1794 Land Purchase Yorkshire, England

Look at what we’ve uncovered. A business transaction that took place in 1794 in York, England. The transaction was the exchange of property. You can see official Registrar seal, as well as the three individual wax seal stamps of the three individuals involved in the transaction. The document is written on vellum, fine parchment made from the skin of a calf, a common practice in the 18th century.  The use of wax seals did not begin until the Middle Ages. At first they were the exclusive purview of monarchs, bishops, and royal courts for use in issuing official decrees and authenticating documents. The use of wax seals then gradually became more democratized, spreading from aristocrats, to monasteries and guilds (for example, butchers would sign agreements with a seal bearing the image of a hog or cow), and eventually to ordinary freemen by the 13th century. Each individual had their own seal, and in a time when many were illiterate, they were used in place of a signature to authenticate agreements, contracts, wills, letters which conferred rights or privileges – any act executed in someone’s name.

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