Seal impression (cast), of William I (William the Lion)

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Postcard of Seal impression (cast), of William I (William the Lion).
© National Museums Scotland

Seal impression (cast), of William I (William the Lion)

This is a 19th century sulphur cast of a seal impression. The impression was made from the reverse of the Great Seal of William I (William the Lion) dating from around 1165. Great Seals were used primarily for grants of land.

The seal depicts the king as a knight on horseback. He wears a conical helmet and armour, and carries a convex shield in front of him. In his right hand he carries a long flag with streamers. The legend 'WILLELMUS DEO RECTORE REX SCOTTORVM' translates as 'William with God as guide, King of the Scots'. The gold border is modern cardboard trim.

Seals were usually made of beeswax, softened by heat and attached to a document. A mould or matrix was used to make the impression in soft wax.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-725-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  K.1999.731
Date: c. 1165
Date of cast: 19th century; Date of seal: Around 1165
Material: Sulphur; red; circular. Inscription: WILLELMUS DEO RECTORE REX SCOTTORVM
Dimensions: 82 mm D
What: Seal / cast
Who: William I (of Scotland)
Young Collection
Description: Red sulphur cast of the reverse of the Great Seal of William I (of Scotland), depicting the king as a knight on horseback, c. 1165
  • Birch, Walter de Gray. History of Scottish Seals from the eleventh to the seventeenth century..., vol. I. The Royal Seals of Scotland. Stirling and London: Eneas MacKay and T. Fisher Unwin, 1905, pp 23-4. 
  • Stevenson and Wood, i, p.3 no.11 
  • Stevenson, J.H. and Wood, M. Scottish Heraldic Seals - Royal, Official, Ecclesiastical, Collegiate, Burghal, Personal, vol i. Glasgow, 1940, p 3 no. 11. 
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