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Papal Bulla of Nicholas IV

Steve Smith said this find turned up a while back during a dig organised by Midweek Searchers. It has been recorded with the PAS but Steve thought I might like to feature it on this website.

The find is a lead papal bulla, which is 38mm in diameter. On the obverse are two heads turned towards each other with SPA SPE above. The letters stand for St. Paul and St. Peter. On the reverse, in three lines, is nICO LAVS PPIIII. Therefore, this papal bulla bears the name of Nicholas IV, who became Pope in 1288 and died in 1292.

These things are said to have been attached by a cord to a document issued by a Pope. They are not particularly uncommon as detecting finds, which seems to suggest that the head of the Catholic Church sent an almost continuous stream of documents to archbishops, bishops and abbots in England.

When found by detectorists most examples are damaged in some way or other. However, Steve’s find proves that at least a few of them do turn up in very good condition.

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