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Medieval Seals

Popes, Archbishops and Bishops.

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Pope Martin IV, obverse and reverse, G&B 3680a. This design of the reverse, showing SS Peter and Paul, with the latter not bald, was introduced c.1100. 4.2.Pap.4 *


Walter Gray archbishop of York (1216-55), face and secret, G&B 3222. 2.1.Archiep.20*


Richard Marsh bishop of Durham (1217-26), face and secret, G&B 3118. 2.2.Pont.2a *

Hugh of Northwold bishop of Ely (1229-54), face and secret, detached and re-attached, G&B 3188. MC 1512 *

Albin bishop of Brechin (1246-69), G&B 3599. This exemplifies the design widely used by Scottish bishops for about a hundred years, from at least 1199 onwards (G&B 3618): the bishop is shown in profile rather than full-face. MC 799

Oliver Sutton bishop of Lincoln (1280-99), counterseal, G&B 3195. MC 4870 *

Antony Bek bishop of Durham as patriarch of Jerusalem (1306-11), G&B 3126. The central panel, depicting the angel announcing the Resurrection to the women visiting the empty tomb, is flanked by the figures of the Virgin Mary with Child and St Cuthbert holding the head of St Oswald. 2.13.Pont.6

Richard Bury bishop of Durham (1333-45), second seal, G&B 3133. This seal is generally regarded as the finest in design and workmanship commissioned by any bishop of Durham, and a notable feature is the turning of the bishop's head into half-profile. Bury had been prominent in royal service, and hence perhaps the two shields with the three leopards of England that interrupt the legend. 3.6.Pont.4

Thomas Hatfield bishop of Durham (1345-81), chancery seal, obverse and reverse, G&B 3138. Designed for use by the bishop as the holder of Durham's regalian franchise this seal was clearly modelled on the king's great seal, but differs in detail, most obviously on the reverse where the bishop rides from the right; the obverse is unusual in having the legend in two straight vertical lines. 3.9.Pont.10a and 10b *

John Fordham bishop of Durham (1382-88), G&B 3140. 4.5.Ebor.4b seal 2. *

William Booth archbishop of York (1452-64), G&B 3424. 2.13.Pont.12 *

Lawrence Booth bishop of Durham (1457-76), G&B 3157. 2.13.Pont.12 *