SWYOR-48F8B2: Medieval seal matrix

Rights Holder: West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service
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Unique ID: SWYOR-48F8B2

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A copper alloy circular seal matrix dating from the 13th or 14th century and depicting a mermaid with long bent-up tail, holding her tail in one hand and a fish (with head uppermost) in the other. The reverse of the matrix is not decorated but has a central thicker rib with a lug at one end (corresponding with the top of the matrix design) which is pierced by a circular suspension hole.

The legend is: +S•IEHANS ABLIN POISONNIER meaning 'The seal of Jehans Ablin, Fishmonger' in French and Latin. The personal name Jehans is a little unusual, Johans (John) being more typical. It is not clear whether this is a die cutter's error (substituting E for O) or if this is a different name. The personal name could also be split Jehan Sablin. Ablin is a rare English surname, with 20 occurrences on the 1881 census, most (15) in Essex. Sablin is a Russian surname.

The design of a mermaid is unusual and this is the first seal matrix of this design recorded on the PAS database. However, designs that reflect the name or the profession of the owner are not unusual. Other mermaids on the database include a seal matrix that includes a mermaid above a possible merchant's mark: LEIC-674A50; a harness pendant of similar date to the seal matrix: SWYOR-F1C1C8; and a later use of a mermaid in a coat of arms: DUR-84F652.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: County / local importance


Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1200
Date to: Circa AD 1400

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 27.9 mm
Width: 27.09 mm
Thickness: 9.88 mm
Weight: 14.78 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 1st March 2012 - Wednesday 7th March 2012

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Amy Downes
Identified by: Ms Amy Downes

Other reference numbers

Other reference: PAS form number 1822

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: North Yorkshire (County)
District: Selby (District)
Parish or ward: Kellington (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SE5524
Four figure Latitude: 53.709534
Four figure longitude: -1.168223
1:25K map: SE5524
1:10K map: SE52SE
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SWYOR
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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