Vetusta Monumenta: Ancient Monuments, a Digital Edition

Plates 3.26-3.30: Scottish Seals—Plate 3.29

Click here to access the introduction and overview for Plates 3.26-3.30.

Plate: 
The plates in this series were engraved by the heraldic engravers Barak Longmate, senior, and his son, Barak Longmate, junior. Longmate, senior, died in 1793, leaving most of the task to his son, who produced all the final preparatory drawings for these plates, as well as the engraving for at least one. The drawings of the five plates of Scottish seals were signed by Longmate, junior. Plate 3.27 is the only plate to carry a date and it has a unique signature on the lower right: B. Longmate Junr del et sculp 1792. All the other plates are signed thus: B. Longmate Junr del (on the left) and B. Longmate sculp (on the right).  All but one of the plates carry the signature of Longmate, senior, as engraver. However, the Longmates did not produce the initial drawings of these Scottish Seals. The first set of drawings were made by Jacob Schnebbelie, who produced images for Vetusta Monumenta between 1788 and 1791. Thomas Astle, who wrote the explanatory account published with the engravings, first mentioned this project in a letter to Schnebbelie in 1788. Astle chaired the committee charged with selecting seals for engraving and reported on Schnebbelie’s progress to the Council of the Society of Antiquaries of London. The Longmates may have corrected some heraldic details when they took over the project for engraving.


Objects: 

1. Seal of Hugh de Eglinton
2. Seal of Patrick, Earl of March
3. Seal of William, Earl of Ross
4. Seal of Donald, Earl of Lennox
5. Seal of William Douglas, Lord Douglas
6. Seal of James Lindsay, Earl of Crawford
7. Seal of David Graham, Lord of Dundas
8. Seal of Patrick, Earl of March
9. Seal of Thomas Stewart, Earl of Angus
10. Seal of William, Earl of Sutherland
11. Seal of Thomas Moray, Lord of Bothwell
12. Seal of William Livingston
13. Seal of Robert Erskine
14. Seal of Robert Erskine
15. Seal of William Keith, Great Marshal of Scotland
16. Seal of George Dunbar, Earl of March
17. Seal of Robert Stewart, Earl of Strathearn
18. Seal of Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway
19. William, Earl of Douglas and Mar
20. Seal of James, Earl of Douglas and Annandale, Lord of Galloway
21. Seal of Robert Liddale de Balmure
22. Seal of Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus
23. Seal of Andrew Grey
24. Seal of James Liddal
25. Seal of Hugh, Lord Montgomery
26. Seal of William, Lord of Borthwick
27. Seal of Alexander, Lord of Home
28. Seal of William, Sixth Earl of Errol
29. Seal of William de Eglis
30. Seal of William Scott of Balcary
31. Seal of Robert Balcader, Archbishop of Glasgow
32. Seal of Andrew Forman, Prior of Pittenweem
33. Seal of William, Master of Ruthven

Commentary by Rachel Meredith Davis:
No. 1, Hugh de Eglinton

The seal of Hugh de Eglinton, as illustrated here, is equestrian. It features an armored knight on horseback, with a sword in the dexter [right] hand and carrying a shield on the sinister [left] arm. The shield bears three gemmed rings, two and one, the arms of Eglinton. The legend reads, “S’ HUGONIS DE EGLYNTOUN” [The seal of Hugh of Eglinton]. Astle claimed the seal was attached to an instrument of the ransom of David II, dated 26 February 1357; however, an instrument of that date is not associated with the ransom negotiations which took place that year. Furthermore, the seal is not among the seals listed in later catalogues, rather the seal of his son-in-law is the earliest reference to Eglinton. Astle’s inclusion of the seal, here, then is significant as other descriptions and interpretations of it are not featured in later antiquarian volumes. Astle’s interest seems to owe to the fact that the later earls of Eglinton were still a prominent family at the time of his writing in the eighteenth century, which may explain why he included the seal here (Astle 1792, 29).

No. 2, Patrick, Earl of March

As seen in the proceeding plate (Plate 3.28), Astle incorrectly assigned this to the tenth earl of March. He also incorrectly noted the year of his death as 1360, when in fact, this earl lived until 1369 (Astle 1792, 29; Plate 3.28, Nos. 1 and 9). This is the seal of the eighth earl of March, not the tenth, who served as earl from 1320 to 1369 (Watson 2008). He was supportive of the Bruce kingship, taking part in the siege of Berwick in 1318 and his seal is amongst the nobility that attested the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. He was married to Agnes Randolph, commonly known as “Black Agnes,” who famously defended Dunbar from English forces while under siege for over a year (1337-8) (Bower 1991, 127-31; Watson 2008). He was a prominent figure during the Second War of Scottish Independence (1332-1357) (Watson 2008). Astle did not note his source material for this seal, but he did mention that the earl was employed “at different times...negotiating with the English to procure the king’s liberty,” so we might take that to mean that the seal that Astle used as source material was one of the ransom agreements relating to David II (Astle 1792, 29).

There are some errors in the illustration of the earl’s seal here. The arms present on the seal do not reflect the earl of March’s arms, nor do they reflect the arms that are extent on other examples of earl’s seal. The error in the illustration here might indicate the degraded nature of the source material used by Astle. The seal is equestrian, bearing an armed knight on horseback. In the figure’s dexter [right] hand, there is an upheld sword, in the sinister [left], a shield bearing the arms. The arms should be the arms of Dunbar/March, a lion rampant within a bordure of eight roses. These arms should also be repeated on the horse’s caparisons. Both the horse and the rider have plumage. The legend reads, “S’ PATRICII DE DUNBAR COMITIS MARCHIE” [The seal of Patrick of Dunbar, earl of March].

