01.08 Medieval Seal For ThorLongus

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This vesica-shaped seal of Thor Longus is among the oldest extant of a Scottish layman. Neither the shape nor the design, of a seated man with his sword, follows the pattern common in twelfth-century England.

The original is in the Treasury at Durham, with a seal.[1]

The seal: "Effigies hominis sedentis, nudi caput, tenentis capulum gladii in dextra et laminam ejusdem in sinistra. Haec autem est sigilli inscriptio Thor Me Mittit Amico." It is a 'breve' addressed by Thor Longus to his dearest lord, David the Earl, repeating his gift to the monks of St. Cuthbert, and requesting Earl David to confirm the grant.[2]

... The subject of the mottoes and devices cannot be passed unnoticed. It is of considerable interest, well deserving the attention of the archaeologist, for as such Seals were probably intended not for official or public purposes, but for private and confidential intercourse, they become valuable and interesting evidences of individual taste, or of the feelings or sentiments prevalent at the time. Thus, the very early seal of Thor Longus, (eleventh century, of which unfortunately there is no impression in this Collection,) having the motto, " Thor Me Mittit Amico," and the Seals of the Dunbars, (Nos. 287-293,) are pretty examples of individual friendly intercourse, and even the more tender sentiment is observable on those of the latter. The very pretty Seal of Alexander III., (No. 15,) "esto Prudens Ut Serpens Et Simplex Sicut COLUMBA," may well indicate the prudent policy of that able monarch.[3]

Henry Laing

Note
Thorlongus is believed to be the grandfather of Thoraldus de Strivelyn vicecomes de Strivelyn by his son Sweyn.


  1. It was printed in Smith's Bede, p. 763 ; facsimile in Anderson's Diplom., 1.x1x. ; Raine, N. Durham, App., p. 38, No. CLXtt.; National MSS. of Scotland, No. x1v.
  2. EARLY SCOTTISH CHARTERS PRIOR TO A.D. 1153 Collected, with Notes and an Index, by Sir Archibald C. Lawrie Glasgow, James MacLehose and Sons Publishers to the University 1905
  3. Descriptive catalogue of impressions from ancient Scotish seals, royal, baronial, ecclesiastical, and municipal, embracing a period from A.D. 1094 to the commonwealth, Published 1850



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