The early history of medieval seals

Before the twelfth century seals were commonly used to secure the privacy of written communication. During the twelfth century, record keeping became a prominent part of the process of government. As people in all social categories were increasingly expected to document their affairs and seals were a standard method of validating records, the number of people who needed seals quickly began to expand. By the beginning of the thirteenth century, the sealed deed was established in English common law as a normal method of recording a property conveyance and therefore even people who owned quite small plots of land might need a seal.