The losing of the Master of Nottingham's ring

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This is an elaborate story about the twelfth-century Master of Nottingham, his daughter and a woman named Margaret Ford.

According to the story, the Master of Nottingham had made a magic ring. His daughter, unaware of the ring's properties, put it on one day and wore it to a fair. At the fair, however, the ring was swallowed by a goose. The goose was bought by a man who brought it home, to the village of Fiskerton, for his wife to cook. Removing the innards of the goose, the man's wife, Margaret Ford, discovered the ring and set it on a table next to three eggs. These eggs soon hatched, producing a minature viol with arms and legs which played itself, a tiny ship of ivory with sails of linen that sailed through air, and a phoenix. Realizing that the ring was magical, Margaret Ford began using for malicious and selfish ends.

Word of Margaret Ford's magic eventually arrived in Nottingham. Having put so much of his power into the ring, the Master had begun to fall grievously ill soon after its loss. His daughter decided to set out to recover the ring.

On her way to Fiskerton, the daughter encountered several victims of Margaret Ford's magic: an eternally burning forest, a woman partially transformed into a fish, and a village people who constantly see "vivid images of all their worst fears constantly before their eyes." As soon the Master of Nottingham's daughter arrived at Margaret Ford's house, Margaret Ford knew why she was there and put her to work with the servants. The Master of Nottingham's daughter lived in Margaret Ford's household for about a year until she was able to implement her plan to recover the ring.

Having obtained the ring, the Master of Nottingham's daughter set off for Nottingham, but was pursued by Margaret Ford and her servants. On three occasions the Master of Nottingham's daughter was almost overtaken, but she was helped by the victims of Margaret Ford's magic whom she had previously met. Once she returned home, she gave the ring back to her father who recovered and righted all the wrongs Margaret Ford had performed with the ring [25].

According to Jonathan Strange, however, this popular version of the story is not true. Strange claimed that the Master of Nottingham's daughter, Donata Torel, and Margaret Ford were members of a Nottinghamshire fellowship of female magicians which Hugh Torel sought to abolish until the women left their homes to live in the forest and obtained the protection of Thomas Godbless [25].

Anas Quackis.jpg

Barbara the duck unfortunately has nothing to do with this story. She is pretty though.


Pretty medieval manuscript of the day, showing a cheeky looking fox (in disguise) preaching to bewildered looking chickens and a gobsmacked goose. It will surely end in alliteration and tears!