Economy and exchange

An essential purpose of seal usage was (and is) proof. In medieval law a sealed document brought the highest degree of security to a transaction. Seals were used in the Middle Ages in order to authenticate exchanges. There is however a distinction to be drawn between the use of seals in Wales and in England during the twelfth and the first half of the thirteenth centuries, with seal usage far more common throughout society in England. Following the Edwardian conquest of Wales, the extension of English law and custom brought with it much greater recourse to sealed instruments and documents. Welsh forms of proof, founded on an oral tradition, were maintained alongside this and a melding of different forms of evidence became an established feature of exchange in Wales and in England in the later Middle Ages.