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Medieval Seal Matrix and Intaglio

Seal Types

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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
  MEDIEVAL (Certain), 1200 AD - 1400 AD

Object Type: Seal Matrix
  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.
  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.

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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

2- 15thC seal matrix - Jewish symbol

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

More medieval seal matrix used by Edward Saddler

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

 

 

Medieval traders seal rings

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)
12thC seal matrix. The clay impression clearly shows a falcon attacking a bird lying on it's back
13thC seal matrix, lamb with legs tucked underneath
Stunning condition 13th to 15thC seal matrix
13th to 15thC seal matrix - 2 people facing with heart in the middle

 

Lead 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

 

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.

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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

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

Stunningly crisp 13thC lead vessica seal matrix

S'ALICIE ALDWINE

Seal of Alicie Aldwine

13thC lead vessica seal matrix
First lead circa 13thC medieval bell shaped seal matrix I have seen Circa 1260 AD lead personal seal , 4 have been found attached to pasture rights. The design is typical of mid 13thC non heraldic seal
Circa 1260 AD lead personal seal , 4 have been found attached to pasture rights. The design is typical of mid 13thC non heraldic seals Circa 1260 AD lead personal sea
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 13thC lead seal matrix - ROGER
13thC lead seal matrix 13thC lead seal matrix
 
13thC lead seal matrix  
Medieval seal matrix
c 13thC Medieval seal matrix
Medieval seal matrix 20.22m dia , 9.34g
Early Medieval seal matrix - bell type

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

   

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

Tamas de Kent ?

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.

13th C Medieval seal matrix - need soaking to remove crust on seal face
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

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.

 
 

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

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)

 

Unusually small medieval bell shaped seal matrix - needs cleaning to see impression circa 13thC seal matrix

Stunning 13thC seal matrix

Triple dot makers mark

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

13thC medieval seal matrix - letter W indicates traders initial

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

 

 

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