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Lead cloth seals & sewing equipement

Lead seals such as cloth seals and bale seals were widely used in Europe between the 13th and 19th centuries as a means of identification and as a component of regulation and quality control. Cloth seals appear to be the most thoroughly documented type of seal. Cloth seals were typically two disc seals joined by a connecting strip. These were intended to be folded around each side of a textile and stamped closed, in a manner similar to that in which coins were stamped.

Bale seals such were single disc seals, rather than two disc seals, and were also used to identify textiles, as well as parcels and bales of trade goods. The obverse would typically display a city's arms, and the reverse would record data such as the length or width of fabric or the weight of a parcel.

Specialist literature - British Museum Occasional paper 93 - Lead cloth seal and related items in the British museum - Geoff Egan

Alnage, or aulnage (from Fr. aune, ell) is the official supervision of the shape and quality of manufactured woollen cloth.

It was first ordered in the reign of Richard I that "woollen cloths, wherever they are made, shall be of the same width, to wit, of two ells within the lists, and of the same goodness in the middle and sides." This ordinance is usually known as the Assize of Measures or the Assize of Cloth. Article 35 of Magna Carta re-enacted the Assize of Cloth, and in the reign of Edward I an official called an "alnager" was appointed to enforce it. His duty was to measure each piece of cloth, and to affix a stamp to show that it was of the necessary size and quality.

As, however, the diversity of the wool and the importation of cloths of various sizes from abroad made it impossible to maintain any specific standard of width, the rules as to size were repealed in 1353. The increased growth of the woollen trade, and the introduction of new and lighter drapery in the reign of Elizabeth I, compelled a revision of the old standards. A statute was passed in 1665 creating the office of alnager of the new drapery, and defining the sizes to which cloth should be woven. The object of the statute was to prevent people being deceived by buying spurious woollen cloth, and to provide against fraud and imposition. Owing to the introduction of the alternative standard, a distinction arose between "broadcloth" (cloth of two yards) and "streit" or "strait" (narrow cloth of one yard). The meaning now attached to broadcloth, however, is merely that of material of superior quality. Alnage duties and the office of alnager were abolished in 1699.


Alnage Seal
Tudor period cloth seal
Post medieval lead cloth seal
Post medieval lead cloth seal with crown impression
 Alnage cloth seal
Alanage seal
Alnage seal(x)
Alnage seal
Cloth seal
Alnage cloth seal(x)
Alnage colth seal
Complete Cloth seal
Complete cloth seal(b)
Alnage Cloth seal
73 Cloth seal
Tudor rose cloth seal probably C16th - 17thC (r)
Alnage Cloth seal
Great find - complete Alnage cloth seal with both ends intact
Lead cloth seal with 43 ZZ mark
Post medieval lead cloth seal
Alnage cloth seal

Complete and mint condition cloth seal, double B's with crown. Used in the town of Bocholt in Germany during the reign of Charles II(x)

taken from Lead Cloth seals at the BM book

another opinion expressed

'this has nothing to do with Bocholt as BB is not the sign of Bocholt, but stands for Bombasine als textile quality
"Bale seal" with A is from Augsburg'

Post medieval lead cloth seal
Early cloth seal V on weave pattern(c)
Post Medieval cloth seal
Possible Queen Anne 1704 lead Alnage seal with portcullis and duty paid symbol
Post medieval lead cloth seal
Stunning 16thC Elizabethian lead cloth seal
Post medieval lead cloth seal
Post medieval lead bale seal
Post medieval lead cloth seal
Post medieval lead cloth seal
17thC Commonwealth lead cloth seal
Post medieval lead cloth seal
Post medieval lead cloth seal
Post medieval lead cloth seal
Complete Post medieval lead cloth seal  

Post medieval lead alange cloth seal

Post medieval lead alange cloth seal

Lead palm guards and eggs for sewing 17th/18thC - Bodkin needles

17thc Bodkin needles