The seal is well-catalogued and survives as an impression in several collections. Laing’s source material was a damaged impression amongst the Melrose Charters (held by the National Records of Scotland) (Laing 1850, 54 [no. 290]). Laing included an illustration of this seal in his text, which might be compared to this illustrative plate. Birch cited Astle’s plate as his source material as well as a Cotton charter (BL, Cotton Ch. XIX 11) (Birch 1887, 255 [no. 15,687]). MacDonald also described the seal in his 1904 catalogue, although he attributed to the ninth earl of March by mistake (MacDonald 1904, 97 [no. 793]). The British Library also holds plaster and sulphur casts of the seal in its collections (BL, Seal LXXVIII 89; BL, Seal XLVII 1123). Durham Cathedral Archives hold an extant impression from a 1367 charter (GB-0033-DCD, Misc.Ch. 742). Importantly, the Durham material reveals that cataloguers missed the counterseal of the earl, which was used alongside this seal. The counterseal bears a circular panel of six cuspings, with a shield of arms at its center bearing a lion rampant within a bordure of roses, the arms of Dunbar/March. The legend reads, “SIGILLVM PATRICII DE DVNBAR COMITIS MARCHIE” (GB-0033-DCD, Misc.Ch. 742).

Nos. 3 to 7 are taken from an obligation for payment of ransom by the nobility of Scotland to Edward III for David II, dated 26 September 1357.

These seals are attached to a document held by the National Archives, Kew, the same document to which the Crail burgh seal was attached, which Astle used for his illustration in Plate 3.27 (see No. 6) (TNA, E 39/99/36). Astle’s commentary seemed to be preoccupied with “extinction” of lineages based on the lack of a male heir for many of the men included here in the fourteenth century. These commentaries reflect my view that this is a misunderstanding of how lineage was conceived of by late medieval Scottish elite and I have commented, when appropriate, on how we might consider the role women played in the promotion and continuation of their lineage as female heirs, rather than consider a family line ended, as was the eighteenth-century viewpoint. As will be seen in several of the discussions that follow, these women were significant figures in their own right within Scottish elite politics.

No. 3, William, Earl of Ross

The seal, as illustrated here, is an armorial one, featuring a shield of arms bearing three lions rampant, two and one, within a double tressure, all within a carved and pointed quatrefoil panel. The legend reads, “S’ WILLELMI COMITIS ROSSIE” [The seal of William, Earl of Ross]. The seal is well-catalogued, and it seems that later antiquarians made use of another extant impression, held privately in Scotland, referred to as a “Meikelour Charter” which dated 1364. This seal description is what Birch used as his source for his 1887 catalogue, rather than Astle’s (Laing 1850, 116 [no. 699]; Birch 1887, 543 [no. 16,807]; MacDonald 1904, 292 [no. 2329]). The British Library holds a sulphur cast of the seal (BL, Seal XLVII 1311).

MacDonald noted, like Astle, that this was the last seal belonging to an earl descended from the ancient or “Celtic” line of Ross, as Earl William died without a male heir (Astle 1792, 30; MacDonald 1904, 292; Munro & Munro 2008). The earl was succeeded by his daughter, Euphemia Leslie and her husband, the crusader hero, Walter Leslie. The countess used her husband’s “favorite” status at the court of David II to secure a succession to the earldom of Ross, which her father had given away by male entail in 1350 (NRS, GD297/163). Her seal differed greatly from her father’s and incorporated several stylistic elements from the Leslie family, as well as the Leslie arms, which would later be adapted into the arms of the MacDonald Earls of Ross and Lords of the Isles, her descendants in the fifteenth-century through her daughter, Mary Leslie (Innes 1848, 23; NRS, GD93/15; NRS, RH17/1 [no. 499, drawer no. 20]; Davis 2020, 81-83; 125-7; 148-54; Davis 2021, 315-17).

No. 4, Donald, Earl of Lennox

The seal of Donald, Earl of Lennox, as illustrated here, is armorial. The shield features as the center of the seal, within a carved and pointed trefoil panel, ornamented along the inner edge with small quatrefoils. The shield bears the arms of Lennox, a saltire cantoned with four roses. The legend reads, “† S’ DONALDI COMITIS DE LEVENAX” [The seal of Donald, earl of Lennox]. The seal is catalogued by later antiquarians, with Birch using Laing as his source material. Laing seems to have used an extant 1350 seal from the “Kilsyth Charters” (Laing 1850, 86 [no. 492]; Birch 1887, 454-5 [no. 16,465]; MacDonald 1904, 201 [no. 1599]). The British Library holds a sulphur cast of the seal (BL, Seal XLVII 1291).

Like Astle’s commentary on the seal of William, Earl of Ross (No. 3), it was noted that he died without a male heir and that the Lennox properties passed to an auxiliary branch of the Lennox family via his daughter Margaret’s marriage to Walter Faslane (Astle 1792, 30). This characterization of “extinction,” again, does not bear out in the surviving evidence from the period. We might consider the seal design of Walter Faslane, which also featured a shield bearing a saltire cantoned with four roses, the arms of Lennox (Birch 1887, 387 [no. 16, 211]; MacDonald 1904, 201 [no. 1600]). Rather than an extinction, it is generally accepted amongst current scholarship that the “ancient” Lennox lineage continued until the death of the last surviving member, Isabella, duchess of Albany and countess of Lennox, in 1458 (Davis 2020, 19). This certainly bears out in the sigillographic evidence, as the Faslane earl adapted the arms of his father-in-law, rather than change the arms of Lennox to indicate a new lineage, thus adapting his arms to reflect the lineage of his wife’s family, occurrence that has been noted in other examples by Cynthia J. Neville, when the status of a woman’s family outranked that of her husband (Neville 2005, 30).

