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Seal Matrix and Intaglio

Seal Types


Seals survive both as matrices and as impressions, though impressions are more common. A matrix may be of various kinds. Seals of royalty, great aristocrats and important institutions usually used a circular matrix. Sometimes there were two matrices, a seal and a counterseal, so that the wax impression which resulted would be two sided, with a different design on each side. Circular seals are known as coin seals because they resemble a coin. Coin seals vary considerably in size, but royal seals were often large. Richard III’s great seal, for example, was 900mm in diameter. The seal of a middle-ranking aristocrat would be smaller; perhaps around 350mm in diameter. Fifteenth-century great royal seals normally showed the king galloping on horseback, with drawn sword and a shield bearing the royal arms. In the early middle ages great aristocrats had used similar designs, but by the fifteenth century most of them avoided what had by then come to be seen as a royal pattern. (Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the seal of ‘Warwick the Kingmaker’ is an exception.) Instead most noblemen used seals which depicted their arms, often with the shield couché (inclined at a 45 degree angle) beneath a large helm.

Prior to the fifteenth century pointed oval designs, called vesica seals, were popular with noble women and also with high ranking ecclesiastics. The shape allowed room either to depict a full length standing figure of the owner, or alternatively to show scenes at two levels. Monastic seals often used the latter device, with a main, upper register depicting the monastery’s patron saint, and a small lower register in which the prior or abbot was shown praying. By the fifteenth century, vesica seals were somewhat out of fashion, but they still occur on documents, because monasteries in particular tended to continue using seal matrices made years — or sometimes centuries — earlier.

By the fifteenth century, use of seals was widespread. One nobleman is said to have remarked acidly that in earlier times it had not been the custom for every Tom, Dick and Harry to use a seal. Most seals were quite small, and the most common forms of matrix were the pyramid seal (a small, usually circular design with a stem on the back, by which it could be held) and the signet, which could be of any shape (but was often circular or oval) and comprised the bezel of a ring.

Seal impressions are usually of wax, though royal and papal seals were sometimes impressed in metal such as lead, or even gold. Such metal impressions were called bullæ. (This word is the origin of the expression ‘papal bull’, referring to a sealed letter from the pope.) Seal impressions were not directly attached to their documents, but hung from them on small strips of parchment or (for persons of high rank) silk threads.

ESS-A3AA61 Seal Matrix

TREASURE CASE: 2008 T233 Medieval silver seal matrix with roman intaglio. Weight 5.92 British Museum Report: A Medieval seal matrix, which is oval in shape and set at its centre with a orange-red carnelian, representing an ant climbing on a piece of vegetation. The legend reads: + S I G I L : S E C R E T I (Latin for “Secret Seal”) On the reverse is the suspension loop, which terminates in a trefoil. The intaglio is classical and probably dates to the 1st to 3rd centuries. The motif is quite unusual, although ants and other insects are sometimes represented on Classical gems. There are similarities between the body of the insect and Henig 712, and a possible dragonfly represented on Henig 713 (not illustrated). Henig 711 shows an ant of similar type but from above rather than in profile. (Henig, M. 1978. A corpus of Roman engraved gemstones from British Sites. BAR British Series 8). Dimensions: length 22 mm, width 18 mm. The seal matrix is silver and dates from the thirteenth century; as such it qualifies as Treasure under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996. J P Robinson Curator of Medieval Collections 18th August 2008

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Acquired by Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service

Chronology

Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Date from: AD 1200
Date to: AD 1300

Dimensions and weight

Length: 22 mm
Width: 18 mm
Weight: 5.92 g
Quantity: 1

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver

Secondary material: Gem

Manufacture method: Multiple

Completeness: Complete

 

Stunning c13thC medieval silver seal matrix - Crossed hands and flowers - reported as treasure to museum

Lombardic lettering - Edward type E's and barred A's.

Appears to be be

"Esto Fidelis", which means 'be faithful'

 

Stunning Circa 13thC 'bust of christ' medieval seal matrix - working on inscription

MARTT NUE :PEVOSM

 

Medieval seal matrix - ESS-26B3A7

Dates
Help MEDIEVAL (Certain), 1200 AD - 1400 AD

Object Type: Seal Matrix
Help Medieval (1200-1400) cast copper alloy circular seal matrix with faceted handle on reverse. The handle has six facets and a raised moulded collar before terminating in a pentagonal suspension loop. The matrix has a forward facing halo'd Christ with a cross in the halo. The surrounding legend possibly reads: MARTIN LE (or DE) (P)REVOST probably meaning Martin the provost of a religious house.

