Lleision ap Morgan Makes an Impression: Seals and the Study of Medieval Wales

By Elizabeth A. New

The Welsh History Review, Volume 26, Number 3 (2013)


Abstract: Seals are a very important source of evidence for the social, political, economic and religious history of medieval Wales, but generally have received little attention from scholars. Drawing on the work of the recent Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Seals in Medieval Wales project, this article highlights their potential, and explores in detail the seals used by one Welsh noble family in Glamorgan in the context of the adoption of the seal as a means of documentary validation in medieval Wales and sealing practices amongst the native rulers and Anglo-Norman settlers of the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In particular, it demonstrates that, when considered in conjunction with a range of associated material, the principal motifs employed on seals can reveal fascinating and important insights into a rapidly changing society.

Introduction: The phrase sigillum meum apposui is familiar to medieval scholars, but apart from noting whether a seal is still attached to the document this rarely prompts further thought. Yet seals offer valuable, sometimes crucial, evidence for the study of the Middle Ages. Indeed, to paraphrase Michel Pastoureau, seals are one of the most important sources of information for a study of pre- modern Europe. 2 The basis for such a claim is that, unlike many other sources, we usually know when, where, for what reason and by whom a seal was used. Furthermore, as objects with both a legal application and a personal resonance, they offer crucial evidence for medievalists related to, among other things, legal and administrative practices, familial, social and political networks, religious allegiances, costume, buildings and developing technologies. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they allow glimpses into the mindset of their owners by being vehicles for expressing identity. For Wales in the Middle Ages, where sources are far from abundant, seals offer perhaps especial potential. In order to highlight some of the ways in which this material can be utilized to further the study of medieval Wales, this article will explore in detail the seals used by a Welsh noble family in Glamorgan in the context of sealing practices amongst the native rulers and Anglo-Norman settlers of the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Click here to read this article from Aberystwyth University

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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