Civic history and traditions

The sword and mace


A Royal Charter in 1609 granted by James I conferred the right to appoint a sword bearer to the city. This was a great privilege as it symbolised authority normally reserved for monarchs. The sword was made at the order of Thomas Paramore and cost ten pounds and six shillings. The inscription read the sword was “to be borne before (the Mayor) and all others that shall succeed him”.

The present mace dates from 1681 and replaced a smaller silver mace. Although originally used as weapons, civic maces became symbols of royal authority. The mace was carried before the Mayor or the Bailiff wherever their authority extended. It is customary to invert the mace in the presence of the Monarch or her immediate family representative.