It has a dark green-brown patina. It is 23.70mm long, 18.57mm in diameter and weighs 9.93 grams.
Help Inscription: MARTIN LE (or DE) (P)REVOST

 

ESS-0F1F33 Seal Matrix

13th C bronze Vessica seal matrix - 31.48mm H x 18.48mm wide - 8.45g

Script - NOLONIM ESDARI : U

Medieval (13th to 14th Century) cast copper alloy vessical seal matrix. The reverse has a central ridge along its length, with an integral loop at its apex. The matrix depicts a central standing figure, with hands clasped in front. The surrounding legend reads + NO HONI MESDONRI:' The matrix has a dark green patina. It is 31.75mm long, 18.22mm wide, 5.1mm thick and weighs 8.32 grams.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Finder applying for an export licence

Chronology

Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL

Period to: MEDIEVAL

Date from: Circa AD 1200
Date to: Circa AD 1400

Dimensions and weight

Length: 31.75 mm
Width: 18.22 mm
Thickness: 5.1 mm
Weight: 8.32 g
Quantity: 1

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy

Manufacture method: Cast

Completeness: Complete

Stunning 16thC seal matric - R H

2- 15thC seal matrix - Jewish symbol & capital 'R' - Initial capital 'I'

Anonymous: letter I early 15thC. An initial with crown above, branches at the side, was a design that became incrreasingly common in the 15thC and was often used on a signet ring as below. The letter suggests it stood for the owners forename. This example was used in 1424 by Edward Saddler, clerk

Seal ring of Edward Saddler

Another 15thC seal matrix used by Edward Saddler - Medieval seal ring, 24.84mm dia

 

 

This early 13thC Medieval seal matrix is a superb example and is very unusual having a seal matrix on both ends. One end has a shield with lombardic script around the outside and the other has 2 letters
13th/14thC seal matrix - impression looks like a frog or toad (c)
(c)
13thC Medieval Seal (Vessica shape) Very unusual design with symbol on rear
 
12thC seal matrix. The clay impression clearly shows a falcon attacking a bird lying on it's back
1260 AD Non Heraldic personal seal
 
13thC seal matrix, lamb with legs tucked underneath
16thC Copper alloy Seal matrix 'RV'
Georgian fob seal with head facing right impression

 

 
Georgian Fob seal found by Wis Neil
Georgian silvered fob seal matrix - mans head facing right, obv intials script 'LK'
 
Stunning condition 13th to 15thC seal matrix
13th to 15thC seal matrix - 2 people facing with heart in the middle
Georgian fob seal matrix with man looking left
 
Georgian fob seal matrix with woman looking right
Georgian fob seal matrix with man looking right
 
Fob seal matrix - plain
18thC fob seal with head and anchor, probably belonged to a ships captain.
 
18th Fob seal matrix with woman facing right
 
Fantastic intaglio - double faced as you change the light - man and woman found by Boston Bud
 
Georgian fob seal
Unusual bronze seal with full legend around the rim. Generally these are Georgian in date but further cleaning of the inscription should help with a better ID
 
18thC Bronze face with the initials MW on the reverse - Seal matrix

1260 AD Non Heraldic personal seal of freeholders of Charwelton Nothhamptonshire. 4 have been found attached to pasture rights. The design is typical of mid 13thC non heraldic seals like the one published on the 23rd Jan post, a fleur -de- lis, a flower, the lamb of god and each names it's owner on the legend

 

Medieval (13th century) lead alloy seal matrix. It is circular in plan, with a small triangular suspension loop on the reverse. The central design is a flower with six petals. The legend is illegible. It is 27.52mm in diameter and weighs 11.26 grams.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Finder applying for an export licence

Chronology

Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL

Date from: AD 1200
Date to: AD 1400

Dimensions and weight

Weight: 11.56 g
Diameter: 27.52 mm
Quantity: 1

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead

Manufacture method: Cast

Stunning 16th/17th Seal matrix with Bell impression - Georgian fob seal with red stone - Very unusual seal matrix , 2 stag heads with Fleur De Lis on heraldic shield. The cartwheel back is not one I have seen before so I will be researching it.

c 13thC Medieval seal matrix

Georgian seal matrix - unusual design probably had a wooden handle attached
16thC seal matrix with flower design - very unusual type
1st to 4thC Roman bronze seal ring
Georgian fob seal intaglio
Heraldic lead mount - need researching
 
Georgian fob seal
Georgian fob seal
Mid 17thC Heart and flame intaglio seal
 
Post medieval seal matrix, shows the word 'god speed' and what appears to be a plough underneath, neat relic.
 
