You are here: Home > This Month's Highlight > 2017 Archive > May 2017: That's a wrap

May 2017: That's a wrap

Leaves on seal

The image on the left shows a large seal wrapped in sycamore leaves which is attached to a deed from c.1670 (ref. R/D138/1/1). What's unusual about it is the fact that not only is it covered in leaves, but that they are still green. They are believed to be original and from the period which means that they have survived virtually intact for more than 340 years.

The deed is an exemplification of common recovery relating to two messuages, a dovecote, two gardens and land in Caversham, Reading connected with Dr Robert South. Dr South was born in Hackney to a well-off family in 1634. He studied at Christ Church, Oxford gaining a Doctorate of Divinity (DD) in 1663. He was privately ordained in 1658 and was the chaplain to the Duke of York (the future James II). Dr South died in 1716.

RD138 man in deed

The deed forms part of a collection of deeds relating to Dr South and the inside of this one is quite dramatic. It contains very ornate etchings at the top and sides as well as the starting initial (see images above and below). It is a fine example of the level of detail that sometimes went in to documents such as deeds. Perhaps the only let down is the fact that it does not contain any colour.

RD138 initial

Due to the fragile nature of the leaves, we cannot actually see the seal itself as to unwrap it would no doubt result in destroying them. Nevertheless it is truly amazing that the sycamore leaves have stood the test of time and that we can see them, and the beautiful deed that they are attached to, today.

RD138 full deed

 

Leave a Comment

Fields marked with a * are required

0 response(s) so far…

 

Latest News
ICT Systems Offline 10-11th November 2018
Essential maintenance means lack of website and email access this weekend
Stocktake and Christmas closure dates announced
Dates now available for when we will be closed this year
Distance Survey 2017 Results
BRO does very well in the latest survey of distance users
Visitor Survey 2016 Results
The results of the UK Visitor Survey 2016 are now available
We're Accredited!
The BRO is now an Accredited Archive Service
10,000th collection received at the BRO
The Berkshire Record Office celebrates receiving its 10,000th accession

Latest Galleries

Oscar Wilde and Reading Gaol

Oscar Wilde and Reading Gaol
Biographies of Wilde and Berkshire's Victorian prison

Small Objects of Power

Small Objects of Power
An Exhibition about Medieval Seals

Enemies of the State

Enemies of the State
Irish Patriots in Reading Gaol

The Berkshire Echo

The Berkshire Echo 85
October 2018: A tremendous triumph for right and justice: Berkshire rejoices ...