John Fereday, a hobbyist with a metal detector, unearthed a silver seal that has been declared as Treasure. The 13th century solid silver seal was found on farmland at Crantock near Newquay, Cornwall.
66 year old John, who lives in Newquay, goes out metal detecting with his friend Jerry Brown. John’s been metal detecting for 30 years and found the silver seal just 5″ below the surface of the field.
Inscribed in Latin, the seal was used to seal and mark letters, so the recipient could see who they were from and that they hadn’t been tampered with. Using a seal and sealing wax is a method used for centuries.
Emma Carlyon, a Coroner for Cornwall, presided over a special inquest hearing in Truro to decide whether the seal was Treasure Trove or not.
The seal is now being valued by the British Museum and one potential buyer of it might be The Royal Institute of Cornwall, who are interested in adding it to their collection, with the aid of a grant from the Headley Trust.
The silver seal is about the size of a 10p coin and depicts an eagle with its wings outstretched. It bears a Latin inscription which translates as “The Seal of Tristan of Treago”. The inscription reads:
+ S ‘ TVSTANI : DE . TREIAGV
Medieval seals are very rare in Cornwall and silver ones are rarer still.
The British Museum verified that it was a 13th Century seal of Tristan of Treago, who may have owned a manor under the Earl of Cornwall at the time. The Earl, Piers Gaveston, whose arms bear the Cornish chough bird and a similar eagle was possibly a lover of King Edward II; he was the 1st Earl of Cornwall and was killed in 1312 during an uprising of nobles against the English king.
Once the seal has been valued, the finder and landowner will share the proceeds.
The coroner said the location of the find should remain a secret to prevent trespassers trying to go on to the farmland.
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