Loudoun Kirk

Copyright Friends of Loudoun Kirk © 2015


The Great Seal is a metal (usually silver) mould which comes in two halves. Melted wax in then poured in and when cold, the result is a large wax disc which is attached to a document, as authorisation from the monarch.   A seal is created for the reigning monarch, usually always depicting the monarch on horseback on the front and slight variation of design on the back.   In the past, if the monarch dies, the successor breaks the seal and the pieces were distributed amongst the poor and a new seal is created for the new monarch.   

The appointment of the post of ‘Keeper of the Great Seal’ is a very important one and usually went to someone of distinction.  This honour was bestowed on Hew, 3rd Earl of Loudoun by George I, a post which he retained until 1717.   Hew, the 3rd Earl died in 1731 and is buried in the crypt at Loudoun Kirk.

Queen Elizabeth II, has her own seal and this was recently used when Perth became a city.   The current Keeper of the Seal is Nicola Sturgeon.

More information from the National Archives of Scotland


In 1941, Loudoun Castle was engulfed in flames and almost on the family’s possessions were destroyed.   Papers and personal items were strewn around the gardens and amongst the treasure hunters, were two young boys.   They took their ‘treasures home’ where they have been kept safe ever since.   The relics were a wax disc and a broken brooch.

An attempt to find out a little about it some years ago, came to a halt and the items were put in Barr Castle museum until the family of man who acquired the items wanted them back.  However since his death, his family gave the items to his brother, Arthur who contacted the East Ayrshire Family History Society for advice and when they saw the items, they were concerned that these would be considered stolen.  On investigation the wax seal was that of King George I (1660 - 1727).  

The broken brooch is part of The Order of The Garter and so far, it’s thought to have belonged to John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun but it has not been proven. So Madeleine was approached as representative of the family to find out what should be done with them.

It was suggested that rather than have the items languish at the back of a cupboard, it would be better if they were put in a safe place where not only would they be appreciated and be available to any member of public wishing to see them.  It was felt that The Barr Castle Museum was a good home for them so on Saturday morning, 29th August 2015, Mr Arthur Brown, returned the wax seal and broken brooch to the family and who in turn presented it to the curator of the Barr Castle Museum.

More information on the history of The Great Seal here