare thee, and be propitious to thy suppliants, and graciously be pleased to send down from heaven, thy holy angel, that he may sanctify and bless these rings to the end that they may prove a healthy remedy to such as implore thy name with humilitie. Amen".

After the blessing of the rings, the King rubbed them between the palms of his hands, saying :

"Sanctify, O Lord, these rings and graciously bedew them with the dew of thine benediction and consecration, and hallow them by the rubbing of our hands which thou hast been pleased according to our ministry, to the end that what the nature of the metal is not able to perform may be wrought by the greatness of thy grace".

Then holy water was sprinkled on the rings:

"In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost".



Plate 10

These rings were considered most efficacious if formed out of the screws and nails taken from old coffins, and were frequently considered most beneficial in the cure of epileptic fits if hallowed on Good Friday. This custom, according to Hospinian, took its rise from a famous ring long preserved in Westminster Abbey; this ring had been brought from Jerusalem by Edward the Confessor, and was believed to be efficacious against cramp and epilepsy when touched by those afflicted. Another Talisman ring of the sixteenth century was of Jewish origin, engraved with a Hebrew word "Musseltaub," meaning "We wish you good luck," inscribed inside.

Within the hoop of the betrothal or wedding ring it was customary to inscribe sentences, or poesies (posies), and this custom appears to have lasted into the latter part of the eighteenth century, when it fell into disuse. It has been revived of late years, devices, mottoes, and hieroglyphics being once more inscribed in engagement rings, to express the sentiment of the giver and to act as a mutual token of love and friendship. Some of these ancient posies may be found interesting, such as:

"The eye did find, the heart did chuse, the hand doth bind, till death doth loose." "Let Love Encrease." "God did decree the Unitie." "Where Hearts agree there love will be." "Hearts united live contented." "Keep fayth till deth." "I seek to be, not thine, but thee." "Let lyking laste." "Hearts truly tied none can divide".

"Joye sans cesse." "Let us be one till we are none." "Fear the Lord and rest content, so shall we live and not repent".

"This and the giver are thine for ever".

A very old ring (says the author of Ring Lore) is in the collection of J. Evans, Esq.; it is of gold set with a small sapphire, inscribed:


(I am here in place of a friend).

Other devices express the sentiment of the giver in the setting of the gems of the ring, as, for instance, the word "Regard" is represented by a:






Diamond placed in sequence round the ring.