Wednesday 24 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #12

Hooray! It is Christmas Eve! We've had 20 mini Celebrations already and have sang 'Mistletoe & Wine' to each other at least thrice.

Today's lovely seal is taken from our Baikie of Tankerness collection. It is another burgess and guild brother ticket, this time for the Burgh of Aberdeen. It was presented to James Baikie of Tankerness on the 5th September 1733.

We thought it looked particularly festive with it's swishy red ribbon and we like that the seal itself looks like a jammy dodger.

Merry Christmas !

Oh! We almost forgot! Here's a final festive treat for you. Old, waxy seals are not the only kind of seal you know. There is the singing kind as well. Enjoy:

Orkney Archive reference: D24/9/122

Sunday 21 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #11

Our penultimate seasonal seal is taken from our Sheriff Court collection. It is taken from an envelope (with no letter within) which is addressed to James Robertson. No date or other information are available.

It is a lovely, simple seal with nymph-like creatures either side of a shield with urns on their heads and garlands around their waists.

Orkney Archive reference: SC/11/86/12/2a/29

Friday 19 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #10

Still seals, but this time, they are sketches of Orcadian seals made by Hugh Marwick.

Mr Marwick was a Rousay born historian, archaeologist and teacher.  He was rector of Kirkwall Grammar School for 15 years and published works on Orcadian place names which we still use constantly in the archive.He was born in 1881 and died in 1965.

We like to draw seals too.

Orkney Archive Reference D29/2/3

Wednesday 17 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #9

Another Royal Seal today, that of George II. This, quite frankly enormous, seal is attached to a gift of £200 per year out of the rents and revenues of the Bishopric of Orkney. The recipient was Sholto Charles Douglas, Lord Aberdour. The document is dated 26th February 1754.
According to the National Archive's wonderful Currency Converter, this would be a yearly income equivalent to £14,958 in 2005's money.
Orkney Archive Reference: D38/2323

Monday 15 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #8

Ooooh, this one is a beauty! Taken from a certificate of admittance to the fraternity of Masters and Seamen of Dundee, it is still a lovely, rich red and has a crisp 'dundee' printed underneath an image of a ship.

And look, the ribbon threads right through the certificate.Why does this excite us so? Ahh yes, because we are nerds.


SEAL:  Ooh, the more I get of you, the stranger it feels, yeah!
And now that your rose is in bloom,
A light hits the gloom on the gray!

ARCHIVER: (Grabbing the microphone)Now that your rose is in bloooooom,
A light hits the gloooooom ooooon theeee graaaaay....

DUSTY: (softly) Ba-da-da, ba-da-da-da-da-daaaaaa

Orkney Archive Reference: D28/4/2/3

Saturday 13 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #7

Taken from the Baikie of Tankerness collection, this seal is sadly incomplete. It is, however, totally awesome as it bears the crowned head of a king with sword arm aloft.

SEAL: (grudgingly) That is pretty cool.

Orkney Archive Reference; D24/3/105

Friday 12 December 2014

Stop & Bop

It is most definitely time for a Friday Bop. The hideous weather (we had THREE DAYS of thunder and lightning and it is STILL rubbish today) demands it.

But we're all sick of Christmas songs already right? And yet this kind of weather creates a need for something seasonal and at the same time heart-warming and jolly doesn't it?

What could fit the bill?!


Oh let's just stop work altogether and listen to Aztec Camera all day long:

Thursday 11 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #6

Our sixth festive seal is taken from a charter dated 1594 by George Balfour and is in Scots.

We quite like it because it reminds us a bit of a jam tart.

SEAL: *high-pitched voice* We quite like it 'cos it's like a jam tart!

SEAL: I could have given you so much Orkney Archive. Remember this bad boy? Of course you do, everyone does, it's a flippin' CLASSIC:

Orkney Archive Reference: D1/1030/3

Tuesday 9 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #5

Three Seals at once!

Orkney Archive Reference D1/1030/1 is a Charter dated 1566 by Alexander Deik, provost of the Cathedral of Orkney,in favour of Gilbert Balfour of certain lands in South Ronaldsay. The document is in Latin.

It looks like two seals belonging to Adam Bothwell, then Bishop of Orkney, have been attached.

