1) To mark a ring round a tree as a sign to workmen about to fell a wood.
1686 the woods … all marked by ringing, Tong. It could be a painted ring or a cut made with a scrive iron: 1763 reserving thereout all Those Trees and powles and wavers therein which are marked and Rung about with Red, with the Bark and Ramel thereon to be and Remain, Esholt: in this case though the ring warned the woodmen not to fell the tree. In the same indenture ‘ringing’ was defined more explicitly: cause the Wood & Trees to be so pilled and Rung about that the same be felled within or Under the Ringing of the Bark and that Low near the Earth, Esholt. It raises the question of whether the colour indicated whether or not a tree was to be felled. The word occurs also in a reference to timber rights in Wistow woods, although the meaning here is obscure: 1711 tenants may take competent wood in the Lord’s woods for daubing standers and windings to the houses and for rings, ring stowers and shellrings to the ways.
3) In collieries, possibly for collecting waste water using a circular spout or crib.
As a verb it is used in colliery accounts for Farnley near Leeds, although with a mistaken spelling: 1718 Rob. a day to wring the pitt
1719 Titus and Tho. Savage a day wringing the pitt and takeing up earth 2s 0d. The meaning is not absolutely certain but the noun ‘ring’ was used in the north-east for a circular spout or crib which was placed in the shaft of a coal-pit to collect waste water. It was made of oak or metal and had a channel on its top side. There were expenses at Beeston colliery, in 1754, for Making a Ring Dam.