DUR-A53171: DUR-A53171

Rights Holder: Durham County Council
CC License:

Rights Holder: Durham County Council
CC License:

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Unique ID: DUR-A53171

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

Description: A silver seal matrix, dating to the post-medieval period, c.AD 1700-1800.

The die (face of the seal) is oval in plan and rectangular in cross section. The reverse face of the die rises slightly toward centre, and is decorated with a series of oval shaped petals in relief, that radiate from the central pedestal. To the top of the pedestal is applied a cast perforated handle with a suspension loop terminal. The handle is formed from an inverted scrolling openwork heart-shape, the later split centrally by further scrollwork into three segments. The die face depicts a cut armorial motif featuring a square topped shield. The blazon comprises: ermine, two lions rampant combatant, helmet above with a lamp or torch crest. The matrix is in finely made and in very good condition, the only visible imperfection being a slight downward bend on the upper section of the handle.

Dimensions: Length 30.99mm; die face 17.36mmx13.8mm; weight 8.8g.

Discussion:This type of seal matrix would have acted as a personal seal for the closing of letters or correspondence, and possibly on official documentation. The armorial design described above is consistent with that of the Lucas family of Cornwall. However, there seems to be little connection to the northeast of England, other than document seals (of a completely different design) held within the collections of Durham University Library, relating to a Robert Lucas in the late 17th century. The foliate design of the handle may indicate an early 18th century date for the seal matrix described above. Henry (2018) notes that foliate points and scrolls that appear on WILT-7B29D4 (a similar seal with an armorial die face) constitute decorative elements more usually found on 18th century seal matrices.


Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections, n.d. Catalogue of the medieval seals in the Durham Cathedral Muniments. (Reference code: GB-0033-DCD). url: http://reed.dur.ac.uk/xtf/view?docId=ark/32150_s1vh53wv76d.xml
Henry, R., (2018) A silver post-medieval seal matrix: WILT-7B29D4 url: https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/880262

Author: Benjamin Westwood, Finds Liaison Officer for Durham, Darlington & Teesside

Date: 13/07/2018


Following assessment by relevant specialists in the Portable Antiquities Scheme and at the British Museum, it has been determined that the object cannot be securely dated to pre-1718, and therefore it falls outside the provisions of the Treasure Act 1996.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Subperiod to: Late
Date from: Circa AD 1700
Date to: Circa AD 1800

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 30.99 mm
Weight: 8.8 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Benjamin Westwood
Identified by: Mr Benjamin Westwood

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: North East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Darlington (Unitary Authority)
District: Darlington (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Coniscliffe area

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Operations to a depth greater than 0.25m

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: DUR
Created: 7 months ago
Updated: 4 months ago

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