The Mace

The Mace

The Mace bears the following inscription:

“1736. The Gift of Sir Henry Peachey of Newgrove near Petworth. For the use of ye Present and Future Bayliffs and Burgesses of Midhurst”

At the beginning of the 17th century the Lordship of the Borough of Midhurst became alienated from the Town and eventually came into the hands of the Peachey Family of Newgrove near Petworth. This Lordship was re-purchased by Anthony Lord Montague in 1784 and by 1795 it came into the hands of the Smith Family as can be seen below.

  • 1784-1786 The Right Honourable Anthony Viscount Montague.
  • 1787-1788 Sir Richard Bedingfield. Bart.
  • 1789-1794 George OBrien, Lord Egremont and Baron of Cockermouth.
  • 1795 Robert Smith Esq.
  • 1796-1801 The Right Honourable Robert, Lord Carrington of the Kingdom of Ireland (formerly Robert Smith Esq.)
  • 1802-1836 George Smith and John Smith
  • 1837 John Smith Esq. George Robert Smith, Oswald Smith and John Henry Smith.
  • 1838-1841 John Smith.
  • 1842-1870 John Able Smith.
  • 1873-1883 Jervoise Smith.
  • 1884-1885 Dudley Robert Smith and Hugh Colin Smith.
  • 1886-1902 (with some gaps) Dudley Robert Smith.
  • 1903-1909 Gerald Dudley Smith.

There is not a lot of information regarding why the Mace was made, how Sir Henry Peachy came to be the Lord of the Manor or whether the mace was made to coincide with his obtaining the Lordship, but the result was that for over 110 years the Smith family held the title and over this period came to believe they owned the property.

he mace is silver gilt, silver covered with gold and the hallmark gives the same date as the inscription which would indicate it was made to order.

There is a second inscription of the handle giving details of its restoration. It seems that the entire handle may have been replaced and is now possibly a brass replica of the original. However, the decorative head is original.

The Mace used to be brought out for every Meeting of the Parish Council but the difficulties of getting it in and out of the bank meant that the tradition lapsed. It is currently put on display each year at the Midhurst Annual Town Meeting.

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