BERK-738912: Post-medieval seal: Bag seal from the Continent

Rights Holder: Oxfordshire County Council
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Unique ID: BERK-738912

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

A large, cast lead-alloy bag seal dating to the Post-Medieval period (AD 1550-1800). The seal is roughly circular (now distorted) and has the remains of a suspension or attachment loop at its apex. The obverse of the seal bears the interwoven letters AH ME W over three lines, with a flower to either side, all within a pellet border. The reverse is worn but appears to depict a crown surmounting a harp, again with a flower to either side.
This form of seal is for traded copper-alloy wire, made in mills on the Continent during the late 16th to 18thth century. They are from the Low Countries up through North Germany to southern Denmark and Sweden. So far this one is not identified but another identical seal is recorded on this database (LVPL-53C7C1). The letters ME is likely the privy mark of what is probably the mill owner; the other letters are likely to refer to the local overlord or the place-name of the mill.

Update 25th January 2018: Another lead seal has been identified and recorded on this database (LEIC-92C067). In this Wendy Scott, FLO for Leicestershire, comments: 'The object is thought to be a makers seal used on metal rods and wire products of the early modern period across Northern Europe. An 18th century shipwreck, the Terschelling, provided evidence of similar tags. (see image from Stuart Elton (2017, p274-5) has stated that this form may be from Nykoping in Sweden.' An image showing how these seals were used is depicted in Wendy's record.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1550
Date to: Circa AD 1800

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Thickness: 6.19 mm
Weight: 48 g
Diameter: 35.17 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 1st January 2011 - Wednesday 18th May 2011

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Anni Byard
Identified by: Miss Anni Byard

Other reference numbers

Other reference: 2011.064

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead Alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)
District: West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Boxford (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SU4475
Four figure Latitude: 51.47226
Four figure longitude: -1.367902
1:25K map: SU4475
1:10K map: SU47NW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: BERK
Created: 8 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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