Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More tagging

In addition to the text-book examples I posted earlier, here are several variations on how documents were sealed in period.

Charter of Henry I, c1109, sealed on a tongue that appears to be folded double.

Confirmation of cathedral chapter of episcopal grant, 1149. Tag cuts through the body of the document as well as the turn up.

Writ of Henry II, 1173, with two tongues cut haphazardly into the document.

Forged charter of Bishop William of St Calais, c1160, showing long seal tag and close tape.

Grant recording perambulation, 1165. This definitely shows the tag fed through a slot in the fold of the turn up.

Grant of marriage portion, 12th century. Obviously not that great a portion.

Draft charter c1180, showing adding clauses by attaching an extra slip of vellum. This approach could also potentially be used for signatures.

Another example of the tag threaded through a cut on the fold.

Mandate of Pope Innocent III, 1211. The seal cord has presumably deteriorated to reveal the threading hole for a V pattern.

Appropriation of Aycliffe church by Bishop Marsh, c1220. An unusual example of two mismatched cords threaded in a triangle pattern. One looks to be braided cord, the other appears to be tablet woven in a check pattern. Can any textile people have a guess?

I have no idea what's going on with this one.

Chirograph document, and example of a tag cut from previously used vellum which it seems was not uncommon.

Coal mining and transport concession, c1258, with signatures on the fold as well as tags.

Mandate of Popr Martin IV for legal case, 1284. An example of what looks to be a single hemp cord knotted around itself.

Allowance of expenses for exemption of taxation, 1296. An example of letters close here shown open...

...and closed. The second long thin strip threaded at right angles to the tongue wraps the folded document and holds it closed, with the seal tucked inside. The date and presumably the bearer are written on the dorse of the closed packet.

Another example from 1304, a bond receipt for the loan of a book shown open and closed.

And another, receipt of proctor in the papal curia, 1312. This example shows how the long strip was wrapped and tied to keep the document closed.

Receipt f0r 200 marks, 1326. The tongue supports the seal, while the upturned fold is cut into a long strip, becoming the tape for letters close.

Knotted seal cords again, in an illuminated charter c1386. Two cords knotted once at the base of the document, then passing here through a wooden case to protect the fragile wax seal.

And again with bi-coloured cords in a diamond pattern, from inspeximus confirmation of Henry IV, 1401.

Oath of fidelity of William Raket, 1402, which presumably, is a letter containing his promise of fidelity backed up by a lot of character witnesses for said gentleman.

Mandate of a bishop for attendance at Parliament, 1402. Similar to a seal bag, this document shows the seal protected by being slipped into a seal packet, a sort of envelope made from previously used vellum.

Receipts for silver plate and salts, 1438. Multiple seals on tongue.

Legal verdict on the descendants of John Middleton, 1475. The more the merrier.

All documents collection of Durham University.

Goes to show there is more than one way to skin a cat!

Monday, February 15, 2010

On Seals

Obviously we're all familiar with the way Kingdom and Crux seals are applied to AA scrolls. But with writs and a College seal in train, Caristiona has asked me to put up an overview of other ways documents were they sealed in period to spark some inspiration.

Medieval seals could be single or double sided, attached directly to the face of the document, on a tongue cut from the base of the document, or on tags made from strips of vellum or silk or hemp cords of silk threaded through the base of the document.

One of the simplest ways, found in earlier medieval documents, is the seal applied on a vellum tongue cut partly away from the bottom of the document.

Douglas Warrant, 14th century. Collection National Archives of Scotland State Papers SP6/11.

French military acquittal, 1378. Private collection.

Tags cut from vellum were also used for pendant seals. Strips of vellum were threaded through two cuts in the turned-up base of the document, doubled over and secured in the seal. These strips could be trimmed or left to hang below the seal.

Charter of Richard III to Queen's College Cambridge, 1477. Collection Queen's College.

As these examples show, the name and title of the noble affixing the seal could also be written onto the vellum tags. This could be adapted as a neat solution to space for signatures on SCA scrolls.

Possibly the most impressive option is sealing onto cords, which was developed to spread the weight of larger seals so as not to tear the thin vellum. Three cuts are made in the turned up base of the document, and two cords threaded over and under the vellum in a diamond pattern.

Charter Henry V, mid 15th C.

The resulting strings are caught in a flat 4-braid immediately under the sheet, as these bi-coloured examples show more clearly than cords of the same colour. The braid forms a 'core' for the wax seal impression.

Charter seals. Collection Yorkshire Cathedral.

Yorkshire Cathedral Charter, 1604. Collection Yorkshire Cathedral.

There also exists examples of a seal cords in a V pattern, threaded through two cuts in the vellum rather than three. This style would be suitable for cords as well as vellum or woven ribbon tags.

Charter of King John, 1215. British Library MS 610.

