Saturday, 29 June 2013

Chains of Office

The Chains of Office or Livery Collar were used as signs of status during the Tudor times. The chains were heavy with an equally heavy - and large - pendant hanging from it. The chain itself would hang from shoulder to shoulder compared to a normal necklace.
Throughout his reign Henry VIII only gave out 20 chains (a small number compared to the King's otherwise infamous love of luxury) and as such they would only be given to the most trusted and faithful servants. The most famous of the chains is the Chain of Esses; one was found for the very first time in the house of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (poet). It belonged to Edward Montagu who was Lord Chief Justice of Henry VIII in the 1540's. The chain has been given its name from the double S's that makes up the chain; it stands for "Spiritus Sanctus" meaning Holy Spirit. It was common that a Tudor-rose would be hanging from the chain.

Thomas More (by Hans Holbein) can be seen
wearing the large chain of esses with a Tudor-rose pendant
Replica of another version of the Chain of Esses

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