IHS-0BB4C1: Seal Matrix: Armorial

Rights Holder: I. Szymanski
CC License:

Rights Holder: I. Szymanski
CC License:

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Unique ID: IHS-0BB4C1

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A copper alloy, circular seal matrix with hexagonal handle topped with pierced pointed suspension loop. Device of a shield couché (at an angle) bearing a coat of arms; on its upper right-hand corner, a helm. On top of the helm is the crest, a (right) hand clutching a palm of victory, which rests in the lettering area of the matrix, the palm fronds pointing to the right. The arms are quarterly a chevron between three birds and a fess between three crescents. A line, broken by the shield and crest, separates the device from the legend; a complete line runs around the outer edge of the matrix face. Measurements: 28.5 mm diameter approx., 29 mm high

Although this matrix is in generally very good condition, some of the fine horizontal strokes of the lettering are no longer clear, meaning that it is not possible to reconstruct the surname. The arms represented here illustrate a marriage; the two different designs visible were originally arms belonging to two different families. At some stage the man bearing the arms with the chevron and birds married a girl whose family used the fess and crescents. This girl was almost certainly a heiress; the fact that she brought her arms into the marriage suggests that she was the last surviving child, and certainly had no brothers. This girl may have been the matrix owner's wife or mother; there is no real way of knowing which. The form of the arms which the girl brought into the marriage is not unique; there are over fifty families recorded who used a fess between three crescents. Two families active during the period of the matrix's manufacture with Northamptonshire connections are the Ogles (argent, a fess between three crescents gules) and the more distinguished Patishalls (argent, a fess sable between three crescents azure). Turning to the other set of arms on the matrix, the chevron between three birds, these are the arms of the male line of the family. Again, they are not unique: there are several hundred families recorded who used a chevron between three birds. The difficulty is increased by the fact that it is not possible to be sure which birds are intended here. Perhaps the closest known name to that on this matrix is John Grenely, recorded in c.1435; unfortunately, not only is it difficult to reconcile Grenely with the letters visible here, but his shield included martlets, which appear to have little in common with the birds on the matrix (see illustration).


The photograph has been taken at the wrong angle, so that the shield is upright when it should be leaning at an angle. The helm should be shown upright.

Inscription: S' Jehan G___nltry (The Seal of John G___nltry)

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Lost in post
Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Date from: AD 1400
Date to: AD 1550

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Diameter: 28.5 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 22nd October 2002

Personal details

Recorded by: Mrs Irene Szymanski
Identified by: Mrs Irene Szymanski

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Originally York Sealmat 184

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Northamptonshire (County)
District: Northampton (District)

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: IHS
Created: 13 years ago
Updated: 5 years ago

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