From the middle ages until the first part of the 19th century, when Shepton Mallet was famous for the manufacture of woollen cloth, every cloth was marked with a seal which pierced one corner. The seal was the maker’s assurance of quality and gave the buyer the assurance that the cloth was the legal size.
The seals were different in shape, material and/or form for different makers and many have been found throughout the country. This seal was found in the Shepton suburb of Bowlish and its two parts are made from lead and ceramic. The spigot on the ceramic disc was pushed through the cloth and secured with the lead part.
There were literally thousands of cloths made over the centuries, so it’s possible more seals will be found around the town. If you go hunting and find one, please photograph it and record exactly where you found it. This will help build picture of just what went on where in our town. Oh, and please tell us!