A special service to commemorate the return of the Stone Priory Seal Matrix was held on Wednesday 24th July – particularly apt as St. Wulfad’s Day. Guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire Ian Dudson and his wife Jane, the Mayor of Stafford Cllr. Angela Loughran, the Town Mayor of Stone Cllr. Jill Piggott and her consort Cliff.
During the service a declaration of intent of ownership was signed on behalf of the joint owners of the matrix – St. Michael and St.Wulfad’s Church; Stone Historical and Civic Society and the Archdiocese of Birmingham.
Each of the trustees was presented with a key for one of the three locks on the case. In 1450 following irregularities with the use of the matrix it was ordered that “the common seal was to be kept under three locks, the keys being held by the prior, the subprior, and sacrist.” It was decided to carry on this tradition and have three locks on the case. This caused particular interest to the company who made the case, who also make the cases for HM The Queen for the exhibitions at Buckingham Palace and apparently there is only one lock on most of these. They wanted to know if what we intended to display in the case was really of more value than that displayed at the Palace, so they were fascinated when we explained the reason behind it.
The case was unveiled by the Lord Lieutenant and the trustees ceremoniously locked the case. The Service was ecumenical with representatives from all the churches in Stone taking part and attending. The service was arranged by Lay Reader Dennis Abbott and Rev. Preb. Michael Harding.