Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

seals-bib - 11/29/02


A bibliography on medieval seals and useful comments on creating modern seals by Master Magnus Malleus, OL.


NOTE: See also the files: seals-msg, sealing-wax-msg, casting-msg, mailng-scrols-msg, wax-tablets-msg, metalworking-msg, ivory-msg, bone-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 16:57:57 -0400

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

To: Metalcasting at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: Seals


> Corwyn and Carowyn <silveroak at juno.com>

> Wax Seal Stamps?


> There are some people in my shire who would

> like to find a person to create some personal wax

> seal stamps.  Is anyone here interested?  Please

> contact me off-list at <Silveroak at juno.com> so we

> can talk.  We're looking at 3 stamps at the very

> least, and I haven't mentioned it to the whole

> shire yet.


> -Caro


> From: Todd <dafydd3r at yahoo.com>

> Subject: Re: Wax Seal Stamps?


> Some simpler period wax seals were done in stone.


Can you cite a reference for this? I have yet to see

a medieval one except perhaps Roman era spoilia reused

in medieval rings. Not to be a smartass, but the subject

interests me. Follows a list of some of my resources:


The Antiquaries Journal reprint, July 1939

(Vol. XIX, No. 3), plate LX, includes

picture of Seal of Simon de Montfort.


There are three Surviving Anglo-Saxon seals, one of which

was done in Ivory. Two of which are in the following book:


Blair, John: Anglo-Saxon Oxfordshire; Sutton Publishing Ltd.

/ Oxfordshire Books, 1994/8, 230pp., 102 illustrations.

Ivory seal of Godwine the minister from Wallingford, gold

wire ring, 11th century seal of an eighth century princess -

Saint Frideswide. ISBN 0750917504 pb, £14.99


Clark, John: Saxon and Norman London; The Museum of London,

1989. John Clark is in the Department of Antiquities (MoL),

48 page colour and black and white paperback, 1989, 1st

printing, ISBN 0112904580 £3.95  The Seal of St. Bartholomewís

Hospital 34.  The Common Seal of the City of London 39 with

St. Paul bearing sword with banner before the City of London

- Says Seal of the Barons of London, On the opposite face to

the figure of St. Paul (see page 39) was that of St. Thomas

Beckett enthroned over the London skyline 44.  Charter of King

John with Seal 9 May 1215 page 43.


Clay, Charles: The Seals of the Religious Houses of Yorkshire;

Oxford, Society of Antiquaries of London, 1928. Reprint from

Archaeologia LXXVIII, pp. 1-36 and Plates I-IX.


Russian Novgorod:  

Artsikhovskii, A.V. & Kolchin, B.A. (eds.):

Trudy Novgorodskoi Arkheologicheskoi Ekspeditsii. Tom I.

(Materialy i Issledovaniia po Arkheologii SSSR. 55.) 248,

(2)pp. Prof. illus. Lrg. 4to. Cloth. Moskva (Izdatelístvo

Akademii Nauk SSSR), 1956.  

Novogorod I 1956 Archaeological Study by Artsikhovsky,

Topography, stratigraphy and chronology by B. A. Kolchin,

Pendant seals 51-4 by V.L. Yannin


Artsikhovskii, A.V. & Kolchin, B.A. (eds.): Trudy Novgorodskoi

Arkheologicheskoi Ekspeditsii. Tom II. (Materialy i

Issledovaniia po Arkheologii SSSR. 65.) Moskva (Izdatel'stvo

Akademii Nauk SSSR), 1959. 362, (2)pp. Prof. illus.

Lrg. 4to. Novgorod 1958 Volume II Iron and Steel by B.A. Kolchin,

Weapons A. F. Medvedev, Leatherwork and Shoemaking by S.A.

Izyumova, Metal articles of dress and adornment by M.V. Sedova,

Seals, Agriculture.


Blair, C. H. Hunter, M.A., F.S.A.: Some Medieval Seal Matrices;

Antiquaries Journal, 4, (3), 1924, pp. 240-8, depicts seven

varied seals and one seal matrice.


The Treatises of Benvenuto Cellini on Goldsmithing

and Sculpture ISBN 0486215687


Cherry, John, M.A: The Dunstable Swan Jewel, reprinted from

the Journal of the Archaeological Association, Third Series,

Vol. XXXXII, 1969, pp38-53 and plates XXIV-XXVI, includes

Illustrations of both sides of jewel, seal of the office of

the Cockett, lead badges, and roundel in bronze.


