LON-92BEEA: A two part sub-rectangular, spade-shaped searchers / alnage seal dating from 1575-1620.

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Unique ID: LON-92BEEA

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

A Post Medieval lead alloy two part sub-rectangular, spade-shaped searchers / alnage seal dating from AD1575-1620. The seal is cast with Roman numerals +ML above +VIIII. The searcher's stamp mark would have been on the reverse but the rivet head markings cannot be made out with certainty and is now hidden by the superglue applied by the finder.

Dimensions: length: 40.97mm; width: 16.21mm, weight: 3.88g.

Similar cloth seals on the database are LIN-52BC58 and WAW-79D3C6

Egan, G. 1995 Lead Cloth Seals and Related Items in the British Museum British Museum Occasional Paper 93, Nos. 117 to 119.


Geoff Egan (B.M.occ.papers 1995 No.117 Fig.26 ) writes "These are a distinct series of proforma seals, cast with standard specifications for different kinds of cloth and with space next to these for an alnager's or searcher's stamp, to confirm that from examination the textile was indeed as the regulations required. The engraving for the Roman numbers is frequently of a very poor standard, and they often come out retrograde. Secondary stamps on seals of this kind include some with a crown over portcullis(at least one from Yorkshire) likely to be from the reign of Elizabeth I, ..... In Addition to London finds, seals of the present series have been recovered in Norfolk and Amsterdam [and now Suffolk!]. The series can be dated to the late sixteenth century and perhaps the first years of the seventeenth century."

Dr. Geoff Egan (Portable Antiquities Scheme Finds Advisor) comments on this seal that it is part of a proforma seal integrally cast with the dimensions as required by law of a particular variety of cloth. 22 is probably length in yards while 18 is probably its weight in pounds (could be the other way round, depending on thickness etc.). There is possibly an E at the end of the legend which could be an 'E' from 'searched', meaning the cloth had been examined. When examining the cloth government officials measured and weighed the cloth and checked it conformed to specifications. 'Searched' was stamped in the blank area below the figures, and then the seal was closed and fixed to the textile so it could be seen on the market stall. Egan goes on to comment that the seal dates from the transitional Medieval to Post Medieval period of the late 16th century to c1620

Class: Alnage
Sub class: Searchers

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1575
Date to: Circa AD 1650

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 40.97 mm
Width: 16.21 mm
Weight: 3.88 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Stuart Wyatt
Identified by: Mr Stuart Wyatt

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead Alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: London (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Greater London Authority (Greater London Authority)
District: City and County of the City of London (London Borough)
Parish or ward: Queenhithe (London Borough Ward)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TQ3280
Four figure Latitude: 51.5035277
Four figure longitude: -0.09955492
1:25K map: TQ3280
1:10K map: TQ38SW
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Open fresh water
Specific landuse: Running water

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LON
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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