SEAL: Has Adam Bothwell been married to a supermodel? I doubt it! Amateurs.

ARCHIVER & DUSTY: *soothingly* Shhhhhhhh. Hush now.

Orkney Archive Reference: D1/1030/1

Sunday 7 December 2014

The 12 seals of Christmas #4

A Royal Seal this time, that of King Charles II to be exact. It is attached to a charter of ratification in favour of Henry Graham of Breckness, confirming his lands in Stromness, Sandwick, Orphir and Kirkwall and St Ola.

The date is April 1669 and, like most of these documents, the material is vellum. The seal is known as the Virginia Seal.

SEAL: Have any of your stupid seals ever performed at a ROYAL Variety Show?!!

ARCHIVER: *patiently* No, Seal.

Orkney Archive Reference: D3/419/5

Friday 5 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #3

SEAL: I've told my mum about how you tricked me and she says it's really unfair!

ARCHIVER: Not now Seal. We're working.

SEAL: Yeah, working at ruining others' self -esteem...

ARCHIVER: Oh come now, have a Twix.


Today's fab seal is another burgess ticket, this time for the burgh of Wick in favour of Robert Baikie of Tankerness. The date is 4th November 1878.

The Wick seal is lovely, a wee townscape of buildings beside the shore.

Orkney Archive Reference: D24/9/131

Wednesday 3 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #2

This beauty is attached to a precept of clare constat (a deed in which a superior acknowledges that it 'clearly appears' that someone is heir to landed property held of the superior) by George, Bishop of Orkney, in favour of Robert Elphinstone as heir to Rany Elphinstone, his father, of the half pennyland of Hamagar in Cairston in the sheriffdom of Orkney.

Dated 17th September 1616. Orkney Archive Reference D1/792

This seal is heavy and rounded at the back with a thick layer of yellowing wax. The arms shown are those of the Graham clan: a seal quartered by roses and scallops.

DUSTY: Hey Archiver.

ARCHIVER: Hey Dusty.

DUSTY: Seal told me to tell you that he's really upset and that he's still willing to appear on the blog if you say sorry to him.

ARCHIVER: I'm sorry about the confusion but there's no room for him this advent. *shouts* Sorry Seal!

SEAL: *behind door* You will be! I notice none of your poxy wax seals had a Batman movie theme-tune. You're pathetic!

DUSTY: Maybe give him a bit of time. I'll give him a twix.

Monday 1 December 2014

The 12 Seals of Christmas #1



ARCHIVER: It's almost Christmas time, Seal.

SEAL: Indeed. Gets here faster every year doesn't it?

ARCHIVER: We usually celebrate advent on the blog and I've got a nifty idea for 2014.

SEAL: *listening face*

ARCHIVER: Well. You know how we love us a seal here at the archives?

SEAL: *blushes*

ARCHIVER: We were thinking of having a '12 seals of Christmas'. A different seal for every couple of days. You know, a fancy seal, an informal seal, a 19th century seal...

SEAL: *eagerly*- a 'Crazy' Seal!

ARCHIVER: Exactly, all the different kinds. Do you mind doing us a favour?

SEAL: Of course not! Anything! This is really exciting! Thanks so much for thinking of me!

ARCHIVER: Could you perhaps print out a list of documents with seals attached from our catalogue and then get them out for me? My bunions are playing up.

SEAL: *.......*

ARCHIVER: Did you hear me?

SEAL: *sulkily* - You mean wax seals? On bits of old letters?

ARCHIVER: Yes of course. Why, what did you think I was talking about? Seal? Seal? SEAL!

Oh well, better crack on:

Seal number 1 is attached to a Burgh of Kirkwall burgess ticket in favour of Mr John Geddes, druggist in Kirkwall.

Its date is the 4th of November 1862 and it was gifted to the archive in 1986.

A burgess ticket was originally granted to an inhabitant of a burgh who owned land. It was later restricted to merchants and craftsmen and later still could be presented to outsiders who had performed a service for the burgh. One needed a burgess ticket to practise a trade or vote in elections.

This seal is kept inside its own round, little, metal case which is awesome.

Orkney Archive Reference D1/85/4