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Mottisfont seal matrix goes on display

The Mottisfont seal matrix is to go on public display at the National Trust site of Mottisfont, Hampshire. it was found at Lockerley, Hampshire in 2021, recorded at the PAS as HAMP-CE0EE2 and was our Featured Find in PAS Finds: week ended 20 August 2021. It was a Find of Note of County Importance.


The findspot is a couple of miles away from Mottisfont where an Augustinian priory was founded at Mottisfont in 1201 by William Briwere. The legend on the seal, reads sigillu officii prioris  (p’or – etas?)   Cce trinitat’ de moteCfont or  “seal of the […] prior of (the priory) of the Holy Trinity of Mottisfont.

The priory allegedly held a finger of John the Baptist and was an important Medieval pilgrimage location.


The will be displayed in the Red Bedroom of Mottisfont house (a National trust 18th century house) alongside other medieval objects found on the site. It’s claimed that this will make it the first seal of its type to be reunited with its original home.


The pope granted permission for the priory to sell pardons in return for money to support its work, as George Roberts, curator at the National Trusts explains:

sale of indulgences
Sale of Indulgences. circa 1530, woodcut by Jörg (Jeorg/Jan) Breu the Elder

“Pilgrims travelling between the great cathedrals at Salisbury and Winchester are likely to have passed Mottisfont and may well have stayed and worshipped with the community there.

All this was done to help secure a place in heaven after their death. However, before they could reach heaven, they believed they would need to spend time in purgatory to be purified.

By being able to sell indulgences, Mottisfont Priory could offer people a reduction in their time in purgatory – in effect, fast-tracking them to heaven. This of course came with a price, which was then used to support the priory’s finances”

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