Cloth Seal, Colchester Dutch Community Seal, Tubular, 1571 onward

Cloth Seal, Colchester, Dutch Community Tubular Seals, Image by StuE, Found by Rae Lee Love Cloth Seal, Colchester, Dutch Community Tubular Seals, Image by StuE,, Image by StuE, Found by Rae Lee Love.
Found on Thames Foreshore, 24 x 26mm, 8.7g.

A roughly circular seal with a collapsed channel running across its middle that probably had tape passing through it attaching it to the length of cloth. Typical OCO like circles and semi-circles with border of pellets.

The large numbers of these 'pipe' seals found in the Colchester area and relatively few found elsewhere suggests they were for local use probably associated with Dutch weavers quality control system. This is one of the rare ones found away from Colchester.

See:- Colchester Archaeological Report 5: The post-Roman small finds from excavations in Colchester 1971-85, Nina Crummy. (Leaden Seals for Cloths, G. Egan, P.34-35, figs 1944-1948)

“These seals all have a hole running diametrically through the flan. A tape or wire would have passed through this hole to keep the seal fixed in place. The stamped conjoined circles and semicircles in various combinations may give some kind of technical information which would have been useful to a limited number of traders or artisans. There are similar seals in the Colchester and Essex Museum (VCH 1907, fig 7,e,g, where they are described as maker’s seals, which may be correct), and an example found in London(A G Pilson collection) has in addition to the conjoined circles part of a stamp paralleled by devices on Colchester Dutch community cloth seals. Although there is thus a definite connection between these single-disc seals and the textile quality control system used by the Dutch in the town, the significance of the conjoined circles remains obscure."

The Dutch weaving community was formally established in 1571. From Geoff Egan,'Lead cloth seals and related items in the B.M. (B.M.occ.papers 93)' p.29.

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