Armorial Bearings granted to Robert Lord alias Laward of London in 1510; College of Arms MS L10 folio 105b; copyright of the College of Arms, London. Used by permission.

The Owner of the Seal?

The seal as used in 1669.


The seal as used in 1669.


The question arises from the examination of the wax impression on Dorothy Lord's 1669 Will whose seal was this that made that imprint over 300 years ago? To whom did the signet ring or stamp originally belong? Although used by, or for, Dorothy to validate her "Marke," it certainly was not made for her.

Salisbury (1892), repeating the Heraldic Journal (1866) and apparently without fear of contradiction, surmises the seal used by Dorothy Lord to seal her Will "doubtless had been her husband's." It would certainly be reasonable to expect the signet of Thomas to have passed to his wife Dorothy after his death around 1660. But if it had been his at the time of his death, it certainly was not his originally . The archeological evidence, overlooked by Kenneth Lord and his predecessors, speaks clearly. The seal bears the initials "R" "L" - undoubtedly those of its original owner. If we reconstruct the genealogy of the Lord lineage and focus on that portion contemporaneous with, or preceding, Dorothy Lord, we see clearly a pattern suggesting the "R" stands for "Richard."

Salisbury claims to have the solution to the mystery in a discussion on how seals are passed down.

In the old times, in England and in this country, the eldest son usually received the name of one of his grandfathers, generally that of his father's father. If we ever learn their ancestry, we shall find, probably, that Richard was the name of the father of Thomas Lord, or of Dorothy, for that seems to have been the favorite name in the family, and, what is more remarkable, the Richards in all the generations, till a late period, seem to have been the favorites of their progenitors. Good character and prosperity have accompanied the bearers of the name. The first Thomas Lord's eldest, specially trusted, son Richard came in advance of him to this country, on an important errand, as is supposed. After a distinguished and successful career he died at the age of fifty-one, prematurely for one of his long-lived family, leaving his son Richard to keep up the valued name, which he did, adding to it further distinction. He took charge of his grandmother Dorothy Lord, whose favorite he seems to have been, as she mentioned him several times in her Will, gave him a large share of her estate, and associated him with her son William in the administration of it. When he was lost at sea, at the age of forty-nine , he was succeeded by his son Richard. the Treasurer of the Colony, and the wealthiest man in his line of the family, who also had a son Richard who removed to Wethersfield, married Ruth Wyllys daughter of Hezekiah Wyllys Esq., and had a son Richard...

William Lord of Saybrook (son of the first Thomas) followed the usual custom, and called his eldest son Thomas for his own father. His second son had the cherished name of Richard (afterward Lieutenant) ...

To Lieut. Richard Lord came, as we have learned, the seal with the arms of his grandfather Thomas Lord, from England...

E.E. Salisbury, 1892

The last assumption, that Lieut. Richard Lord inherited the seal of Thomas Lord, is based on another sealed document which Salisbury examined. Executed by Judge Richard Lord of Lyme, Connecticut, over forty years after Dorothy's Will was sealed, "the original deed, signed by himself and wife, with a wax seal, by which, in 1711, they conveyed to Mr. William Lynde, Gentleman of the Town of Saybrook, his wife's forty acres of land in that Town..." had affixed to it a wax seal. Salisbury observed, "Much of the wax of the seal is gone, and it looks so broken that we never thought to examine it until the time of this present writing. Now, under the microscope, we find distinctly impressed one of the 'pheons' of the Lord alias Laward arms...This shows that Judge Richard Lord of the fourth generation in this country used the arms of his great grandfather Thomas Lord of Hartford...as the settler William Lord of Say Brook was the only surviving son of Mrs. Dorothy Lord, and her chief executor, he would naturally take his father's seal, which would as naturally go to Richard, William's favorite son, and so to Richard's son of the same name."

The seal in Lyme.

I went to Lyme with much expectation of finding this second seal, the only other Lord armorial seal known to exist. If it had also been created with the same signet as used on Dorothy's Will, it might supply some of the missing detail only hinted at on the 1669 example.The seal, it was discovered, was even more fragmentary and damaged than that on Dorothy's Will, yet some small areas or original imprint could still be seen.

In spite of every effort, however, it was impossible to locate even a suggestion of the "pheon" reported by Salisbury (1892), or any other design identifiable with the arms of Lord. I came away absolutely convinced that no part of this imprint could match that in Hartford and that the same signet could not have formed both seals.


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