Saturday, 1 May 2010

Attempts to repair integral seal tags

In the last post, I promised a few examples of repaired and strengthened integral seal tags. Today, a few examples of repairs to integral seal tags.

Writ of William II concerning Billingham
(DCM, 1.1.Reg.7)

This is An example where the vellum tags appear to have broken off and it looks like someone has tried to sew them back on, ultimately unsuccessfully.

Writ of Henry II ordering Cecilia de Muschamps and Thomas her son to give Heatherslaw back to the Durham monks.
(Durham Cathedral Manuscript, 2.1.Reg.2)

A couple of reinforcing stitches are visible at the end of the slit. The tag hasn't torn off at that point, instead it has torn off at a lower point, probably just above the point where the seal was.

Writ of Edward the Confessor Concerning Westminster
Between 28 December 1065 and 5 January 1066
Manuscript: In old English.
Seal: Great Seal, badly damaged, in unvarnished white wax. (reverse side displayed below)
Seal Tag: Still existing, although reinforcing stitches exist at the manuscript end of the tag.
Wrapping: Wrapping tie still attached. Folding pattern probably 3 vertical and 2 horizontal folds.
(Westminster Abbey Muniments, xii)

Stitches are visible across a tear in the right hand side of the document. In this case they appear to have worked, for the seal tag is still attached, and the tag has not simply torn at the next weakest point.

Writ of Edward the Confessor
Manuscript: In old English. Formerly attached to another documents with stitching on right hand side, presumably the document the writ gives permission to draw up.
Seal: Great seal of Edward the Confessor in brown wax
(Archives Nationales, Paris K.19, no.6)

The seal on this writ had became detached, and the tag was stitched to the bottom of the diploma before modern restorative work. Even though the greatest value in a sealed document is if the seal is still attached in it's original unforgeable format, a reattached seal must still have been worth something, or else why conduct repair work, probably in period.

Sorry it's just a short post today, more soon....