Back six hundred years now – to see some exquisite workmanship – Henry V’s beautiful Crystal Sceptre was given to the City of London as a ‘vote of thanks’ for providing the funds to fight the historic Battle of Agincourt … a major victory in the Hundred Years’ War.
|The Crystal Sceptre and the Hedon Mace
I’m not sure we could make this today … two shafts of spiral fluted-and-gold-inlaid rock-crystal, with a jewel-and-pearl encrusted crown bearing Henry’s coat of arms on parchment.
|The Rock Crystal shaft - bejewelled
The Crystal Sceptre is seen briefly but annually at the Silent Ceremony, when the out-going Lord Mayor passes his authority to the in-coming, at the Guildhall.
It is also carried by the Lord Mayor at coronations, so it last left the Guildhall for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.
|The crowned top of the Sceptre - within the crown can be
seen the Royal Arms of England as adopted by Henry IV
in 1406, along with the Lilies of France.
I was going to be in London the day before the Lord Mayor’s Show … the exhibition would be open – so I thought! They shut it three quarters of an hour before I arrived … I had been at the British Museum in the morning, with this as my last stop before I went off to see my godaughter and her parents north of London.
|Part of the Lord Mayor's State Coach - through glass!
However I did see the Lord Mayor’s Coach through glass, but was returning south the next day (the day of the Lord Mayor's Show) – so I had to go up to London again – but it’s been worth it … as oddly enough the Devon silver used relates back to the West Country Tour I’m posting about – that part of the journey will appear next year.
The Hedon Mace (Hedon in South Yorkshire) was also on show – a weapon used at Agincourt, now encased in silver-gilt.
Henry had gone on a pilgrimage in 1421 to holy sites associated with his three patron saints. The iron mace, which Henry had had silver-gilded, is thought to have been an actual weapon used in the Battle of Agincourt and presented to the city as thanks for its support.
|East Yorkshire, showing Hedon.
The municipality of Hull is shown in
grey to the west of Hedon
Hedon was an important port in the 12th and 13th centuries, before a deeper port in the Humber Estuary was required for the larger ships being built.
This isn’t the time for long posts but I wanted to post about these two incredible items, as well as some other treasures that were on show – in this very small exhibition.
Silver groats and half-groats were minted in 1415 to pay the soldiers for their service in France. A groat was worth four pence.
The Crystal Sceptre was reunited with the Hedon Mace from Yorkshire for a short-time exhibition.
|The crowned top of the Crystal Sceptre
It looked just so incredible and to have survived intact for so long is quite remarkable. Recently these items have been researched and given some history … so deserving … and we learn more about the years of Henry V and his short reign.
Further information can be found here:
Crystal Sceptre of Henry V - Medieval Histories
Hedon Blog with details of Hedon's association with the Mace
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