Wikipedia

This text was copied from Wikipedia on 25 April 2015 at 6:01AM.

A privy seal refers to the personal seal of a reigning monarch, used for the purpose of authenticating official government documents.

Privy Seal of England

The Privy Seal of England can be traced back to the reign of King John. It has been suggested that it was originally the seal that accompanied the person of the Sovereign, while the Great Seal was required to remain in the Chancery. Eventually it became a requirement that almost no non-judicial document could pass under the Great Seal without a warrant from the Privy Seal.[1] The Barons wrested control of the Privy Seal away from the King by 1312 and it was replaced by the signet as the King's personal seal. The Privy Seal became the heart of a second writing office and clearing house, with warrants being sent to the Chancery and Exchequer under orders made with the Signet.[2]

Prior to its adoption as the Privy Seal of the United Kingdom after the Act of Union 1707, its most notable appearance in Scottish history was its alleged capture by the Scots in the aftermath of the Battle of Old Byland in 1322, when the Scots led by Robert the Bruce almost captured Edward II, who was forced to flee, leaving behind many personal possessions including the Privy Seal.

The Great Seal Act 1884 effectively ended the use of the Privy Seal by providing that it was no longer necessary for any instrument to be passed under the Privy Seal.

The Privy Seal of England was originally kept by the controller of the wardrobe, but by 1323 the distinct office of Keeper of the Privy Seal had emerged. The present-day title of this office, Lord Privy Seal, is first recorded in 1539.

Privy Seal of Scotland

There was also a separate Privy Seal of Scotland, which existed from at least the reign of Alexander III.

Article XXIV of the Treaty of Union provided that

the Privy Seal ... now used in Scotland be continued But that the said Seals be altered and adapted to the State of the Union as Her Majesty shall think fit And the said Seals and all of them and the Keepers of them shall be subject to such regulations as the Parliament of Great Britain shall hereafter make...

The Seal was last used in 1898 to execute the commission appointing the Rev. James Cooper to a Regius Chair at the University of Glasgow, but has never been abolished. The office of Keeper of the Privy Seal has not been filled since the death of the Marquess of Breadalbane in 1922.

Privy Seal of Japan

References

  1. ^ JE Sayers The English Royal Chancery:Structure and Productions
  2. ^ JE Sayers The English Royal Chancery:Structure and Productions

11 Annotations

Pauline  •  Link

From http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/

PRIVY SEAL, a seal of the United Kingdom, next in importance to the great seal, and occupying an intermediate position between it and the signet. The authority of the privy seal was principally of a two-fold nature. It was a warrant to the lord chancellor to affix the ‘great seal to such patents, charters, &c., as must necessarily pass the great seal (more particularly letters patent (q.v.). It was also the authority required for the issue of money from the exchequer, and was appended to documents of minor importance which did not require the great seal. Previous to the Great Seal Act 1884, all letters patent conferring any dignity, office, monopoly, franchise or other privilege were always passed under the privy seal before passing under the great seal.

Lord Privy Seal is the title of the officer who had the custody of the privy seal. He was originally known as the “keeper of the privy seal.” The importance of the office was due to the desire of the privy council and the parliament in the I4th and 15th centuries to place some check on the issue of public money, as well as to prevent the use of the great seal by the sovereign without any intermediary except the lord chancellor. The lord privy seal first appears as a minister of state in the reign of Edward III. Until 1537 he was always an ecclesiastic, but is now more usually a temporal lord. He is the fifth great officer of state, and takes rank next after the president of the council and before all dukes.

vincent  •  Link

men in charge :
Baron, Hartgill 1660-1673
Castle, John 1638-[1646]; 1660-1664
Montagu, Edward (created Earl of Sandwich 12 July 1660) 1660-1672
Watkins, William 1643-[1646]; 1660-1662

http://www.history.ac.uk/office/privyseal.htmlC... of the Privy Seal c. 1537-1851
"The four Clerks of the Privy Seal were appointed by the crown by letters patent under the great seal from 1537. the Tenure was for life until 1814 ...."

Paul Brewster  •  Link

According to an L&M footnote “the clerks of the Privy Seal took duty for a month at a time.” SP describes the first such changeover in the entry for 31 July 1660. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/07/31/
The L&M companion says that the clerkship “called for Pepys’s attendance only one month in each quarter and then only at sealing days and for a few hours during the work week.” The phrase one month in each quarter may be in error. With 4 clerks it would seem that it would be one month in every four.

vincent  •  Link

It appears the Actual Signet Ring is held by the Lord Chancellor: see Hyde for reference:

dirk  •  Link

The 4 Royal Seals

"The *signet* was the smallest of the four royal seals, and being smallest, was used for the most routine business. The *Great Seal* would be used for charters, treaties, grants of land, commissions to high officers of the Crown and other major state documents; the *privy or secret seal* was originally used for royal orders or brieves, but later came to be used for such things as grants of moveable property and grants of minor officer the *quarter seal* was used for more routine administrative documents and warrants for the use of the Great Seal, in fact for much the same purposes as the privy seal had been originally used, and the *signet* was used simply for the private letters and order by the king to his "sheriffs in that pairt" ordering them to carry out a specific function; it was thus used to authenticate orders by the king's court to its functionaries for the administration of the law, in summoning people to court or in carrying out one of the legal diligences against them. Such letters were prepared by writers to the signet."
From:
http://www.scan.org.uk/researchrtools/glossary_...

Susanne M. Stewart  •  Link

I have a privy seal and can't seem to find out information as to it's age or value. I can supply a picture if anyone is interested in this item.

Bill  •  Link

Privy Seal Office, Whitehall. An office under the government of the Lord Privy Seal, a great officer, next in dignity to the Lord President of the Council, who keeps the King's privy seal, which is set to such grants as pass the great seal of England. The Lord Privy Seal has a salary of 3000l. per annum. Under him are three Deputies, a Secretary, and three Clerks; but these Clerks have no salaries; they have however considerable fees, and 30l. a year board wages.
---London and Its Environs Described. R. Dodsley, 1761.

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