asunders, and looke into them, they are nothing but brasse and copper."
The makers, or vendors of these rings lived within the precincts of the
collegiate church St. Martin's-le-Grand, and had long enjoyed a certain
immunity from prosecution under the laws prohibiting the manufacture
of ornaments made in imitation of genuine gold or silver ones. The
gilding or silvering of brooches or rings made of copper or latten, is
prohibited by an ordinance of Henry IV (1404), and another of Edward IV
(in 1464), which, while pronouncing it to be unlawful to import rings
of gilded copper or latten, expressly declared that the act should not
be construed as meaning anything prejudicial to one Robert Styllington,
clerk, dean of the King's free chapel of " St. Martin le Graund de
Londres " or to any person or persons dwelling within this sanctuary or
precincts, or who might in after time dwell there, or more especially
in St. Martin's Lane.75
set with precious stones, other than turquoises and pearls, can be
safely cleaned with warm water, white soap and a trifle of ammonia. The
wash should be applied with a soft old tooth-brush, so as to cleanse
the spaces between the filling and the stone-setting. A little
polishing off with a soft chamois will thoroughly restore the
brilliancy of the stone. Turquoise or pearl rings, however, need more
careful treatment and the above directions do not apply in their case.
75 Francis Cohen, " St. Martin's rings," Archeologia, vol. xviii, pt. i, London, 1815, pp. 55, 56.