The Great Seal is the official seal of the monarch and has been used as a means of authentication by Scottish and English monarchs since the eleventh century. The first British king known to have employed a seal to validate documents was Edward the Confessor (1042-1066) and the double-sided design has remained unchanged ever since. On one side the monarch is shown in ‘majesty’- enthroned, crowned, and holding royal regalia. On the other, the monarch is show as ‘warrior’ – mounted on horseback. The double-sided seal would be used as a pendant seal and would be attached to the foot of a document using a cord, tag, or tongue. Our seal has a length of woven green and white silk cord still attached.
The Great Seal represents the signature of the monarch and as such, has been referred to as the ‘key to the kingdom’. When a Great Seal was decommissioned, it would be broken in front of witnesses to ensure it could not be used or copied, and it was considered treason to forge the Great Seal with the death penalty for anyone who was convicted of this crime.
The matrix that would have been used to create this impression was designed by Morgan Wolff. It came into use in 1542 and was used until Henry’s death in 1547.
Coin is available in the Royal Armouries, White Tower.
- Coin Alloy Name: Nordic Gold
- Coin Alloy Color: old gold
- Coin Diameter: 31,00
- Coin Thickness: 2,25
- Coin Edge: serrated, fine
- City: LONDON
- Country: United Kingdom
- Available: yes
- Location: LONDON, United Kingdom