- Museum number
Cloth-mark; lead; (1): swan standing, inscribed around base; (2): eye-like mark; casting seam on back of first disc.
- Production date
- 18thC (?)
Diameter: 19 millimetres (both discs)
- Curator's comments
- The bird is a swan, which was added to the city's heraldry, from a play on the name (val au cygne) that is apparently first recorded in the late fourteenth century (though two opposed swans in the arms are somewhat later described as une invention nouvelle - Etienne Louis, pers. comm., citing Henri d'Outreman, writer of a history of Valenciennes, who died by 1605). The symbol on the second stamp is known locally as the `mark of the staple` (étaple) - information kindly supplied by Vincent Maliet; it also appears on medieval coins of Valenciennes and on weights tested for accuracy by the city's authorities (de Rochesnard & Lugan 1976, 280).
Several seals similar have been found in London, e.g. M.O.L. acc. nos. 1981.534/18, which has the impression of a fine, tabby-woven fabric, probably with a ribbed selvedge, 1981. 398/1 with impression of a similar fabric with c. 22 (?)weft threads per 10mm, 1988. 427/22, and D.U.A. VRY89 acc. no. 2779; another was excavated at the site of Barking Abbey to the east of the city (Passmore Edwards Museum acc. no. 1193, found with late sixteenth-/seventeenth-century pottery). A further, eighteenth-century, Valenciennes seal has been published from the site of an English military camp that was later occupied by the Americans in NEW York State, U.S.A. (Calver & Bolton 1950, 271-2 pl. 10 no. 2; cf. Sabatier 1912, 135 and 276 for one in France). The cheap, hard-wearing worsteds of Valenciennes rivalled those of Norfolk on the international market from the mid-sixteenth century (Thirsk 1978, 35-6); as late as 1679 a ban on French imports to England had the effect of boosting sales of norfolk stuffs in this country by keeping the main competitor out (Corfield 1972, 283).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number