Seal your identity
This cloth seal was found in Catford. Stamped lead seals were widely used in cloth-producing countries in Europe from the 13th-19th century. This example was made in Castres near Toulouse in southern France. On one side are the crowned arms of France and the date 1676. On the other side are the arms of Castres. Since medieval times Castres has been a major centre of wool production in France.
What was it used for?
Small leaden seals were attached to textiles that were going to be sold. The seal was stamped with the maker's mark. This identified who had made it. Then the authorities checked the cloth to make sure the quality was good enough for the market. If it passed this test, they then stamped it with their official mark.
Everyday object from the past
These small lead seals would have been a common sight at markets throughout Europe. Groups of cloth seals found near running water may indicate the presence of a cloth dyer's establishment.
Museum number 95.234