Excerpt from Seals and Documents
If England thus provides the first examples of this mode of sealing, it has also the distinction of inventing the double seal pendent, the prototype of the Great Seal of all the ages after. This is found under Edward the Confessor; the seal an... d counterseal have different designs, and the seal is pendent upon strings. I have long been of Opinion and here, though I arrived at the conclusion independently, I am glad to find myself anticipated by Mr. Stevenson 1 - that this seal was not a new invention but merely a modification of the papal bull adapted to a different material. King Edward's seal, indeed, though very small, judged by the standard of later Great Seals - it had a diameter of less than three inches - was more than twice the size of the hull of that time, and unlike the bull it bore the royal effigy on both sides. But its origin is manifest, and it is strange that no one until Mr. Stevenson has drawn attention to its origin. The Benedictines indeed speak of the mode of hanging the seal as derived from the papal bull,a but they omit to notice the other important point about the seal itself, that; unlike previous wax seals, it had two sides; it was a coin seal Such a seal so used has no earlier example. It is true that, as Mabillon observed,3 we find double seals in the Lombard principalities of Southern Italy from the end of the ninth century; these were evidently modelled on Byzantine bulls, which they resemble in size: but they were not pendent to the document, the two sides were impressed separately one above the other.' It is the hanging double seal which is the peculiar invention of Edward the Confessor.
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