Later Medieval

Medieval St John baptist pilgrim badge

This circular badge depicts the head of St John the Baptist. It is of the type sold as souvenirs at the major 13th century shrine of St John at Amiens Cathedral. The 4 rings enabled the badge to be sewn on to a hat, cloak or tunic. It is very unusual to find a badge with all stitching rings intact.

The badge bears an inscription identifying it as the sign of St John the Baptist. The back of the badge is decorated with a holy rood design. St John the Baptist was the patron saint of Perth during the Middle Ages. Indeed the town was known as Saint John’s toun, and is so marked on the 13th century Mappa Mundi, housed in Hereford Cathedral.

Medieval macehead

This macehead was found during the 1979 excavations in Kirk Close, Perth. It is a typical medieval macehead of a type found across Europe during the 12th to 14th centuries. The Perth example comes from a 14th century context. Maceheads such as this are generally seen as relatively high status weapons, though some may also have served a ceremonial function. The Perth example may have belonged to a baker-burgess for the purpose of watch and ward duties in the burgh.

Medieval toilet seat

This wooden toilet seat was found during the 1979 excavations in Kirk Close, Perth. It was found resting on a timber frame over a cess pit. Evidence suggests that the structure had been reduced in size and that originally there may have been two seats. Along one edge of the upper surface of is a band of decorative graffiti, most likely cut (with a knife) by a user of the seat to pass away the sitting-time.

Toilet seats such as this were common across a broad time range: some were still being used in outside toilets in the 19th century. Similar medieval examples have been excavated in York, Kings Lynn and Exeter. The Perth example dates to the 13th or 14th century.

Whitefriars seal matrix

This seal matrix was discovered during the 1983 excavations on the site of the medieval Carmelite Friary of Perth. It is vesica piscis shaped with a single suspension loop at the back. The front carries a scene of the Virgin Mary suckling the infant Christ above a kneeling friar beneath an arch. The inscription reads S’ PRIORIS: FRATRUM: CARMEL: DEPERT – the seal of the Prior of the Carmelite Friary of Perth. It probably dates to the late 13th or early 14th century.

Only five other such priors’ seals survive from Britain, all of them English. Other seals are known from Scottish Carmelite friaries (including Linlithgow and Aberdeen) but they are not specifically the seals of the priors of those houses. The Virgin Mary is depicted on the seal because she was the holy patron of the Carmelites.

Please help support us

We are incredibly grateful to all our donors, supporters and sponsors.

Donate