The maces are derived from weapons of war. Today's ceremonial maces are highly ornamented successors to the original club or bludgeon weapon.
The mace was adopted as a special weapon of the Serjeants-at-Arms appointed first by Philip II of France (1180–1223) to protect him from suspected assassins when he returned to France. A similar bodyguard was instituted by Richard I of England. Curiously the Mace was also the particular weapon of a Bishop or Churchman when he took the field in war. Apparently the argument was that whilst it was not considered appropriate for a man of God to shed another person's blood with a sword or battle axe, to crack his skull was permitted.
Over time, the officers allowed to attend on sheriffs, bailiffs and mayors gradually became less of an armed personal bodyguard, and more a messenger to convey the Royal orders to local authorities; so the mace with Royal Arms inscribed on it which he carried became the obvious and visible token of Royal authority.
In the course of time, the hitting end of the mace fell out of use and the handle end increased in importance. This end became highly decorated and the maces became no longer an offensive weapon but a symbol of authority. Today's ceremonial maces are therefore now carried, so to speak, upside down.
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... The two small maces are made of silver, measure approximately 9 inches (22.86 cm) and weigh about 2 lbs (900 g) each ... The maces were purchased by the Corporation in 1549 to commemorate in that year the granting to the town of a new charter by Edward VI ... The purchase of the maces is recorded in the Guild of Holy Trinity Accounts and reads, "For 2 new maces, weying 18 ownces one quarter and half at 8s ...
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