As detectorists many of us are fortunate enough to find a seal matrix and are rather pleased, but this is something different. Historians at the Manx National Heritage (MNH) described the silver seal discovered by Andy Falconer in the north of the island early in 2012 as incredibly significant.
Glasgow–born detectorist Andy, who moved to the Isle of Man from Guernsey, went one stage further and described his remarkable discovery as the find of a lifetime.
There was a ‘massive’ signal and it was only about 4” down. Although Andy had no idea what it was at first, when he showed it to Rob, his friend’s eyes lit up. Furthermore, Rob was able to tell him exactly what he’d found!
Regular readers of this blog may be familiar with the name Farrer. Rob himself hit the headlines when he discovered the fragments of a Viking sword. The story can be seen in the September 2008 edition of The Searcher. He was also awarded with the Manx Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Cultural Award for 2009.
Wish Comes True
It looked as though Andy’s wish to find something of great importance and also to add to medieval history had come true. The seal (about 3cm in length) was taken to the Manx Museum the following day. Experts cannot be entirely sure who is depicted on the seal, but there is a figure in the praying position near the base and two figures above – probably saints.
The Latin inscription when translated reads Let the prayers to God of Germanus and Patricius help us, so there’s a definite Manx context to its history, but there’s more research to be done.
Allison Fox, Curator of Archaeology, said that saints were very important people for the whole island and items from the medieval period in history were very rare. Most of the information in their possession had been obtained from manuscripts rather then artefacts.
She went on to say that the seal would’ve been used by a bishop to validate judgments from the Church and dates between 1315 and 1331 A.D. Five different bishops held office during this period so it is difficult to pinpoint exactly which one owned this seal.