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Two civic maces


Origin: Probably provincial

Date: c. 1702-1704

46.6 cm length; 210 g and 209 g weight

Provenance: Miss Adamson of Linden, Northumberland, sale, Christie's, 21 December 1938, lot 232, to Hyman

Bequeathed by A.T. Carter, 1947; WA1947.41; WA1947.42

T. Schroder (2009), no. 311

The form of the stave derives from the flanged medieval weapon, the mace. It relates to the tradition of municipal sergeants carrying maces to represent mayoral and royal authority, a tradition that dates to the thirteenth century. The pointed lower end of these civic maces recalls the medieval weapon in residual form. From the sixteenth century maces fall into two categories; the great mace, carried before the mayor as representative of the sovereign, and the sergeants' mace (smaller in size), carried by law enforcement officers. These maces could be either, as their design suggests the great mace but their size suggests the sergeant's mace. The origin of the pair is unknown. One mace is engraved 'Peter Caldwell, Upper Leader 1702' and the other 'Roger Quaries, Upper Leader 1704' but neither have been identified.

Information derived from T. Schroder, British and Continental Gold and Silver in the Ashmolean (2009)

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