b'An ancient seal found in Bishop WiltonAndrew SeftonA n article in the Antiquary magazine, Vol. XLIVThe Archaeological Journal (xivii, 175) reviewed dated January-December 1908, entitled Notethe Malton amber find by saying A vesica-shaped on a Remarkable Seal found in Bishop Wilton,private seal of amber, mounted on a plain rim of Yorkshire caught my eye when Googling thesilver, with a suspended loop attached. It was found internet for Bishop Wilton references. The articlein a stone coffin at Old Malton Priory. The lettering, was written by the vicar of Wetwang, the Rev. Maulesomewhat rude Lombardic, shows it to be thirteenth Cole, who in January 1891 had received a letter fromcentury. The emblems engraved on the seal are a Mr. A. Henderson, which enclosed a sealing-waxfish, a tree, a bird, and a lion. The legend runs thus: impression of a vesica-shaped seal, representingSecretum signum fons piscis, avis, leo, lignum. certain emblems. It was picked up by a farmer in aThe material of the seal makes this example of an field whilst ploughing. At the bottom were three wavyecclesiastical seal of peculiar interest, and it is at lines (such as occur in the arms of the Sykes family,present believed to be unique.and represent springs of water); above these is a fish,He sent the seal to the Society of Antiquities in then a tree, upon which is perched a bird standing onScotland and got the following reply:a branch, whilst on the right is shown a lion rampant.The two seals you describe are exceedingly Both bird and lion are looking to the top of the tree, oninteresting, and so far as my knowledge goes, which Cole concluded was a heart shaped emblemthey are unparalled among the recorded seals of like a fruit. However, this could be a Mitre, such as theScottish origin. I submitted your letter to Mr. W. Rae Archbishop would wear. Around the seal (Fig.1) areMacdonald, who has an extensive collection of notes the words: S MICHAEL DE ABBERDENE of Scottish seals, and has long studied the subject. Rev. Cole sent the seal to the editor of theHe never met with anything like the peculiar imagery Antiquary magazine who replied that there were onlyon these seals, and is at a loss to suggest its probable two in existenceone found in an old grave at Oldmeaning and derivation. In a further letter he was also Malton, made of amber, and now this second one inunable to say anything definite about the curious seal the possession of Mr Nightingale of Bishop Wilton,of Michael of Aberdeen.made of bronze. Rev. Cole goes on to interpret the meaning with his The legend on the Malton seal (Fig.2) however isown ideas, that the design could be a representation different, it reads:W SIGN FS PISCIS AVIS LEOof the Creation - possibly Masonic - referring to the LIGN great architect of the universe, the giver of life. We This Latin inscription clearly interprets the emblemshave at the bottom water, the sea, upon which the which are also on the Bishop Wilton seal, the onlyspirit of God brooded, and brought forth lifefirst difference being that the wavy lines at the bottomfish, then birds; subsequently, following the Mosaic of the latter are replaced by a sort of water-can withaccount, which was all that was known in the streams of water coming out on either side. thirteenth century, the earth brought forth the fruit tree, yielding fruit after its kind, and then the beast of the earththe lion.Cole also concludes that the letter S in the Bishop Wilton seal, preceding the word Michael, does not mean saint but signum (or seal). The question remains on the Bishop Wilton one, who is Michael of Aberdeen? Is this proof that the Scots did indeed reach Bishop Wilton, and that it was the Scottish raids which brought an end to the Archbishops palace at Wilton?Fig.1 Fig.2306 BULLETIN 16'