Cherry, John: A Note on Two Seal Matrices, pp. 320-3, in folder with:

Spencer, Brian: Pilgrim Souvenirs from the Medieval Waterfront

Excavations at Trig Lane, London, 1974-6; in Lond. Mid. Arch. 33,

1982, pp. 304-20.


Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities: New Acquisitions

No. 1 (1976-78) Part II Post Medieval, British Museum

Occaisional Paper No. 10, 1980. Includes a history of post

medieval seal matrices and what happened to them

and concentrates on the Seal Matrices of Queen Victoria.


Arthur Fox-Davies books on heraldry are full of Seals,

as are a number of other heraldry books.


Gravett, Christopher: Bosworth 1485 - Last Charge of the

Plantagenets; Osprey Military Campaign Series 66;

ISBN 1855328631, PB, 96 pages, 1999. Battle scene plates by

Graham Turner. Depicts:  Seal of Richard III as Admiral of the

fleet - English Royal castellated fighting ship with royal arms

on sail - p. 6-7. Lead Boar Hat Badge of Richard III found in

the moat of Middleham Castle, Yorkshire page 12. Collars of

Maintenance. A late 15th C. gold seal ring with a bezel bearing

the emblem of an enameled Boar, believed dropped by a supporter of

Richard III and supposedly found on the battle site at Bosworth

(belongs to Duke of Devonshire) p. 77, quite fancy.


A Guide to the Seals in the Public Record Office by the P.R.O.


Harvey, P.D.A and Andrew McGuinness: A Guide to British Medieval

Seals; A well-written and lucid introduction to the development,

design and use of all types of medieval seals. 133p, 109 illus

(British Library & Public Record Office 1996) Hb £29.00 oxbow 1998.


Hinton, John: Medieval Jewellery From the Eleventh to the

Fifteenth Century; Shire Archaeology 21, 1982 1st UK ed.,

Princes Risborough, UK, With B&W illus. 1982 first edition,

48pp., ISBN 0852635761, List of plates, introduction, materials,

types of jewels, Jewellery and History; Note; Museums to visit;

further reading, Plates, index.

Two gold finger rings engraved for use as seals;

Bronze signet ring from Christchurch Priory.


Jenkinson, Hilary: Some Notes on the Preservation, Moulding and

Casting of Seals; Antiq. Journal 4, 1924, pp.388-403.


Jones, Michael: The Seals of  John IV, Duke of Brittainy,

1364-1399; Antiquaries Journal 55, 1975, pp366-81.


Kingsford, H: Seal Matrices with Screw-out Centres;

Antiq. Journal 4, 1924  pp249-56.


McGregor, Arthur: Bone, Antler, Ivory, & Horn;  

Long out of print mid 80's ISBN 0389205311


Mills, Nigel: Medieval Artefacts; 1999, ISBN 1897738277.

Buckles; strapends and belt mounts; seal matrices; thimbles;

pilgrim badges; finger rings; brooch buckles; harness pendants;

locks, keys and weights; spoons, knives and pottery; arrowheads,

spurs and edged weapons; purses, pins, buttons, pendants,

mirrors, and whistles; ecclestiastical objects; select



Knights Hospitaller (1) 1100-1306; by David Nicolle, Phd.;

Illustrated by Christa Hook; Osprey Warrior Series 33;

ISBN 1841762148; PB, 64 pages including 10 plates. Bibliography

and Glossary one page each.

Depicts: Various citadels and fortified abbeys; sculpture of

warriors on different capitals; 12th C. Great Seal of the

Hospitaller Convent p. 17 f&B;     Seals of Father Roger de Moulins

(F&B), Front and Back of the Great Seal of the    Master, Father

Nicholas Lorgne, dating from around 1282, Wax Seal of the Master,

Father Hugues Revel , dating from around 1268.


Royal Armouries Yearbook 6; 2001, £17.50 before shipping.

Pyrotechnic Devices from Coburg Castle; by Alfred Geibig,

pp. 88-97. 89-1 Limepot (Sturmtopf) from Coburg Castle

with the original seal, surrounded by caltrops smeared

with remnants of quicklime from another pot.


Saunders, Peter and Eleanor: Salisbury and South Wiltshire

Museum Medieval Catalogue Part I, published by the

Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, The King's House,

65 The Close, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 2EN, England,

ISBN 0947535136. Contains an article on Seal Matrices by

John Cherry pp. 29-39 with a half page bibliograhy.


Tait, Hugh: Jewelry: 7000 Years; ISBN 0810981033


Ward Perkins, J B.: London Museum Medieval Catalogue 1940.

