Worcester City Regalia

  • 16 Jan 2012
  • Historical Studies
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The Maces - Before the advent of powder and shot the mace was the yeoman's weapon of attack and defence, It was a heavy-headed club or staff, sometimes studdied with metal, and was the principal weapon of close combat. Particularly, in those days, it was used by ecclesiastics, to whom the sword was forbidden. Today it exists only as a symbol, but they are weapons of offence, and according to the Charter of James I, they should really be carried by four aldermen.

Over 250 years ago, Worcester had two maces, but about 1732, the two maces, together with the State Sword, disappeared, as did other Corporation plate, and it is generally supposed they were sold in order to purchase the four maces we have today. The present four silver maces are of uniform fashion and dimensions, each measuring twenty seven and a half inches in length. They are quite light, each weighing about 40 ounces, but because of their antiquity and design are quite valuable.The heads are hollow, and they have a staff of wood covered entirely with silver. The head is surmounted by an arched crown, and on the bowl are the Royal Arms, and the arms of the City. The hall mark is the black capital letter E, being that of the year 1662, the Restoration of Charles II, the period to which many of the municipal insignia in other cities of the realm may also be assigned. The more ancient maces had doubtlessly been destroyed in the time of the Civil War.

The Charter of 19 James I, 1621, granted Worcester licence to have four sergeants-at-mace, to attend on the Mayor and Sheriff of the City, and after specifying the duties, the form of election of the sergeants, ordains that they shall bear 'maces silvered and gilded, with the sign and arms graven and decked of this our realm of England' in all places where maces had been used to be carried before the Mayor of the City. In civic proceedings today, the maces carried by the bearers, and proceeded by the Sword, head the procession. The City has four halberds, which formally were carried on occasion of ceremony.