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Nottinghamshire Archives

Castle Meadow Rd

Nottingham

NG2 1AG

United Kingdom

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This is a joint event hosted by Notttinghamshire Archives, the Friends of Nottingham Archives (fona.org.uk) and the Friends of The National Archives (ftna.org.uk). Using the theme of Signed and Sealed, the intention is to examine local and nationally held records to explore the reasons for signatures, and their different styles, and the importance and role of seals.

Ruth Imeson, Heritage Services Manager for Nottinghamshire, will give a talk on signatures. Holding the key to the authentication of contracts and other archival documents, signatures are as unique as the individuals who create them. Miniature works of art in their own right, they express the intent and agency of the writer.

The session will explore and examine the signatures held in Nottinghamshire Archives, the reasons for their existence, and the different styles of signature used by some of the county's most and least famous residents. From the hastily signed letters of World War One soldiers such as Pte Fred Stretch of Daybrook and flying ace Captain Albert Ball VC, to those who made an 'X' mark, to the correspondence of Georgian lady Gertrude Savile, to the official contracts of landowners, and autograph albums, the signature expresses ownership of the writer's ego documents.

The session will also explore the unexpected local connections of famous historical figures, whose documents will be on display. Where else can you see the signatures of Sir Walter Raleigh, Oliver Cromwell, William Gladstone, Samuel Pepys, Millicent Fawcett and Mary Howitt, in one place at the same time?

Dr Paul Dryburgh, Principal Record Specialist at The National Archives will give a talk on seals. For many thousands of years the expression of an individual or a community's will has been captured in various material ways. In the Middle Ages writing gradually became the means by which the business of government, law, lordship and the church was recorded. Before the signature became the most commonly accepted method of validating and authenticating a record, the seal held sway, but even as the signature began to take over the seal still retained an important place in legal written culture.

Seals – produced by the act of making of a personal mark in a soft material by the use of a hard, engraved negative, the matrix – conveyed personal or corporate symbolism identifying the owner and displaying their status and office, and something of their wit and personality. The many tens of thousands which survive for medieval England in archive and library collections are some of the most important artistic resources for architecture, flora and fauna, dress and costume, shipping and a myriad other things.

The session will explore the practices and rituals of sealing, the materials themselves (wax, laces, parchment), the iconography and heraldry used on seals, and the different types of seal used by institutions and individuals and how sealing changed over time to introduce participants to a fascinating aspect of our history.

The talks will be followed by a chaired discussion and accompanied by a display of original documents/artefacts. Light refreshments will be available.

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Date and Time

Location

Nottinghamshire Archives

Castle Meadow Rd

Nottingham

NG2 1AG

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

No Refunds

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