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The Proceedings of the Society during
the year 1911.
The year 1911 must always remain a memorable one. To Norwich has fallen more than its share of remarkable events, and, under these circunstances, it might have been expected that our Society would bave been forced into the background. The facts are quite the contrary. No less than five General Meetings have been held, that is to say, the Annual Meeting, two Excursions, aud, practically, two Lectures. The introduction of motor cars for the conveyance of those who take part in the excursions marks the beginning of a new era. Moreover, we issue the first part of Vol. XVIII. of the Society's Publications.
As long ago as June, 1909, the Committee decided that in future a resumé of the Proceedings of the Society should be published with each annual part, but, for technical rensons, it was afterwards considered desirable to postpone the effect of the resolution until the commencement of a new volume. In making this departure from established custom, the Committee invites the co-operation of private Members, asking them to forward to the Hon. Editorial Secretary photographs or drawings of buildings visited during the excursions, or of their contents or details, for the purpose of illustrating the Proceedings of the Society. Obviously, it will only be possible to reproduce a limited number, and the choice of the best and most suitablo subjects must rest with the Committee. It may be mentioned that thanks are due to our members, Mr. E. M. Beloe for a photograph of the seals of some of the Bishops of Norwich, to the Rev. W. Martin for one of the Manor House at East Barsham, to Mr. C. H. Tyndall for those of the Pilgrims' Chapel at Houghton, which accompany this report, as well as for that of the monument at West Dereham, and to Miss A. H. Brown for the illustrations of Cawston and Sall Churches. The Committee will be greatly assisted by the clergy and others who kindly read papers at the General Meetings handing in their remarks, or a summary of them, for publication Members are
also invited to communicate any archæological discoveries which come to their knowledge, and an endeavour will be made to record them, either in the Minute Book or in the Annual Report. It would be preferable if the communication were accompanied with a short description suitable for insertion in the Original Papers of the Society. Of late years the papers we have received have been exceptionally long, and we think it advisable to inform members and others that the offers of papers containing 500 words or so will be favourably entertained by the Committee.
Wednesday, February 8th, 1911.
time in the New Year, when a letter was read from
Sir William Carington, K.C.V.O., stating that His Majesty the King was graciously pleased to become Patron of the Society.
Thursday, March 9th.
Castle Museum. The President being absent from home, by special invitation the chair was taken by Archdeacon Westcott, whose pupil Mr. Beloe had been at Rugby.
The lecture was admirably illustrated with lantern slides prepared by Mr. Beloe himself. He pointed out that signet rings were used by all the civilized nations of antiquity, referring to the biblical mention of Ahab's ring, and that though in England seals did not become frequent until Norman times, the bronze sual of Ethelbert, Bishop of Dunwich, circa 850, which was dug up at Eye, may be seen at the British Museum. (Norf. Arch., vol. 1, 307).
Edward the Confessor, whose Norman proclivities are well known, was the first Monarch to use the pendant seal, that is to say, one attached to a charter by means of a silken cord or slip of parchment. By this method the designer was no longer tied down to a small compass and the size of seals rapidly increased with the result that we have a splendid series of royal seals from Edward the Confessor to George V.
With regard to Episcopal Seals, Mr. Beloe went on to say that there is a record of all those of the Bishops of Norwich and an impression of most of them. (Norf. Arch., vol. 1, 308 et seq.). On these there is frequently found a rhyming Latin verse, as on the counter seal of Thomas de Blumville, 1226-36, EST THOME SIGNUM VIRCO FAC HUNC
“ This is the seal of Thomas, O Virgin make him worthy of theo” (fig. 6). The counter seal of John Salmon, 1299-1325, has the simple rhyme : MATER DEI MEMENTO MEI (fig. 5).
This custom ceased at the close of the thirteenth century, and afterwards heraldry asserted itself. The earliest heraldic seal of a
TIBI DIGNUM :
Bishop of Norwich is that of Antony de Bec, 1337-43, which displays at the foot a cross moline within a bordure engrailed (fig. 4), while the seal of Bishop Bec of Durham shows a similar cross upon his breast. Bec's successor at Norwich, William Bateman, 1343-55, also placed his coat of arms, a crescent within a bordure engrailed, at his feet (fig. 3). From his time a shield has invariably occurred on either side of the episcopal seal, and Henry Despenser, 1370-1406, instituted the usage of inserting the arms of the See on the shield on his right and his personal arms on that on his left (fig. 2). Among others, the seal of. William de Middleton, 1278-88, was also exbibited by Mr. Beloe. It bears the legend : WILLELMUS DEI GRA NORWICENSIS EPS (fig. 1).
He further explained the usefulness of the rebus in an illiterate age giving that of Bishop Walter Lyhert, a hart lying upon water, as an illustration; and told how Richard I. having lost his seal while a prisoner jin Germany, and being in need of money on his release, enforced a confirmation of the charters impressed with his lost seal. So Richer de Refham, who had likewise lost his seal, caused a proclamation to be made in the London Court of Hustings that he would no longer be bound by it.
After describing the corporation seals of Norwich and Lynn, Mr. Beloe mentioned that the seal of delivery of wool and hides for Norwich and part of that for Lynn were in the British Museum, and concluded his lecture with some account of the seals at Hunstanton Hall, and of local books dealing with seals.
The President, Mr. G. A. King, and several members of the Norwich Science Gossip Club were present by invitation, and light refreshients were provided at the expense of the Society.
Wednesday, April 26th.
COMMITTEE On April 26th, at a meeting of the Committee, MEETING. the Cartulary of Blackborough Nunnery, belonging
to Mr. John Henry Gurney was exhibited. It was expliu.nce that the owner was willing that it should be published in full or in extracts as might appear preferable, and, after some discussion, the matter was referred to the Publication Committee. (At the recoin mendation of the Sub-Committee the entire book was photographed, and Mr. Gurney very generously contributed £5 towards the expenses).
Mr. Tingey exhibited the impression of the private seal of Roger Bigod, fourth Earl of Norfolk, which was described and illustrated in the Society's Transactions in 1854. After being long untraceable it came into the possession of Mr. Tiugey last year. (He has now restored it to the l'itch Collection, to which it undoubtedly once belonged).