The 14th Century Saltwood Seal

Saltwood appears to have been a peculiar jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The church was dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, whose key and sword respectively form the principal motive of the seal ('Archaeologia Cantiana', xi, p. 40)

 

This 14th century seal was attached to a heavy red silk band and worn round the neck of the rector when he presided over a special court exercising powers as great as the Archbishop himself. From time to time the Archbishop appointed certain rectors giving them full powers of jurisdiction and to hold judicial courts with powers of life and death over offenders against their exclusive laws.

 

What happened in these courts can only be discovered by research in the Archbishop's Registers and is not generally known. For some time the whereabouts of the Saltwood Seal was a mystery.

 

In 1877, the British Museum declared that the Saltwood Seal was in the possession of the widow of Richard Dyneley-Dyneley of Bramhope Manor, Yorkshire.

 

The British Museum acquired the seal in 1891 (Museum number 1891.0520.1)

14th century seal with inscription SIGILLVM IVRISD' DE SALTWODE. Silver gilt seal-matrix: peculiar jurisdiction, Saltwood. Pointed oval with a loop handle at the back. Traceried compartment enclosing two hands holding a sword and a key respectively on a diapered fiel which issue from quatrefoils open on inner side; an upper pair of quatrefoils enclose a human bust each legend, pearled outer borders.