Rare Archbishop of Canterbury counter seal matrix dating back 800 years found

A rare counter seal matrix used by a former Archbishop of Canterbury around 800 years ago is coming up for auction.

It has been identified as the counter seal of Robert Kilwardby (AD 1215-1279), who served as Archbishop of Canterbury between AD 1273-1279.

Alan Smith, head of Hansons' Historica department, said: "It's a remarkable historical find. The seal shows a detailed portrayal of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. The scene depicts a kneeling Thomas Becket being approached by four knights, two with their swords unsheathed, and a monk, Edward Grim, standing over holding a crozier. Both Thomas Becket and Edward Grim are being struck by the two swords.

"It bears the inscription 'AD V P M PRO ME SIT SEMPER PASSIO THOME' which means 'In obedience to Christ, let the martyrdom of Thomas always be before me'.

The seal is due to be sold in Hansons Historica, Coins and Banknotes Auction on February 25-26. To find out more, email [email protected]

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