Catalogue description Special Collections: Seals

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Details of SC 13
Reference: SC 13
Title: Special Collections: Seals

Seals, many of them possessing special heraldic or other interest, and detached from the documents to which they were formerly appended. They include some Scottish and German seals.

Much of the series was constituted from miscellanea of the Treasury of the Receipt, but the seals are of very varied origin, with some emanating from diplomatic and Scottish documents, papal bullae, and the records of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Augmentation Office, the courts of Common Law and from the prerogative courts of Star Chamber, Wards, and Requests.

Some of these seals became detached from pieces in E 30.

Date: c1100-1988; many undated

Size was the main determinant in the arrangement. Seals are graded in alphabetical order from 'A' (at one and a half inches) upwards.

In most cases entries in the date column represent either the floreat of the named owner, between which dates she or he might have used the particular seal, or, in the case of official seals of a single ruler or institution, the known or assumed dates within which that particular seal was applied.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Court of Requests, 1483-1642

Court of Star Chamber, 1400-1641

Court of Wards and Liveries, 1541-1660

Duchy of Lancaster, 1399-

Exchequer, Augmentation Office, 1554-1833

Exchequer, Treasury of the Receipt, 1109-1833

Physical description: 9 box(es)
Physical condition: The seals are mostly of wax, but there are also seals of other materials and lead bulla.Some pieces include the skippets within which the seals were formed, or which were added after sealing as protection.
Custodial history: The seals were housed from 1641 in the Treasury of the Exchequer and subsequently, in the Chapter House Record Office. Further seals were added from the Chapel of the Pyx, their custody having passed from the Board of Trade to the Office of Works.
Publication note:

Publications referred to in the list are as follows: Catalogue of Seals in the Public Record Office: Personal Seals, i, ed R H Ellis (London, 1978) Catalogue of Seals in the Public Record Office: Personal Seals, ii, ed R H Ellis (London, 1981) Catalogue of Seals in the Public Record Office: Monastic Seals, i, ed R H Ellis (London, 1986) Scots seals are described inCalendar of Documents relating to Scotland, ed J Bain (Edinburgh, 1881-1888) Other relevant publications are: R C Fowler, 'Seals in the Public Record office', Archaeologia, lxxiv (1925) H Jenkinson: The Great Seal of England: deputed or departmental Archaeologia lxxxv (1935) A Guide to Seals in the Public Record Office, ed H Jenkinson (Public Record Office Handbooks No 1, 2nd edn, ed P M Barnes and L C Hector, 1968) A B and Allan Wyon, The Great Seals of England (London, 1887).

Unpublished finding aids:

The main finding aid to this series is the card catalogue of seals which is arranged alphabetically within several parallel subject or geographical groupings. The cards give the name of the owner the date of the document or use and the colour shape size device ('subject') and legend of each seal sometimes with additional information including condition and with cross references to publications and to the printed Catalogue of Seals in the British Museum if the seal was also to be found there. The catalogue is in the course of being reworked in electronic form. For Key to Scots Seals Nos.1-149 please consult the Standard List set. Both the above are in the public areas. Please speak to staff at the Map and Large Document Room enquiry desk for the precise location. See also Special Collections: Seals (formerly introductory note to SC 13)

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