Granted letters of ennoblement of Luc de Lys, Seigneur de Reinemoulin, 1612.

Woven seal tags are also known, with examples of tablet woven twill and brocaded ribbons used as tags in England dating to the 12th and 13th centuries. Based on these, Isabail inghean Domhnall created a brocaded silk seal tag as a project for the Fibre Guild, incorporating the colours and symbols of Lochac.

Silk seal tag, Taryn East, 2004. Artist's collection.

Seal bags were used to protect fragile wax seals attached to legal documents, such as this example was attached to a document dated 26th November 1280 which held the great seal of Edward I.

Silk embroidered wool seal bag, c1280. Collection Westminster Abbey.

AoA Scrolls

These are a couple of scrolls that Mouse and I did last year. They have been off to get signed and it has taken some time to get them back to me. So I thought I would put them up so everyone can see the same blanks done in a different way.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I'm on now

Ok, I admit I'm a 'blogophob', I had to get Kilic to help me with this. Not that Idon't want to communicate, it's just I'm on so many lists.

I saw the writ at CF and was very impressed with it. It made me want to open and close it and it 'felt' like a real document.

Anela Scribes is happening slooowly but we'll get there, I'll post pics when I remember to take some.

Thanks to all who set this up, good job!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Gadget tweaks

Hi all,

I've added a few new gadgets so it's easy to see who doing stuff on the blog and how to get to the main webpage.

I think I'll need to make the main part of the page wider so the display with pictures works better.

If you can think of other changes you'd like, let me know. Someone mentioned adding links here but I think that's better done on the main webpage lists page. (But we could link to the links page here....)


AoA Writ

Hi everyone, katherine kerr of the Hermitage didn't have time to put this up on our blog so I am doing it for her. This is what a sample AoA Writ looked like when she put it together to take to CF last week. katherine's report is below-

This is the folded writ with the seal tag loosely wrapped around it
and a Kingdom seal standing in place of the smaller green Scribes
seal that is planned for.

When I handed it over for people to look at, there wasn't any seal
and the tag was wrapped quite firmly around the writ and looped
through to secure it. People really liked the tactile nature of
opening the writ package -- they may not even feel the need for a
seal, though I think it's a nice touch.

There is room for the name, date and event to be written on the
outside of the packet.

This is the draft writ with the folding instructions noted in the
corners (that would not, of course, be in the real ones). It
demonstrates the fold at the bottom with the seal tag sewn in place
in period style, courtesy of Baroness Teffania. The Royal Seal is
simply sitting on top of the rest of the tag as a "stand-in".

This draft has the personal name on the inside, but people thought
that having it on the outside would be more practical in a number of

The instruction sheet is folded a couple of times and tucks nicely
into the bottom folded strip. It would be good, if at all possible,
to keep the wording/layout of the text such that the sheet doesn't
poke over the top of it, but that's not a huge biggie. I noted that
virtually everyone who held the writ read it and then immediately
started to unfold the sheet, so that was good.

The writ also folds up small enough to sit nicely inside the circle
of the Crowns in the carry box.


Hello from St Florian

We've started doing scribal night every fortnight at A&S. Most are just learning to use paint, and to hold a pen so it may take a little while before we're up to speed.
We're very new.. Two sessions in fact. This was from our first night and we were fortunate enough to have Katherine Alycia of Sarum come and visit. - we had a few more on the second night. I'm taking photos of everyone's achievement every week so we can all see how we've progressed.
None of us are warranted so we're really finding our way. . .
What we need is encouragement, kind words, and direction on what to do. Suggestions on texts, type of paint, tips and tricks to stop us from going made would be a useful thing.
Next session is in a week so I'll have more photos then!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday Night Scribes

Hi everyone,
this blog is so that we can all see what everyone is doing at their respective scribe nights. I hope that it will be a good resource especially for those on the list who are not able to join in scribal nights either because they are to far away or because they are unable to make it to group scribal nights and events.

There are a few things that I think it would be a good idea to comment on, first I would prefer it if peerage scrolls are shown in stages but a final photograph of the completed scroll not put up until the recipient has seen the scroll. I have less concerns about AoA's so but am open to comments about this.

So to start the ball rolling I am going to post some photos of what myself and some of the local Rowany scribes are working on at the moment. Mostly these are AoA's. Last night we were working on local AoA's and a Crescent Isles AoA from when the Crescent Isles was part of Caid. Each of these scribes is working on a variety of projects but we went with the relaxing AoA night last night.

I tried to add some more pictures in but blogger seemed to be having trouble. So this is a small sample of what we have been doing.

Caristiona nic Beathain
Provost of Scribes

Hello Lochac Scribes

This is the cunning new blog brought to you by the cunning new provost. This is where you can share pictures of your work and people working. If you need to be able to post here, just let the provost team know.