No. 5, William Douglas, Lord Douglas

This is a seal from the start of William Douglas’s career as Lord Douglas, used in 1357, the year before he was created earl of Douglas, something not mentioned by Astle in his commentary (Astle 1792, 30-1). The seal is armorial, featuring a shield at its center. The shield is suspended by the guige from a tree, which rises behind the shield. The shield bears the arms of Douglas, a heart, on a chief, three stars. The shield features within a carved Gothic panel, with two small openings on either side. The legend reads, “SIGILL WILLELMI DOMINI DE DOUGLAS” [The seal of William, lord of Douglas]. The seal is well-catalogued (Laing 1850, 44 [no. 236]; Birch 359 [no. 16,098]; MacDonald 1904, 73-4 [no. 654]). The Douglas arms are worth further commentary as they reflect the chivalric reputation of James Douglas, known as the “Good Sir James.” After the death of Robert I in 1329, Scottish nobles, led by James Douglas, left on crusade, with the intention of taking Bruce’s heart to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. However, the group never reached the Latin East, rather, they were defeated by Moorish forces at the Battle of Teba in 1330 (Holland 1987, 66). Douglas reputedly threw the heart of Bruce before them into battle. The heart was quickly adapted into the Douglas arms to commemorate and celebrate the good Sir James (Drummond 1994, 49; Brown 1997, 164-5).

No. 6, James Lindsay, Earl of Crawford

The seal, as illustrated here, is an early example of the crested helmet on top of a shield, which would become more popular as a stylistic choice among the Scottish male elite in the fifteenth century. It features a shield bearing a fess chequy, the arms of Lindsay. The helmet’s crest features a swan’s neck and part of the wing issues from behind. The shield is supported by two lions sejant guardant [sitting, with its body in profile but with head facing the viewer]. The shield, helmet, and crest are surrounded by a border of tracery. The legend reads, “S’ IAQUES DE LINDESEY CH’LR.” This particular seal is only described by MacDonald in his 1904 catalogue, where he cites Astle and the 1357 instrument used by Astle as his source material (MacDonald 1904, 206 [no. 1633]).

No. 7, David Graham, Lord of Dundas

The seal of David Graham, lord of Dundas, is armorial, featuring a shield within an elaborate tracery. The shield bears, on a chief, three scallop shells, the arms of Graham. The legend reads, “SIGILLUM DAVID DE GRAME” [The seal of David Graham]. Laing and MacDonald used the 1357 instrument to make their catalogue entries for this seal, and MacDonald also cited Astle as source material (Laing 1850, 73 [no. 437]; MacDonald 1904, 141 [no. 1127]). The arms present in this seal design could be compared to the arms used by Patrick Graham, which feature in Plate 3.28 (No. 18).

Nos. 8 to 13 are taken from an obligation from the nobility of Scotland relating to the ransom of David II, dated at Berwick, 5 October 1357.

This document, dated 5 October 1357, is a Latin inspection, notarially attested, of the French Treaty dated 3 October 1357, in which the Scottish nobility agreed to pay 100,000 marks sterling in ransom for the release of David II. This is the same document to which the Aberdeen burgh seal was attached (Plate 3.27, No. 5). The instrument is held by the National Archives, Kew (TNA, E 39/28/1). A summary of the document and the individuals involved can be found on the People of Medieval Scotland Database. It should be noted that several of the seals included are noted by Astle as belonging to families still prominent within the British aristocracy, which may explain his methodology for inclusion here.

No. 8, Patrick, Earl of March

This is another seal belonging to the earl of March (No. 2). It features a crested shield, another early Scottish example of these types of seal designs. The shield bears a lion rampant within a bordure of roses, the arms of Dunbar. On top of the shield, a cylindrical helmet with capeline and coronet, with a crest of a horse head bridled. The helmet is supported on either side by men in doublets, each with a pointed cap with a tall feather in the front. The designs is within a quatrefoil panel. The legend reads, “S PATRICII DE DVB[AR] COMITIS [MARCHIE]” [The seal of Patrick of Dunbar, earl of March]. The illustration suggests that the seal was damaged at the time of Astle’s compilation, as the legend is not intact. Astle’s plate is one of the few antiquarian volumes to record this seal. It is not included among Laing or Birch’s catalogue entries. MacDonald did describe the seal in his 1904 catalogue, and he cited Astle and the original 1357 instrument as his source materials (MacDonald 1904, 97 [no. 790]). Similarities can be seen between the design of this seal and the seal of his successor, George Dunbar, earl of March (No. 16).

No. 9, Thomas Stewart, Earl of Angus

The seal of Thomas Stewart, Earl of Angus, features a shield within an elaborate trefoil panel. Two lions sejant guardant [sitting upright in profile, with head facing viewer] supporting a shield. The shield bears a fess chequy over all on a bend three buckles, the arms of the Stewarts of Bunkle. The legend reads, “S’ THOME SENESCALLI COMITIS ANGVSI[E]” [The seal of Thomas Stewart, earl of Angus]. The degradation of the legend led Laing to incorrectly attribute it to John Stewart, earl of Angus in his description (Laing 1866, 154 [no. 925]). Astle incorrectly noted the earl as being succeeded by his son, also called Thomas, however, he did not have male issue. Rather, his Angus estates were inherited by his two daughters, Margaret and Elizabeth. Margaret would claim the earldom in her lifetime and her son George Douglas inherited it, as Astle noted, as the first Douglas earl of Angus (Astle 1792, 32; Reid 2004). The seal is well-catalogued, and Astle seems to have served as source material for later compilers as well as the 1357 instrument (Laing 1866, 154 [no. 925]; Birch 1887, 590 [no. 16,985]; MacDonald 1904, 323 [no. 2558]). The British Library holds a sulphur cast of the seal (BL, Seal XLVII 1302).

