Landed Power


Landed Power

The Monarch's Great Seal (reverse)

Date: 1487 | Reference: R/IC1/5

The most powerful figure in medieval England - besides the Pope - was the King.

Every monarch since Edward the Confessor has had a Great Seal. They usually take a similar form: the obverse shows the head of state enthroned in majesty, while the reverse shows the King dressed for battle, riding a horse over a mound that is home to rabbits. The seal is round, as were most secular seals.

This particular Great Seal is that of Henry VII, and it is tied to the King's charter of 1487 reaffirming rights to the town of Reading. Henry is styled by the seal as King of England and France and Lord of Ireland.