‘Protect me who gave thee birth’: Thomas Becket on medieval London seals

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The image of Thomas Becket on the reverse of the medieval Common Seal of London is doubtless familiar to readers from the seal’s frequent depiction. Indeed, along with Becket’s appearance next to St Paul on the seals of the Mayoralty, this striking image has elicited scholarly comment over the years (for example Pedrick 1904, 85; Cherry 2015, 283—4; New 2015).1 Further reflection on Thomas’s role on these key expressions of civic authority is however merited, as is an exploration of the use of the saint’s image on other official and personal seals from medieval London and to celebrate his birth in the city 900 years ago. This article aims to provide such an exploration, and in particular to consider how corporate and official seals articulated the role of the saint in consolidating and expressing civic identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-214
Number of pages11
JournalTransactions of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


  • London
  • medieval seals
  • medieval politics
  • Material Culture Studies


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