The seal of John Bull, Archdeacon of Barnstaple

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The seal of John Bull, Archdeacon of Barnstaple

In the 19th century the Archdeacons of the Diocese of Exeter still kept their houses in Exeter’s Cathedral Close and they still authenticated their transactions by using seals of office. This example, dated 1826, belonged to the patriotically-named John Bull, Archdeacon of Barnstaple; his coat of arms, three bulls’ heads, can be seem below the canopy.

The design is interesting in showing the sort of naïve gothic work commissioned by churchmen in the years just before the Gothic Revival began. Such work was soon to be replaced by much more scholarly works, imitating more precisely the fine works of the Middle Ages.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum