SUR-36D8C9: Medieval silver seal matrix

Rights Holder: Surrey County Council
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Rights Holder: Surrey County Council
CC License:

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Unique ID: SUR-36D8C9

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

A medieval seal matrix dating to the 13th - 14th century, which appears to be made of solid silver and weighs 9.2g. The object has a die face measuring 21.5mm by 18.8mm and an overall height of 21.5mm.

The handle is conical, without facets and has a pierced quatrefoil terminal. There is a triple collar to the terminal, the central rib being larger than those either side. The handle is slightly bent. The back of the die has an orientation mark in the form of a small cross about 1mm across. There is damage in the form of a linear scratch across the back of the die at approximately 2 o'clock from the orientation mark.

The die itself is oval and centred around a pale blue oval intaglio measuring around 12.5mm on its longest axis. This is likely, on the basis of similar examples, to be Roman in origin and is probably made from banded Agate or Chalcedony. The engraved design on the intaglio comprises a bust of a young male with clearly defined short, straight hair, wearing a cap and facing left. Surrounding the intaglio on the die face is an inscription in Lombardic characters within an engraved beaded border. This inscription comprises a single titled name and reads: S'IOhANNIS.DE.WIkE+.


A John De Wike (or De Wyke) is listed as a Knight of Somersetshire in the published parliament roll for Spring 1305 (Maitland, 2012). A John de Wyke, born 1300, is also recorded as the owner of the manor of Court de Wyck in Claverham, Somerset, dying in 1346 at the Seige of Calais. His son, also called John de Wyke, was born in 1325 and is listed as a member of parliament for Shaftesbury in 1347 (Willis, 1715:479). It is certainly possible that this is a personal seal associated with one of these historical personages or their families, a finding which provides a good 14th century date horizon for this object.

Stylistically, this type of use or re-use of an intaglio, either Roman or contemporary, in personal seals is particularly characteristic of examples known to be from the 13th and early 14th century (Harvey and McGuiness, 1996:15).

This is a relatively unusual class of medieval artefact and its attribution to a named historical personage makes it of considerable local and county interest. Similar examples of silver seal matrices with intaglio on the PAS database which have been submitted as treasure include DOR-952C7E (2016T486) and YORYM-13A179 (2015T472).This object contains a minimum of 10% precious metal and is over 300 years old, consequently it qualifies as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act 1996.

Find of note status

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

Inscription: S'IOhANNIS.DE.WIkE+

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Surrey History Centre, Woking
Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2018T397


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: 21.5 mm
Height: 21.5 mm
Width: 18.8 mm
Weight: 9.2 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Simon Maslin
Identified by: Dr Simon Maslin

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2018T397

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Secondary material: Gem
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Somerset (County)
District: South Somerset (District)
Parish or ward: Bratton Seymour (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: ST6829
Four figure Latitude: 51.05944042
Four figure longitude: -2.45798556
1:25K map: ST6829
1:10K map: ST62NE
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Surrey History Centre, Woking

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SUR
Created: 6 months ago
Updated: 5 months ago

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