This article appeared in the Spring 1971 (Issue #23) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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Late Medieval Seal from West Kingsdown.
The accompanying illustration shows a fine seal found by Mr R Smith at (Grid Reference TQ 578 614) West Kingsdown. The Seal is made of bronze, is 23 millimetres in diameter and is 29 millimetres high.
The Shield is deep cast and slightly irregular, and exhibits a five-pointed star on each shoulder. The lower point of the shield bears a pattern of five dots.
The black letter inscription surrounding the shield is written in reverse (although the S at the top left has been incorrectly cast) and reads: S'PIRRE LE CARPENTYR (Seal of Peter? The Carpenter).
The hexagonal, bell-shaped seal was evidently designed to be worn as a pendant and bears an incised asterisk on the upper side to assist the user to gain an upright impression. The probable dating is 14th-15th century.
It is possible that "Peter" was a man of some importance, as it is unlikely that anyone other than a well-established master craftsman would have property to warrant the use of a seal in those times. I would be interested to hear if any of our readers find any reference to this craftsman, who may have travelled around Kent and would probably have been employed in the construction of churches, manor houses, etc., and whose name may, therefore, figure in early documented accounts.
I am indebted to Mr L R A Grove, BA, FSA, FRES, curator of Maidstone Museum, for kindly identifying this object and deciphering the inscription.