No. 10, William, Earl of Sutherland

The seal, as illustrated here, features a shield within tracery. The shield bears three mullets [stars], the arms of Sutherland. The legend reads, “S’ WIL’MI COMITIS SVTHYRLAND” [The seal of William, earl of Sutherland]. Laing and MacDonald include descriptions among their catalogue entries, drawing on Astle as well as the 1357 instrument, although the seal is missing from Birch’s catalogue entries (Laing 1866, 158 [no. 946]; MacDonald 1904, 352 [no. 2743]). The potted biography given of the earl in Astle’s text is correct and he was indeed married to Margaret Bruce, sister to David II (Astle 1792, 32; McGladdery 2004).

No. 11, Thomas Moray, Lord of Bothwell

The seal of Thomas Moray, Lord of Bothwell, as depicted in the illustration here, bears a shield within a pointed quatrefoil panel. The shield bears three mullets [stars] within a bordure charged with eight roundels. The legend reads, “S THOME DE MORAVIE” [The seal of Thomas of Moray]. This seal is not included in Birch’s 1887 catalogue, and it is misidentified as belonging to Sir Andrew Murray by Laing in his 1866 supplemental volume (Laing 1866, 127 [no. 760]). MacDonald includes a description, citing Laing, Astle, and the 1357 instrument as his source material (MacDonald 1904, 260 [no. 2056]).

No. 12, William Livingston

The seal of William Livingston, as illustrated here, seems to have suffered considerable damage by the time Astle viewed the seal in the 1790s. Astle noted the condition of the seal and offered a conjecture as to the legend (Astle 1792, 33). The seal features a shield at its center, surrounded by tracery. The arms that should be represented, although the damage makes this difficult to confirm, should be three cinquefoils, two and one, within a double tressure, the Livingston arms. The legend possibly would have read, “S’ WILLELMI DE LYVYNGSTOUN” [The seal of William of Livingston]. This impression is catalogued by Laing and MacDonald (Laing 1866, 109 [no. 650]; MacDonald 1904, 217 [no. 1704]). Another impression, more intact than this, is catalogued by Laing and MacDonald as being amongst the detached seals in the Melrose Charters (National Records of Scotland) (Laing 1850, 92 [no. 533]; MacDonald 1904, 217 [no. 1705]). Birch described this seal in his 1887 volume, using Laing and a sulphur cast as his source material (Birch 1887, 462 [no. 16,494]). The British Library holds the sulphur cast (BL, Seal XLVII 1572).

No. 13, Robert Erskine

The seal of Robert Erskine, illustrated here, features a shield bearing, couché, a pale, the arms of Erskine. It is another early example of the crested helmet design. The shield has a crested helmet on top, with capeline and wreath, a boar’s head and neck. The shield is within an oblong panel, with rounded ends and small circles on either side. The legend reads, “S’ ROBERT DE ERSKYNE.” The seal is not described in Birch’s catalogue, but it is included in Laing’s supplemental volume and MacDonald (Laing 1866, 59 [no. 341]; MacDonald 1904, 106 [no. 859]).

Nos. 14 to 17 are taken from a truce between Edward III and David II, dated 18 June 1369.

The document is held by the National Archives, Kew. Joseph Bain also noted the seals attached to this document, which number more than are illustrated here by Astle (CDS, vol. 4, 35-6 [no. 154]).

No. 14, Robert Erskine

A later seal, in use in the later 1360s and 1370s, belonging to the same Robert Erskine as above (No. 13). The illustration of the 1369 copy of the seal suggests that the seal was damaged. The seal features a shield bearing, couché, a pale, the arms of Erskine. The crested helmet of this shield is different than the one featured in No. 13. A helmet with coronet, from which issues a griffin’s head and wings. The design is within a carved and traced panel. The legend also differs from the earlier seal of Erskine; if intact, it would read, “S’ rob’i de erskyn dni eiusdem” [The seal of Robert Erskine, lord of the same]. The British Library holds a sulphur cast of the seal (BL, Seal XLVII 1341). The seal is described in Laing, Birch, and MacDonald, although source material varied among the three (Laing 1850, 58 [no. 310]; Birch 1887, 377-8 [no. 16,170]; MacDonald 1904, 107 [no. 860]). Astle confused the identity of the individual using this seal, citing it as belonging to a cousin of the Robert Erskine in No. 13, rather than recognizing that it was the same man, although he identifies his marriage and later career correctly (Astle 1792, 33; Boardman 2004).

