Monument record WGD 011 - Chapel of St Faith and medieval seal matrix

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Site of "Church called the Chapel of St Faith and copper-alloy seal matrix possibly linked with the church


Grid reference Centred TM 2353 7856 (100m by 100m) (Approximate)
Map sheet TM27NW


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

Site of "Church called the Chapel of St Faith, which I believe stood in the field opposite to the turning known as Syleham Hall Lane; for a little more than a hundred years ago the last stones of an old ruin, which had apparently once been an ecclesiastical building, were removed from that very field', in Manor of Esham (S1).
Two buildings are shown on Hodskinson's 1783 map (S2). A single building is shown at cited grid reference on OS 1st ed (S3). In 1291 the benefice of a portion of St Faiths was valued at 10s (S4). Manor of Esham together with Chapel of St Faith was given by Alianore de Wingfield in 1362 to the College of Priests, which she had founded at Wingfield (WGD 007). Passed to crown in 1542.
For possible alternative location, see WGD 012.

An incomplete copper alloy seal matrix of Medieval date. It is flat, pointed-oval in shape and is missing the pierced lug or rib on the reverse, which appears to have been cast separately and attached to the back of the matrix. At the centre of the die is a decorative scene that depicts a stag or hart being hunted. A hound can be seen chasing the stag and there is a large arrow apparently piercing the stag's neck from behind. In front of the stag is a possible crouched or seated figure. the entire scene is contained within a pointed-oval beaded border. The decorative motif is perhaps a reference to an individual like St. Hubert, who was patron saint of archers, dogs, hunting and huntsmen, and who was himself supposed to have been a hunter before being told by a magnificent stag or hart to turn to God. The shape of the seal, too, may indicate a possible link with the clergy since seals of pointed oval shape were mostly used for women and priests. Around the outside of the decorative scene is an inscription that reads + SIGILLVM IOHANIS DECAM: (seal of John Decam or perhaps the surname is an abbreviation for decanum 'dean') (S5). Included in the Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History annual round up of individual finds and discoveries for 2008 (S6).

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <S1> (No record type): Aldwell S W H, A Short History of Syleham, ms, unpub, 1936, SRO, PRC 644, 4.
  • <M1> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: (Syleham) copy (S1).
  • <S2> Cartographic materials: Hodskinson, J.. 1783. The County of Suffolk surveyed.
  • <S3> (No record type): OS, 1 inch map (1st ed), sheet 55, 1837.
  • <S4> (No record type): SCC, Gault W, A Survey of Suffolk Parish History, 1990.
  • <S5> Digital archive: Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service. Portable Antiquities Database. SF-CA71D7.
  • <S6> Article in serial: Martin, E.A., Pendleton, C. & Plouviez, J.. 2009. Archaeology in Suffolk 2008. XXXXII (1).

Finds (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

May 25 2016 3:21PM

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