Exhibitions

London Crystal Sceptre and Hedon Mace share Battle of Agincourt anniversary limelight

IN MAY 2015 the Hedon Blog exclusively revealed the links between the City of London’s Crystal Sceptre and the ancient Hedon Mace. The Crystal Sceptre was given to the City of London by King Henry V in gratitude for the support of his campaign against the French at the Battle of AgincourtAnd in what will now become accepted history, it is said that the Hedon Mace was furnished from a weapon actually used in the famous battle and was gifted to Hedon in recognition of the Charter granted by King Henry in 1415 – the same year as the battle – conferring certain rights and privileges upon the place including powers of self-government. 

Now both items are going on display at the City of London, Guildhall Art Gallery, in an exhibition based on the research of Dr Michael Hall, that will trace the story of how the Battle of Agincourt was financed and how Henry V gifted the sceptre to give his thanks to supporters. This will be the first time that the ornamental crystal sceptre has been put on public display – and the first time that the two items have been reunited in 600 years!

Councillor John Dennis who hosted the visit to Hedon by Dr Hall to inspect the Hedon Mace earlier this year, is naturally delighted – especially as the story got lots of press coverage in the Sunday newspapers yesterday:

Cllr. John Dennis with the Hedon Mace

Cllr. John Dennis with the Hedon Mace. Following his victory at Agincourt, King Henry V embarked on a pilgrimage paying homage to his chosen patron saints. This included a visit to Hedon,  where he gifted the Mace – possibly to the Hedon Mayor. Henry visited Hedon on the way from Beverley in 1421 to rejoin the Queen in Lincoln. Believed to originally have been an iron weapon used in the battle of Agincourt, the Hedon Mace would have been encased in silver-gilt before being gifted. Photo: Dr Michael Hall

“It’s very exciting that little old Hedon gets a mention in the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Mail. We’ve always known that Hedon has a unique collection of ‘civic plate’ and in the context of its historic significance, we punch way above our weight.

“As the 668th Mayor last year it was a real privilege  to welcome Dr. Michael Hall to the Town Hall and to learn such a great deal more about the history of  these ancient and very important artefacts from such an eminent historian.

“It was also very satisfying to have worked successfully with Dr Hall in helping him convince the Lord Mayor of London to place our Henry V Mace alongside the fabulous Crystal Sceptre in his very high profile exhibition. I’m really looking forward to seeing the two maces together at the Guildhall.”

The exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery takes place from Saturday 24th October – Thursday 3rd December 2015. The opening day is significant – the day before the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt which was a major English victory in the Hundred Years’ War. The battle took place on Friday, 25th October 1415 (Saint Crispin’s Day), near modern-day Azincourt, in northern France. More at Wikipedia.

Crystal Sceptre

The Crystal Sceptre – Previously shrouded in mystery, new research has revealed it was given to the City of London by King Henry V in thanks for the City’s support for Agincourt, 600 years ago.

Many thanks to Cllr. Dennis and Jim Suggit for alerting the Hedon Blog to this fascinating story.

1 reply »

  1. A few updates to the article above: There is no suggestion that Hedon sent any money to help Henry wage his wars or finance the Battle of Agincourt. The Mace was gifted to Hedon in 1421 in recognition of the Charter of 1415 conferred on the place by Henry that granted Hedon its powers of self-government. The Mace, an iron weapon of war, would have been decorated in silver casing before being gifted. Henry visited Hedon on the way from Beverley in 1421 to rejoin the Queen in Lincoln.

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