No. 15, William Keith, Great Marshal of Scotland

Astle’s illustration here suggests another damaged seal from the 1369 example belonging to William Keith. The seal features a shield bearing, couché, a field diapered, a chief paly of six, the arms of Keith. The shield has at its top a crested helmet with a stag’s head coming out of a coronet. The background of the design features foliage. The 1369 example of the seal, illustrated here, seems to have been the least well-known to later cataloguers, as MacDonald is the only one to cite the example among his description (MacDonald 1904, 182 [no. 1448]). Laing relied on a 1357 and 1371 example in his two descriptions, with Birch using the 1371 seal to make his catalogue entry as well (Laing 1850, 81 [no. 463]; Laing 1866, 83 [no. 554]; Birch 1887, 445 [no. 16,433]). While the legend seems to have been damaged in this version, other versions of the seal suggest the legend would have read, “S’ willelmi de kethe” [The seal of Willliam Keith]. The British Library holds a sulphur cast of the seal (BL, Seal XLVII 1346). Astle correctly identified Keith’s importance in public affairs during the reign of David II, but his interest in Keith seemed to stem more from his marriage to Margaret Fraser, female heir of John Fraser, which saw an increase in his property (Astle 1792, 34; McGladdery 2004).

No. 16, George Dunbar, Earl of March

This seal features a shield, couché, a lion rampant within, presumably, a border of sixteen roses in orle, to represent Dunbar, although it is less distinct in Astle’s illustration than it is in Laing’s (Laing 1850, 55 [no. 294]). On top of the shield, a crested helmet with a horse’s head bridled issuing from a coronet of three points. The central design is supported by two lions sejant coué gardant. The legend reads, “S’ georgii dunbar comitis march[ie]” [The seal of George Dunbar, earl of March]. The British Library holds a sulphur cast of the seal from a 1371 impression (BL, Seal XLVII 1339). Birch’s description comes from the 1371 cast, and Laing’s illustration was also taken from a 1371 impression (Birch 1887, 367-8 [no. 16,133]). MacDonald includes an entry and description of this seal, citing Astle as well as extant impressions among his source materials (MacDonald 1904, 94 [no. 797]). Interestingly, Astle did not note Dunbar’s connection to other seals in this plate, as he was the successor of Patrick, earl of March. Two seals belonging to this earl are included in this plate (No. 2, No. 8). We might compare the seal of George Dunbar to those of his predecessor, noting the innovations of sigillographic convention among the male elite by the later fourteenth century.

No. 17, Robert Stewart, Earl of Strathearn

The seal of Robert, Steward of Scotland, who would later become Robert II, King of Scots after the death of his nephew, David II, in 1371. The seal, as illustrated here, features a shield at its center, bearing a fess chequy, the arms of Stewart. The shield is within a carved panel, surrounded by elaborate tracery. The legend reads, “† SIGILLVM ROBERTI SENESCALLI SCOCIE” [The seal of Robert, the Steward of Scotland]. The seal is well-catalogued, although Laing and Birch seem to have drawn on different material, a Scottish 1369 charter and a 1361 charter respectively (Laing 1850, 128-9 [no. 781]; Birch 1887, 587 [no. 16,976]; MacDonald 1904, 321 [no. 2545]). The script of the legend is noticeably different compared to the script of the other seals in this group. This perhaps owes to its earlier creation than the others, as Robert the Steward was active by 1330 (Boardman 2006). The seal of the Steward can also be compared to his later seal as king (Plate 3.26, No. 5).

Nos. 18 to 19 are taken from an indenture between the king of Castile and the Scottish Commissioners, dated 1 November 1381. The indenture promised a commitment to bring to justice violators of the truces entered between the two kingdoms.

The indenture was dated incorrectly by Astle, rather, it was a 1 November 1380 indenture between the John, King of Castile and Leon, the Duke of Lancaster, and the commissioners of the King of Scotland, agreeing to a truce from its date to St Andrew’s Day [30 November] 1381. The indenture was dated at Berwick (CDS, vol. 4, 65 [no. 297]). Joseph Bain included descriptions of the Earl of Douglas and Mar and the Lord of Galloway’s seals in his entry of this indenture.

No. 18, Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway

The seal of Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway, is armorial. It features a shield, bearing the arms of Douglas, a heart, on a chief three stars, the markings around the heart may indicate a bordure, but it is difficult to assess based on the illustration here. Birch suggested that it was ermine, (Birch 1887, 347 [no. 16,052]). The crest, on a helmet, has a stone tower with battlements issuing from it, a peacock’s head and neck, holding an inscribed scroll, although it is not decipherable here. The shield is supported by two wild men. The legend reads, “Sigillu archebaldi de douglas” [The seal of Archibald Douglas]. The seal is described in Laing and MacDonald as well, although their source material differs from the 1381 document used by Astle (Laing 1850, 44 [no. 239]; MacDonald 1904, 75 [nos. 661-3]). The British Library also holds a cast of this seal (BL, Seal XLVII 1353). This seal was the first seal used by Douglas. He would inherit the earldom of Douglas from his cousin’s son, James Douglas, who died at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388, and the earldom had a male entail (Brown 2004). His later seal incorporated the arms of his wife, Joanna Moray, female heir to Bothwell into his seal design (Birch 1887, 347 [no. 16,053]; BL, Seal XLVII 1478). The countess’s seal is deposited in the National Records of Scotland (NRS, GD12/15). The representation of the Moray/Bothwell arms was haphazard amongst subsequent earls of Douglas (MacAndrew 1977, 5; MacAndrew 2010, 148-9). This likely owes something to the creation of his son, Archibald Douglas, Duke of Touraine by the king of France for his service during the Hundred Years War. Katie Stevenson has noted the significance of the duchy acquisition and the prestige and political cachet that came along with it (Stevenson 2007, 206). This is certainly supported by the sigillographic evidence, as the Douglas family was quick to adapt the arms of Touraine, three fleur de lis, into their seal designs (Davis 2021, 319-20).

