Medieval seals task 2

Task 2

2. From around 1369, Gerald fitz Maurice, the earl of Desmond, who held lands in southern and western parts of Ireland, attached his personal seal to this document. He was working for the king in Ireland as the chief governor and was supposed to be paid £500 each year. In the document he says that he has received some of the money at the Dublin exchequer, which held the king’s money in Ireland. Catalogue ref: E 213/169i

  • Can you use the TNA calculator to work out how much £500 would mean today?
  • Why do you think he received only part of the money?
  • Why do you think he had this document written?
  • Why might he want to prove that he has been paid?

Now look carefully at Gerald fitz Maurice’s seal. Notice the shields on the seal which show the saltire cross of his relatives in the fitz Gerald family. The fitz Gerald family was significant in Ireland too. They had been heavily involved in the English invasion there in 1169.

  • Why do you think Gerald fitz Maurice refers to his relatives in the design of his seal two centuries later?
  • What do you think this design reveals about Gerald fitz Maurice?
  • What does this seal reveal about medieval times?