Special items from the Civic Collection

Newark Town Council has two maces of different sizes – the Great Mace and the Lesser Mace, both dating from the late 1680s. Maces are usually carried before the Mayor on ceremonial occasions.

Today, the Mace is a highly ornate symbol of the pre-historic club, a weapon of war. Initially made of wood, it developed into one made of iron and then steel.

By the end of the Tudor period, the Mace was no longer a weapon of defence but a symbol of authority. As they became more ornamental and cumbersome, maces had to be carried ‘upside down’, resting on the shoulder for support.

The Mace usually incorporates a Royal Crown as a token of Royal authority and only Local Authorities that are created Corporations by Royal Charter are entitled to use a Mace. Newark’s Mace was standardised by Royal decree by Charles I.

The Maces should precede the Mayor in Procession and when entering and leaving the Council Chamber and should always rest in front of the Mayor when Council is sitting. The Mace rests horizontally before the Mayor with the crown to the Mayor’s right hand.

The Mace is a symbol of the Mayor’s authority. However, in the presence of Royalty, it should be reversed in deference to the King or Queen.