No. 19, William, Earl of Douglas and Mar

William was the first earl of Douglas, having been created thus in 1358 by David II (Brown 2004). The illustration of his seal, as depicted here, shows some signs of damage. It is armorial, featuring a crested shield. The shield bears quartered arms, 1st and 4th a heart, on a chief, three stars, the arms of Douglas and 2nd and 3rd a bend between six cross crosslets fitchée, the arms of Mar. The shield is mounted on a lion sejant, bearing the arms on its breast. The lion is helmets, wearing the crest of a plume of feathers. The shield and the lion are within a carved panel. The legend reads, “S’ WILLI COMITIS DOUGLAS ET DE MAR...” [The seal of William, earl of Douglas and Mar]. The quartered arms of the earl denote his claim to the earldom of Mar, by right of his wife, Margaret, who inherited the earldom after the death of her brother in 1377. The earl of Douglas had two illegitimate children with his irregular partner, Margaret Stewart, countess of Angus and Mar, whose father’s seal is present within this plate (No. 9). The seal is well-catalogued, with the Scottish ones citing a charter held in Scottish archives, as well as the source material used by Astle (Laing 1850, 44 [no. 238]; Birch 1887, 359 [no. 16,100]; MacDonald 1904, 74 [no. 656]). The British Library holds a cast of the seal (BL, Seal XLVII 1301).

Nos. 20 to 21 are taken from a truce between England and Scotland, dated 23 May 1453.

The document is likely held by the National Archives, Kew (CDS, vol. 4, 255-6 [no. 1257]). Joseph Bain included descriptions of these seals along with his catalogue entry for the truce.

No. 20, James, Earl of Douglas and Annandale, Lord of Galloway

The seal of James, Earl of Douglas and Annandale (Avondale), Lord of Galloway is a large armorial one, featuring a crested shield. The shield is quartered; 1st a heart, on a chief three stars, which represent the Douglas arms; 2nd fretty [covered with grating in narrow pieces], the arms of Lauderdale; 3rd three mullets [stars] within a double tressure; 4th six piles, the arms of Brechin. Surtout [over all], a lion rampant. The crest, on a helmet, mantling, and a wreath, a wolf sejant [sitting upright]. The shield and crest are supported on either side by wild men with clubs, each holding flags charged as follows: dexter [right], 1st and 4th three cushions; 2nd and 3rd three bars; sinister [left], 1st and 4th three mullets, the arms of Moray of Bothwell, 2nd and 3rd, a fess. The legend reads, “S’ JACOBI COMITIS DOUGLAS ET DE ANNANDALE DNI GALWEDIE ET LANDE FORESTE” [The seal of James, Earl of Douglas and Annandale, Lord of Galloway and Jedworth Forest]. The seal is described in Laing, Birch, and MacDonald, which all attribute the arms represented in the 3rd quarter as the arms of Moray of Bothwell (Laing 1850, 46 [no. 248]; Birch 1887, 353-4 [no. 16,078]; MacDonald 1904, 78 [no. 677]). The British Library holds a sulphur cast of this seal (BL, Seal XLVII 1453). While this was not noted by Astle, the sealing of this document marked a significant moment for the earl’s political career, as Alan Borthwick has commented, that this marked his re-acceptance into Scottish elite circles (Borthwick 2004). This peace with the Scottish king would not last, as Douglas mounted revolt two years later, resulting in his exile to England in 1455 (Borthwick 2004).

No. 21, Robert Liddale de Balmure

The seal of Robert Liddale of Balmure, Chief Steward to the King of Scots, is not well-catalogued, with a description appearing only in MacDonald’s 1904 compilation (MacDonald 1904, 205 [no. 1626]. MacDonald’s source material for his description was Astle, as well as the 1453 charter used by Astle here. The seal is armorial, and the plate indicates it was in good condition at the time of Astle’s illustration. It features a shield at its center, bearing three mullets [stars] on a bend. The shield is surrounded by foliage. The legend reads, “SIGILLUM ROBERTI LYDDALE DE BALMURE” [The seal of Robert Liddale of Balmure].

Nos. 22 to 24 are taken from a confederation of the nobility of Scotland against James III, dated 11 February 1482.

(CDS, vol. 4, 305-7 [no. 1489]). Bain included descriptions of these seals in his catalogue entry for the document.

No. 22, Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus

The seal, as illustrated here, bears a quartered shield. 1st: a lion rampant, the arms of Angus; 2nd: a lion debruised by a ribbon, the arms of Abernethy; 3rd: three chevrons, the arms of Liddesdale; 4th: difficult to decipher. MacDonald suggested a fess chequy, surmounted of a three buckles on a bend, the arms of Stewart of Bunkle, while Laing and Birch both suggested a fretty, the arms of Lauderdale. Surtout [over all]: a heart, on a chief of three stars, the arms of Douglas. The shield is supported on either side, dexter [right]: a woman or a wild man, sinister [left]: a stag, standing within a fenced compartment. Behind the stag, a star. The shield is crested, featuring a peacock’s head with an ornament of foliage. The legend reads, “S’ ARHIBALDI DOWGLAS COMIT[IS] ANGUSIE DNI DOWGLAS” [The seal of Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus and Lord of Douglas]. A 1511 charter bearing another extent impression is deposited in the Glamis Castle Archives. Additionally, the British Library holds a sulphur cast (BL, Seal XLVII 1869). The seal is well-catalogued, drawing on multiple examples, although there are discrepancies between them, noted above (Laing 1850, 47 [no. 251]; Birch 1887, 349-50 [no. 16,062]; MacDonald 1904, 80-1 [no. 686]).

