This matrix is the counterseal of the Abbot of Robertsbridge, head of a rich Cistercian monastery founded in Sussex in 1174.

Its loss in Norfolk has yet to be explained, although other non-local seals have been found before in the county. Norwich has a nationally significant seal matrix collection. Seals attributable to any monastery or monastic inmate are exceptionally rare. This matrix is also important as a representative example of the type of seal design chosen by a Cistercian, a monastic order known for their emphasis on austerity in artistic decoration. This work was acquired with the support of the Art Fund with the assistance of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.


Found by a metal detectorist in west Norfolk in February 2008.

Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

Castle Hill, Norwich, Norfolk, NR1 3JU
01603 493625

Opening times

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  • Sunday 1-4.30pm

(1 July – 23 September 2019 open until 5pm)

  • Closed on 24, 25, 26 December and 1 January
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