Medieval seal matrix
17th/18thC seal matrix with lion and crown (r)

17thC Charles II fob seal - 'Carolius'

 

Large Georgian desk seal matrix

Medieval bronze seal ring - bearded figure sitting - 2.70g, 18.86 mm dia x 9.62 mm W

17thC seal matrix
 
Medieval seal matrix 20.22m dia , 9.34g

 

Circa 1260 AD lead personal seal , 4 have been found attached to pasture rights. The design is typical of mid 13thC non heraldic seals

 

 
Georgian fob seal with mans head facing right

 

ESS-49C036 Seal Matrix

 

Treasure 2008 T579 : Post Medieval silver seal matrix. It is 25.12mm long, measuring 13.76mm by 11.36mm wide. Weight 4.93 grams. British Museum Report: Silver seal-die, fluted handle with baluster knop and suspension loop, the die engraved very lightly and crudely with a double-headed eagle displayed, no edging. Probably 17th Century. There is an amateurish look to this seal die, which is also heavily worn. As such, due to its age and precious metal content, this object qualifies as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act 1996. Dr Dora Thornton, Curator of Renaissance Collections The British Museum

Chronology

Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL

Date from: AD 1600
Date to: AD 1700

Dimensions and weight

Length: 25.12 mm
Width: 13.76 mm
Thickness: 11.36 mm
Weight: 4.93 g
Quantity: 1

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver

Manufacture method: Cast

Completeness: Complete

18thC Fob seal
Late 16thC seal matrix with Fleur de Lis impression
Early Medieval seal matrix - bell type
 
16th/17thC seal matrix - DW
Really nice 17thC seal matrix - fish jumping out of water impression
 

13thC Medieval bronze seal matrix - sacrifical lamb impression

Legend CVNVL*CEL *

ESS-26D793 Seal Matrix

Incomplete Medieval cast copper alloy seal matrix. The matrix is circular with a broken faceted handle on the reverse. The design is of a lamb with flag. The surrounding legend reads *--SVNVLEGEL, which could be read as [....]SV NV LE GEL, or the ending could be LEGE L, as Lege (read) is often a componant of inscriptions. The central design of a lamb with flag is often accompanied by the inscription ECCE AGNUS DEI, although that is not the case with that example. It is 17.19mm in diameter, 8.77mm thick and weighs 4.61 grams.

Notes:

With thanks to Laura Burnett and David Williams for their interpretation of the legend.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Finder applying for an export licence

Chronology

Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL

Date from: AD 1200
Date to: AD 1400

Dimensions and weight

Thickness: 8.77 mm
Weight: 4.61 g
Diameter: 17.19 mm
Quantity: 1

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy

Manufacture method: Cast

Completeness: Incomplete

 

 

 

 

 

 
1260 AD Non Heraldic personal seal of freeholders, 4 have been found attached to pasture rights. The design is typical of mid 13thC non heraldic seals and part legend reads : AVDERTI:D
17thC seal matrix
 
 
Medieval seal ring

Edward Saddler

Georgian fob seal -hogs head impression
 
Stunning 17thC seal matrix - reported to museum as treasure
   
   

 
Medieval bronze vessica seal matrix - crow impression facing left
 
 
Medieval seal matrix - appears to be an impression of a squirrel facing right
 
 

Medieval seal matrix

Anonymous: letter I early 15thC. An initial with crown above, branches at the side, was a design that became increasingly common in the 15thC and was often used on a signet ring as below. The letter suggests it stood for the owners forename. This example was used in 1424 by Edward Saddler, clerk

 
15thC traders seal matrix - IR inscription

Fantastic circa 13thC Medieval seal matrix with heraldic shield impression - this seal is first I have seen with additional decoration on the 'bell' top

It will be interesting if we can find the family crest and who it belonged to

Ok, here is my best guess.

I believe the seal to be a second son or brother of Richard de Pevensey.

Clearly there is a Chevron, which looks fretty to me, between 3 crosses, which looks, especially if you look at the bottom one closely, to be moline. (another source lists his crosses as recercelee or patonce or flory). The crosses seem to work.

Here is a link to the seal of Tho. Berkeley, which shows a Chevron which is not fretty.
http://www.earlyblazon.com/briantimm...rkeleythom.htm

The problem is that this shield has "overall a bend (or bendlet) (color?). ( To accurately describe this shield for a novice like myself, I would need to know colors everything were.) The BEND, or that diagonal line confused me for a second at first until I realized that since it is an impression, the bend does go in the proper direction when stamped. The bend is NOT on Richard de Pevensey's shield, but I could attribute that to just a one step add on for a close relative (brother or second son).


