Seal of St. Mary Bel: 16th century
© Museum of London
Full image caption
Seal of St. Mary Bel. A lozange-shaped seal with an inscription round the edge and the figure of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms. The figures are shown in the centre of the seal. Sealed documents helped to express the power and authority of the church. Every religious house had a unique seal to validate decrees executed in their name. This example belonged to a convent dedicated to St Mary Bel. It is made from gilded bronze and is inscribed "HOT EST SIGULLUM CONENTUALI DO'VS bA'T MA DE bEL". The engraver clearly did not understand Latin, inscribing 'HOT' for 'HOC' (This). The whereabouts of St Mary Bel are unknown.
1501 AD - 1600 AD