No. 23, Andrew Grey

This seal is armorial, featuring a lion rampant within a bordure engrailed. The legend reads, “SIGILLUM DNI ANDREI GReYe” [The seal of Lord Andrew Grey]. The seal is catalogued by Scottish compilers Laing and MacDonald, although the record it as “Gray” rather than “Grey,” which Astle likely chose as it reflected the spelling in the seal’s legend (Laing 1866, 76 [no. 453]; MacDonald 1904, 145 [no. 1157]). Both Laing and MacDonald reference the same 1482 document consulted by Astle. Astle’s commentary about the political career of Andrew Grey is accurate and he was a member of James IV’s royal council (Astle 1792, 36; Penman 2004).

No. 24, James Liddal

This seal is armorial, bearing a quartered shield. 1st and 4th: on a bend three mullets [stars], the arms of Liddel; 2nd and 3rd: a lion rampant. The legend, on an escroll reads, “S’ JACOBI DE LYDDALE” [The seal of James of Liddel]. Astle himself commented that he could find “nothing remarkable concerning this person” (Astle 1792, 36). He was a knight, which Astle noted from the document the seal was attached to (Astle 1792, 36). The seal is catalogued by Scottish compilers, where his surname is spelled “Liddel” (Laing 1866, 105 [no. 626]; MacDonald 1904, 205 [no. 1628]). Both Laing and MacDonald consulted the same 1482 document used by Astle for their descriptions.

Nos. 25 to 30 are taken from an instrument regarding the rejection of the advice of Henry VIII regarding the removal of the duke of Albany from the governorship of Scotland during the minority of James V, dated 4 July.

This document has been transcribed in both the Acts of the Parliament of Scotland (APS) and the digital database, Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707 [RPS]. The compilers of the online database have noted that the original letter has yet to be located, even though the Public Record Office (PRO) was cited in APS (RPS, A1516/7/1).

No. 25, Hugh, Lord Montgomery

Hugh Montgomery, Earl of Eglinton, was the direct descendant of Hugh of Eglinton, whose seal is also illustrated in this plate (see No. 1), as the titles associated with Eglinton were inherited by the female heir Elizabeth Eglinton passed to her Montgomery children (MacQueen 2004; Simmons 2004). The seal is armorial, featuring a quartered shield, as illustrated in the plate here. The 1st and 4th: three fleur de lis, the arms of Montgomery; 2nd and 3rd: three gemmed rings, the arms of Eglinton. The legend is decorated with foliage near the top and reads, “S’ HUGONIS DNI MONTGU[M]I” [The seal of Hugh, Lord of Montgomery]. Astle included an “M” in his transcription of the legend, however, this does not seem to be correct (Astle 1792, 37). This particular seal seems to be less well known among later compilers than other seals belonging to the earl, and a description of this specific seal only appears in Macdonald’s catalogue (MacDonald 1904, 252 [no. 1993]). There are several alternate seals that belonged to the earl. These alternatives include a seal, dating to 1480, with a crest (Birch 1887, 503-4 [no. 16,658]; MacDonald 1904, 252 [no. 1992]). The cataloguers also described a 1529 impression with a legend that included his status as earl of Eglinton [co[m]itis de Eglinton] (Laing 1866, 123 [no. 737]; Birch 1887, 504 [no. 16,659; MacDonald 1904, 253 [no. 1995]). The British Library holds sulphur casts of the 1480 and 1529 impressions, but not one of the 1516 impression, which suggests the source material for these seals was difficult to locate (BL, Seal XLVII 1719; Seal XLVII 1958).

No. 26, William, Lord of Borthwick

An armorial seal, featuring a shield bearing three cinquefoils [five-pointed flowers] two and one, the arms of Borthwick. The legend reads, “S’ WILLELMI DNI BORTHYK” This particular seal is catalogued by Scottish compilers, but not by Birch (Laing 1866, 22 [no. 121]; MacDonald, 24 [no. 209]). Both Laing and MacDonald cite the 1516 letter among their source material. Birch, Laing, and MacDonald also included descriptions of a later seal from a 1522 document featuring a crested helmet (Laing 1866, 22 [no. 122]; Birch 1887, 294-5 [no. 15,840]; MacDonald 1904, 24 [no. 210]). The British Library holds a sulphur catalogue of the 1522 seal impression (BL, Seal XLVII 1916).

No. 27, Alexander, Lord of Home

The seal of Alexander, Lord of Hume, as illustrated here, would have been one of the final impressions made by the Scottish lord, as he was executed in October of the same year [8 October 1516] (Emond 2019, 17). The seal is armorial, featuring a quartered shield of arms. The illustration suggests that the impression was damaged by the time of Astle’s compilation. 1st and 4th: A lion rampant, the arms of Home; 2nd and 3rd: three papingos [popinjays], the arms of Pepdie. The legend reads, “S’ alexandri [dni de] homme” [The seal of Alexander, lord of Home]. The seal belonging to this particular lord of Home is not well-catalogued, with a description of it only appearing in MacDonald’s 1904 compilation (MacDonald 1904, 171 [no. 1363]).