Richard de Pevensey (aka Pevense, Peves, Pevenkskey) was the Sheriff of Sussex from at least 1285-1287. (one source said he was the 13th and 15th sheriff of Sussex, and another said he was 14th and 15th Sheriff of Sussex. Richard was also the Steward to Queen Eleanor (while she was imprisoned??)., and it looks as though he held other important positions. Some of the things I read spoke about miscarriages of justice he may have committed.

He was born around 1229 and was skulking around until at least 1305, although I suspect he was around a bit longer. He was the third husband to Isabel Montachute (Montague), married in 1278 and she died in 1285. I can't find any information about them having any children together, or any information about any past or future marriages he may have had, which makes my "Second Son" theory for him pretty weak. He could easily have had children when he was younger though.

Anyway, that is my best GUESS. The others I saw that were close were not as close as this Richard.

Herald's Roll part 6

"254 Richard de Pevenese
Azure a chevron or fretty gules between three crosses moline argent "

Dering Roll part 3

"111 Ricard de Pevenese
Azure a chevron or fretty gules between three crosses moline argent
Richard de Pevensey, who also appears in The Heralds' Roll, HE254"

Cal Jim

 

Cleaned up medieval seal matrix, the impression appears to be two birds mating ?

Legend *CREDE MICHI II

16thC seal matrix with bird impression
   
Really neat Georgian glass fob seal - mans bust impression
   

ESS-0C2DF2 Seal Matrix

Medieval, circular, lead seal matrix. The matrix has a central 6 petalled flower design, surrounded by the legend +SIGIL.RICARDI.FILL.RAVVLI 'The seal of Richard, son of Ravvli'. The reverse has an integrally cast suspension loop, and a central raised six petalled flower, surrounded by curved lines. It is 32.75mm in diameter, 4.39mm thick excluding the suspesion loop and weighs 24.56g.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Finder applying for an export licence

Chronology

Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL

Period to: MEDIEVAL

Date from: Circa AD 1300
Date to: Circa AD 1500

Dimensions and weight

Thickness: 4.39 mm
Weight: 24.56 g
Diameter: 32.75 mm
Quantity: 1

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead

Manufacture method: Cast

Completeness: Complete

 

PAS-8E6B26 Seal matrix

 

 

17th century silver mount or seal die Circumstances of discovery: Whilst searching with a metal detector Description: (Please note this description is based on an image and not first hand experience of the object.) This silver mount is octagonal in plan and flat in section. It is decorated to the front face with the negative design of a heart with a crown above, bisected by two crossing arrows with feathered flights, within a border of pellets. The reverse of the mount is plain. There is a raised circular collar to the centre of the reverse. The negative design and collar may suggest that the object was once mounted on a shaft and used as a seal. The design is similar (though not identical) to that found on a number of post-medieval buttons or cufflinks previously reported as treasure (e.g. Treasure Annual Report 2001, page 81). The design may have commemorated the marriage of Charles II with Catharine of Braganza in 1662. Dimensions: Length: 14.85mm, width: 14.1mm, Weight: 2.19g. The object contains a minimum of 10% silver and is over 300 years old. Consequently it qualifies as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act 1996 in terms of both age and precious metal content.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2005 T491

Chronology

Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL

Period to: POST MEDIEVAL

Date from: AD 1600
Date to: AD 1699

Dimensions and weight

Length: 14.85 mm
Width: 14.1 mm
Weight: 2.19 g
Quantity: 1

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver

Completeness: Incomplete

 

 

Incomplete Post Medieval cast copper alloy seal matrix. Originally this would have been a quadruple seal-matrix; four ovals joined by arms at a lozengeform junction with openwork circle. Only the commecting junction and one oval survives. The matrix is worn, with only a slight depression now visible. It is 28.72mm long, with the matrix measuring 13.93mm by 13.43mm. It weighs 6.43 grams. For a similar example see Reed (1988) History beneath our feet, page 117 figure 5.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Finder applying for an export licence

Chronology

Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL

Date from: AD 1600
Date to: AD 1750

Dimensions and weight

Length: 28.72 mm
Width: 13.93 mm
Quantity: 1

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy

Manufacture method: Cast

Completeness: Incomplete

Post medieval seal matrix - sunburst impression

13thc Vessica seal matrix - Sacificial lamb of god - ECCEAG NVS DEI

17thC seal

Basically the seal has two Arabic words “khulqahu – subhanahu” which are attributes of God meaning something like “Allah, to whom be ascribed all perfection and majesty, as confirmed through His creation”

 

If I had to translate it using fewer words, I would say “Glory – His Creation”

c13thC Medieval seal matrix - sacrificial lamb type

C13thC Medieval vessica seal matrix - appears to be a prancing Lion - soaking it in distilled water to clean up impression

 

 
   
Georgian intaglio
17thC silver seal matric reported as treasure to museum

14thC Medieval heraldic seal matrix - plain shield with single fesse

Tamas de Kent ?

