History of the Borough
7: The borough seal
Huntingdon had a common seal from the 15th century onwards. The application of the seal to the bottom of a written document gave that document the same legal force as a personal signature on a contract. The earliest known picture of it appears in Camden's Visitations of Huntingdonshire of 1613.
The seal shows a hunter with his bow and arrows, standing next to a deer being attacked by two hounds, while a bird sits on the branch of a tree. The legend round the edge of the seal says
which means 'Seal of the Corporation of Huntingdon.' The orginal 17th century engraver probably meant to write 'Hunterisdune' but made a mistake, replacing the D with an O. The spelling 'Hunterisdune' is itself a false archaism, reflecting what 17th century people believed the original Saxon spelling might have been.
It is important to note that a seal is not the same as a Coat of Arms. A seal is usually circular in shape, occasionally oval, but never in the form of a shield. Huntingdon never had a Coat of Arms, though the later Borough of Huntingdon and Godmanchester (1961-1974) did have one.