No. 28, William, Sixth Earl of Errol

This seal is incorrectly identified as belonging to the earl of Errol (d.1522), when it seems more likely to belong to Lord Hay of Yester given the heraldic devices present on the quartered shield, although there are still some discrepancies between what we would expect in the quartered arms and what is represented here. As the earl of Errol is not listed as a witness and John Hay, Lord Hay of Yester is, it seems more likely that Astle misidentified this seal as belonging to the earl of Errol (RPS, A1516/7/1). This likely owes to the arms of Errol, three escuthcheons [shields] appearing in the surtout position on the shield. 1st and 4th quarters should be barry of six (plain and ermine). 2nd and 3rd quarters, should be three cinquefoils. Some of the flowers in the illustration are crudely rendered, with some having five points, where others have six. The surtout shield bears the arms of Hay, three escutcheons. The crest on the shield is a helmet on a wreath, with a ram head on a diapered background. Two naked men stand on either side of the shield, with hay forks, a star between the prongs of each. The legend is difficult to read in the illustration provided here. This may owe to the influence of Astle’s identification of the seal as belonging to William Hay, rather than John Hay. The legend should read, “S’ johannis dni hay de yeister” [The seal of John, Lord Hay of Yester]. The legend is decorated with foliage. The seal is only described in MacDonald’s catalogue, which referenced Astle’s plate illustration, as well as Astle’s source material. He also noted that the charges were somewhat uncertain in his description (MacDonald, 161 [no. 1281]).

No. 29, William de Eglis

“William de Eglis” is not listed among the witness (and sealers) of this document, so it seems likely that Astle misidentified this seal as well (RPS, A1516/7/1). Searches for an individual with this name has produced negative results in subsequent seal catalogues. The seal illustrated here is armorial, featuring a shield bearing a lion passant sinister [left], with the sinister [left] front leg raised. It is possibly guardant [facing forward], but the illustration does not provide enough level of detail to determine this. The legend is difficult to decipher, with only the beginning “S’ WIILMI” being distinguishable.

No. 30, William Scott of Balcary

The seal of William Scott of Balwearie is armorial, featuring a shield bearing three lion heads erased. The crest, on a helmet with mantling and wreath, is a lion jamb holding a dagger erect. The legend reads, “S VILLI SCOTTI DE BALVIRY MIL.” [The seal of William Scott Balwearie, knight]. The seal is not well-catalogued, only appearing in MacDonald’s text (MacDonald 1904, 300 [no. 2378]).

No. 31, Robert Balcader, Archbishop of Glasgow

Illustrations Nos. 31 and 32 are briefly described along with the document description by Joseph Bain in his Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland, vol. 4 (CDS, vol. 4, 336-7 [no. 1680]). The document, dated 24 January 1502, was part of the marriage negotiations between James IV of Scotland and Henry VII of England for James’s marriage to Henry’s daughter Margaret Tudor (see Plate 3.25, No. 6).

The seal is armorial, featuring a shield bearing on a chevron, three roses, the arms of Blacader [Blackadder]. The roses are indistinct in the illustration here. Above the shield is a cross. The legend reads, “ROBERTI GLASGVEN ARCHIEPI” [Roberti Gasguenensis Archiepiscopi; {The seal of} Robert, archbishop of Glasgow]. Astle noted that this was the privy seal of the bishop, which is supported by the simple design (Astle 1792, 38). This particular seal is well-catalogued by other antiquarians, appearing in Laing, Birch, and MacDonald (Laing 1866, 186 [no. 1081]; Birch 1887, 677 [no. 17,286]; MacDonald 1904, 20 [no. 174]). The British Library holds a plaster cast of the seal (BL, Seal CVII 55). The privy seal of the archbishop illustrated here might be compared to his other seal, even though MacDonald’s entry contains errors (Laing 1850, 167 [nos. 955, 956]; Birch 1887, 110 [no. 15,137]; MacDonald 1904, 20 [no. 172]). The archbishop would later perform the marriage ceremony of James IV and Margaret Tudor at Holyrood Abbey on 8 August 1503 (Macfarlane 2004).

No. 32, Andrew Forman, Prior of Pittenweem

Astle noted that the seal, illustrated here, was “apparently” the seal of Andrew Forman, prior of Pittenweem (Astle 1792, 38). He was not prior of Pittenween by 1502, rather he was in service to the see of Moray (McGladdery 2004). The seal is difficult to decipher, and subsequent cataloguers have provided varied interpretations of it. The device, if it’s heraldic, is not on a shield. It appears to be a label of three points, which differs from other descriptions of the seal. Bain suggested it was a wolf’s head erased, where MacDonald suggested a camel head, and a foliated background, which is not apparent at all in the illustration here (CDS, vol. 4, 337 [no. 1680]; MacDonald 1904, 118 [no. 955]). Laing suggested a calf’s head, also not apparent in the illustration here, which suggests that Astle may have made an error in the artistic rendering of the seal, given the disparate descriptions from later antiquarians (Laing 1866, 176 [no. 1041]). The cypher in the seal, as suggested by Astle, reads, “A E I P” (Astle 1792, 38). Other cataloguers have suggested “A F P,” which would expand to “Andrew Forman Postulate.”

No. 33, William, Master of Ruthven

The seal is attached to the charter regarding Margaret Tudor’s dower following her marriage to James IV (RPS, A 1504/3/147; CDS, vol. 4, 342 [no. 1706]), dated 24 May 1503/4.

The seal, illustrated here, belonged to William, master of Ruthven, who served as sheriff of Perth from 1501, his father occupied this post later after Ruthven died in the Battle of Flodden in 1513 (Penman 2004). The seal is armorial, featuring a shield at its center, bearing paly of six with a label of four points in chief. The legend is decorated with foliage between the “S” and reads, “S’ willelmi ruthven” [The seal of William Ruthven. The seal is described in Scottish seal catalogues (Laing 1866, 142 [no. 864]; MacDonald 1904, 295 [no. 2350]).

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