Georgian intaglio fob seal - rider on horse

Mint 13thC vessica seal matrix

Lamb and tree of life

S' ROGER' ( seal of Roger)

ALEE ODOC

Prior to the fifteenth century pointed oval designs, called vesica seals, were popular with noble women and also with high ranking ecclesiastics. The shape allowed room either to depict a full length standing figure of the owner, or alternatively to show scenes at two levels. Monastic seals often used the latter device, with a main, upper register depicting the monastery’s patron saint, and a small lower register in which the prior or abbot was shown praying. By the fifteenth century, vesica seals were somewhat out of fashion, but they still occur on documents, because monasteries in particular tended to continue using seal matrices made years - or sometimes centuries - earlier.

Georgian fob seal
13thC Vessica seal matrix
Medieval seal matrix - Cockerel impression
17thc seal matrix - thistle inscription

Human face on a rat's body impression?

13thC Medieval seal matrix

13th C Medieval seal matrix - need soaking to remove crust on seal face Medieval traders seal ring (IS)
1260 AD Non Heraldic personal seal. The design is typical of mid 13thC non heraldic seals 16thC Tudor seal spoon handle - AE
Georgian Naval fob seal - Man standing leaning left resting on anchor Neat Georgian seal matrix

Georgian intaglio fob seal

Stunning ecclesiastical 17thC silver seal matrix - reported as treasure to museum circa 13thC seal matrix
Georgian fob seal

Georgian fob seal - VITE VITE

Means Quickly quickly - Letter delivery stamp ?

13thC seal matrix

Anonymous: letter R An initial with crown above, branches at the side, was a design that became incrreasingly common in the 15thC and was often used on a signet ring. The letter suggests it stood for the owners forename. Examples were used in 1424 by Edward Saddler, clerk.

First 13thC pasture seal type seal matrix I have seen with this type of suspension loop

13th C bronze Vessica seal matrix - needs a soak and pick to clean legend and impression

Now partially cleaned up shows a sacrificial lamb type impression

Medieval seal matrix

Circa 1260 AD lead personal seal , 4 have been found attached to pasture rights. The design is typical of mid 13thC non heraldic seal

 
 

Simply stunning cleaned up 13thC vessiaca seal matrix with wax impression taken - Madonna and child

+ AVE TIR TAG R

ACIA PLENA (full of (gr)ace)

 

13thC lead vessica seal matrix 13thC lead vessica seal matrix
The tiniest Georgian fob seal I have ever seen - you see the scale by the tweezers holding the seal - amazing skill to cut a detailed bust impression that small

Neat georgian fob seal matrix

17thC Charles II circa 1670 silver seal matrix - reported to Colchester museum as treasure

Circa 1260 AD lead personal seal , 4 have been found attached to pasture rights. The design is typical of mid 13thC non heraldic seals

First lead circa 13thC medieval bell shaped seal matrix I have seen
Unusually small medieval bell shaped seal matrix - needs cleaning to see impression Georgian fob seal

Stunning 13thC seal matrix

Triple dot makers mark

+ I'IR DIG ' ZTOEC H ' II 'R'

13thC medieval seal matrix - letter W indicates traders initial Georgian double sided seal matrix
Georgian intaglio brooch seal Georgian seal matrix
17thC silver seal matrix - clasped hands and heart - reported a streasure to museum

First shield shaped 12thC seal matrix I have seen found here - got to clean it up and do a wax impression yet

A copper alloy matrix with shield-shaped face and six-sided handle terminating in a rhomboid suspension loop with circular perforation. Device of a heraldic lion rampant

This shield-shaped matrix bears a heraldic lion rampant; does not imply that the owner used such a lion as his arms or, indeed, that he bore arms at all; many such matrices carry heraldic creatures.

Date from: AD 1200
Date to: AD 1400

13thC vessica seal matrix

Interesting impression of an open hand with two stars above reaching for a closed fist

Legend - EDEVM * TIMET

13thC Medieval traders seal ring - T 13thC Medieval traders seal ring - B
13thC Medieval traders seal ring - T Georgian double sided fob seal - Jewish profile head, Lion on reverse