This seal is one of two six-part seals (meaning it has six plates, though one plate is missing here) in the Jamestown collection. The seals are almost identical and appear to be alnage seals. Alnage was a form of tax on saleable textiles and the alnager was an Officer of the Crown. So, finding an alnage seal would indicate governmental involvement in the inspection. They also typically have the crest of the current monarch, which is a useful chronological marker.
One of the inner plates features a simplified version of the Royal Coat of Arms first implemented by King James I, who ruled from 1603-1625. It consists of a shield divided into four quarters. The upper left and lower right quadrants each feature six lions and six fleur-di-lis, the upper right a rampant lion to represent Scotland, and the lower left an Irish harp for Ireland.
The other marked inner plate is stamped with “CH LENOX”. Beginning in 1605, the Dukes and Duchesses of Lennox and Richmond held the national patent for farming of alnage. Originally, the alnage system was designed to collect the taxes on inspected textiles and seize those that didn’t meet the quality control standards in regards to the measurements. The alnager would appoint deputies throughout the country to conduct the inspection and sealing. The “CH” on our seals likely refers to the initials of the local deputy alnager. The system was eventually dissolved in 1724 for being corrupt and ineffective.
Though they were excavated twenty-four years apart, the two six-part seals were both recovered from features proximally near and contemporaneous to the East Bulwark Trench. One seal was excavated in 1997, the other was found in 2021. The four outer plates are the attachment plates and are characterized by a rivet and rove attachment style, while the two inner plates have the stamped markings. Additionally, this particular seal looks like someone has attempted to pry it open before discarding it.