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
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories