During the medieval period, seals were widely used in trading to ensure the authenticity and security of a document or letter. Bronze seals were a possession of the wealthy, since they cost more to produce than lead seals, and had a longer life span on account of the metal’s hardness. The social status of the owner was reflected in the size of the seal, with the combination of motif and text providing further insight into the owner’s identity, such as their place in a family.
The Latin word ‘conventus‘ translates as “coming together” or “meeting”, and the term for a religious community, “convent”, is also derived from this root. In the modern day, a convent is usually associated with a female community (nunnery), but this term was not so restricted during the medieval period.