Epwell Seal Matrix from the 13th century goes on display

27/10/2021

The seal was discovered in Epwell in 2015 and has been purchased after a fundraising campaign

A rare piece of our local history can now be viewed at the Oxfordshire Museum.  A 700-year-old Epwell Seal Matrix has gone on display.

The seal is a unique survivor from the 13th century.   It was first discovered in Epwell back in 2015.

It’s been purchased by the museums service for display in the county after a fundraising campaign.

A seal matrix was used to make an impression on a wax seal to validate a document or to seal it closed.

The Epwell seal matrix is made of gold, with a dark green jasper setting, called an intaglio.   This was believed to have been intricately engraved in either Paris or London and depicts the portrait, in profile, of an unknown female.

Councillor Neil Fawcett, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Safety said: “It is wonderful news that we’ve been able to bring this historic artifact back to Oxfordshire.

“This seal is particularly notable for its superb quality and excellent condition. There’s much we don’t know yet about this seal, including who may have been the owner, and where they were from, but that is what makes the find all the more intriguing.

“This is a chance for local residents to see a piece of Oxfordshire history.”

It hasn’t been possible to identify the owner of the seal, who could have been somebody simply passing through the area, but it is likely to have been a symbol of the wealth, status and power of its owner.

The seal was purchased by the Museums Service with support from the Headley Trust, V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Friends of The Oxfordshire Museum.


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