Anglia Publishing, 1993. Catalogue of the wide-ranging

collection: weapons, tools, horse furniture, pendants, keys,

purses, weights, lighting, household utensils, plate, pottery,

tiles, pilgrim souvenirs, buckles, chapes, figures, wood,

bone, ivory, glass, pipeclay, whetstones, seals. 322pp,

illustrated boards, profusely illustrated with photos and

drawings. New. Book #16 £24.50 (approx. $38.89)

Anglia Publishing , Unit T, Dodnash Priory Farm Hazel

Shrub, Bentley, Ipswich, United Kingdom , IP9 2DF  

Phone 01473 311138 / Fax 01473 312288,  

anglia at anglianet.co.uk  ('99)


Welch, Martin: Anglo-Saxon England; English Heritage

PB Edition, Batsford, 1992-2000, ISBN 0713465662. 144pp.,

91 illustrations, appendices, 2 1/2 page bibliography.

contains a replica of Childericís signet seal ring, 7th C..


Cylinder seals of stone and baked clay were used in ancient

times. I have at least one book on that. Those are very

very old.


European Merchant tags were used on bags of shipped materials

in period o=o folded over and stamped.


> I believe that in the Orient there were stone stamps as well.


Called Chops. In cast metal also. One of the things the Japanese

brought up from the bottom of the (Hakone?) bay where the Mongols

attempted an unsuccessful invasion (mostly due to weather) is

a large bronze probably general's seal. Also it was custom for

oriental merchants to affix their steel stamp mark to silver

passing through their shops.  I have a spanish piece of eight

that looks like a bowl and is over twice normal size due to

the eighty or more chopmarks on it.


> You may want to consider a group project in soapstone and let

> people carve their own..

> Mistakes are easily fixed with a piece of sandpaper... :o)


Be aware that most soapstone except Montana white contains

asbestos and that talc is also a known carcinogen.

Talc (with asbestos) is the main ingredient of soapstone.

I suggest a down draft fan, a bathroom fan with attendant hose,

placed on the table behind your carving work, hooked up to a

hole in a panel placed in your window. $20 is cheaper and

easier than dying slowly of cancer and emphysema. My mother

took a year and a half. Could barely whisper the last six

months. My surrogate father also had emphysema but the intestinal

cancer got him first. Still wasn't pretty. You can also get

stomach cancer or intestinal cancer, or even skin problems

caused by asbetos fibers. You can also pass it to members of

your family by way of washing clothes together. National Geographic

had a picture of a man, a ship fitter, members of whose family had

caught it this way a decade or so ago.

> Pieces can also be carved to look like chess pieces or other

> decorations so that they can sit out on tabletop. Only the bottom

> needs to be carved for impressing the wax - and since the carving

> would most likely be a negative, it'd stand out quite well in the

> wax.


It's an easily workable Idea though.

So is Bone, which you can obtain sanitised at a good pet food store.


Carving impressions could be checked by Silly Putty or Kleen Clay

as you progress. At least small ones could be checked this way.

I still carve a bit of bone when the wife allows me near it.

The results in my muscles wear both of us out. Ann has to do

a lot of heavy acupressure with her elbows on me as a result.

> The key is using good stampable wax, not a parafin base.


> Dafydd


Years ago, before I became disabled with a muscle/nervous system

disability I prepared a polished cast iron blank for the Atlantian

Seal to be engraved on. I'd been engraving for years at the time.

Unfortunately I didn't get the cooperation promised by the

Atlantian Kingdom Herald at the time. In fact I got none at all

despite repeated requests.


So, curiously, after I was made a Laurel, Duke Badouin asked what

had happened to that project. Well, the above happpened.


As what had disabled me by my Laurelling was Fibromyalgia, and since

has progressed to chronic myofascial pain it's not likely to get

done now. Atlantia has a very complicated set of devices.

(It turned out to be like one of those things you know you should

have bought when you saw it the first time. Gone now.)


If I do it in the future it will have to be done in very carefully

modeled wax to be cast as opposed to engraved. That equipment's

needed area and venting is presently awaiting a lot of remodelling

to be able to use. But since the wife's position of 33 years just

got reduced in force by the state we may be a bit closer to getting

to it. After a couple hundred feet of badly needed bookcases.


Master Magnus Malleus, OL, GDH, Atlantia © 2002 R.M. Howe

*No reposting my writings to newsgroups, especially rec.org.sca, or

the SCA-Universitas elist. I view this as violating copyright

restrictions. As long as it's to reenactor or SCA -closed- subscriber

based email lists or individuals I don't mind. It's meant to

help people without aggravating me.* Inclusion, in the

http://www.Florilegium.org/ as always is permitted.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org