Medieval seal found outside St Andrews

The seal matrix
The seal matrix
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A historical seal found by a person with a metal detector outside St Andrews last year has been listed as one of Scotland’s most important finds.

The report of the Treasure Trove Panel lists the rare medieval artefact as being among the top dozen archaeological finds across Scotland,

The medieval seal matrix was found to be connected to William de Lamberton, Bishop of St Andrews (1297-1328) and an ally of Robert the Bruce from the time of the Wars of Independence.

It was discovered by a metal detector enthusiast at Boarhills near St Andrews and was awarded to Fife Cultural Trust museums through the national Treasure Trove scheme.

Visitors to Methil Heritage Centre can currently see the seal matrix as part of the ‘Digging Deeper’ exhibition which runs there until August 27.

Matrices were used to impress seals on charters and other documents. This is a previously unknown seal of de Lamberton and is thought to be the only surviving matrix. The design is full of symbolism which identifies the bishop and stamps his authority.

The purchase of the seal matrix was funded by grants from The Friends of Kirkcaldy Galleries, the Art Fund and the Museums Association.

Margaret Simpson, chairman of The Friends of Kirkcaldy Galleries, said: “We were pleased to be able to use funding from The Friends as a 50 per cent contribution towards the purchase of this object which can be enjoyed and researched by future generations of visitors to museums in Fife.”

Archaeological finds are part of huge jigsaw and each piece can help us understand more about our past, and the Methil Heritage Centre exhibition has been put together through excavations, field walking, metal detecting and the help of Treasure Trove.

Digging Deeper looks at the importance of archaeology and showcases a selection of fascinating objects from Fife Cultural Trust’s museums. As well as the seal matrix, it includes Bronze Age funeral urns and Roman brooches, Viking silver and Medieval pilgrim badges.

The centre is open from Tuesdays to Thursdays 11am-4.30pm and Saturdays 1pm-4.30pm. Admission free.