SF-43A30C: Medieval armorial seal matrix

Rights Holder: Suffolk County Council
CC License:

Image use policy

Our images can be used under a CC BY attribution licence (unless stated otherwise).


Unique ID: SF-43A30C

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

A complete cast copper-alloy 'chessman' or pedestal type armorial and personal seal matrix dating to the Medieval period, c. 1350-1450. The seal matrix is of large size, with a circular body that transitions into a facetted shaft, atop which is a lobed trefoil-shaped handle with an internal aperture which acts as a suspension loop. A stamped six-pointed star is visible on the upper face of the seal as it curves towards its edge, which may represent a maker's mark or possibly a means of orienting the seal correctly by the user. The bezel itself is decorated with a coat of arms (a fretty of six with chief) within an inner pelleted border, while the inscription around is rendered in ornate black-letter script, with plant fronds being utilised as stops. This is extremely hard to read and can be interpreted in several different ways, though Malcolm Jones suggests that SIGILLVM MATHE MEOILEN (seal of Matthew Meoilen) may be an appropriate reading. Preserved in very good condition with an even green patina, it stands 27.36mm high, while the shaft measures c. 5.77mm thick at its midpoint and the body c, 25.48mm in diameter. It weighs 25.43g.

The heraldic arms are impossible to identify without tinctures, as this coat was used by various families during the Medieval period- though it is worth suggesting that they may be purely decorative in nature. Alternatively, the original owner may have been related to or bound in service to the family whose arms are displayed on the seal. Its size and quality of inscription suggest that this individual was of some standing, while the use of black-letter in the inscription indicates that a later 14th to mid 15th century date is likely to be appropriate.

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.


Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1350
Date to: Circa AD 1450

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 27.36 mm
Thickness: 5.77 mm
Weight: 25.43 g
Diameter: 25.48 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 27th February 2017

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Alex Bliss
Identified by: Mr Alex Bliss

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cambridgeshire (County)
District: East Cambridgeshire (District)
To be known as: Isleham

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From finder
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.

Similar objects

Find number: KENT-D819A3
Object type: SEAL MATRIX
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
A highly worn and corroded cast and engraved oval copper-alloy heraldic seal matrix of c.AD 1200-1369, possibly (1290-1307) Description: T…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Find number: SF8968
Object type: SEAL MATRIX
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Copper-alloy seal matrix of unusual appearance. The die is circular, 13.5 mm in diameter, and quite thick. It rises to a hexagonally facett…
Workflow: PublishedFind published

Find number: ESS-9EAF72
Object type: SEAL MATRIX
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
A complete copper alloy 13th century heraldic seal matrix. The die of the seal is circular in plan with a diameter of 20.74mm. Within a borde…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SF
Created: About one year ago
Updated: About one year ago

Other formats: this page is available as qrcode json xml geojson pdf rdf representations.