Religion and piety

The Christian faith formed a central part of life in medieval Britain, so it is not surprising to find Christian symbols and devotional wording occurring on seals.

Seals were used by the clergy to validate transactions involving land and property and for a range of administrative purposes. Monasteries, cathedrals and other institutions within the Church had a corporate identity with legal rights and responsibilities, and as such required a seal to represent them.

Seals also provide fascinating insights into personal piety, since by choosing a seal with a religious design or devotional wording the individual who acquired it was opting to express something about their beliefs rather than their secular identity.