The High Bailiff’s Chain

The Ceremonial Chain Of The Manorial Court For The Hundred And Borough Of Cricklade

The ceremonial chain of the Manorial Court for the Hundred and Borough of Cricklade is a beautiful piece of modern sterling silver and is worn by the High Bailiff on formal occasions. It was commissioned in 2000 and was made by John Bartlett B Ed. FRSA of Daglingworth. Originally it had fewer medallions than it has at present and the design is such that further medallions can be added at a future date. The clip with the celtic knot is used when the chain is not to be worn around the neck.

  
This is the largest medallion and hangs at the bottom of the chain. It depicts the nationally scarce snakeshead fritillaries that are to be found in such profusion in North Meadow. The Meadow is managed as Lammas Land and today is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The government dissolved many of the Manorial Courts in the 1990s, but the Court Leet’s responsibility for the grazing of North Meadow ensured its continued existence.
The Scroll is the symbol of the High Bailiff. He is the senior officer appointed to the Court Leet and his duties are to arrange meetings and act as chairman. He is often called upon to officiate at public functions.
The Quill Pens is the symbol of the Steward. He is the Lord of the Manor's representative. He acts as Clerk to the Court and works closely with the High Bailiff and the Hayward to ensure that any business matters are dealt with appropriately. He prepares the agenda for meetings and takes the minutes.
The Gate is the symbol of the Hayward. He holds responsibility for organising the grazing in North Meadow. He is particularly concerned with the wellbeing of stock and has to ensure hedges and boundary fences are maintained. He alerts the owners of stock when the Meadow is in flood.
The Bull’s Head is the symbol of the Carner. Historically, his role was to ensure that the meat sold in the town was of the highest quality and fit for purpose. Today his role is ceremonial.
The Crossed Pikes is the symbol of the Constable. Historically, the Constable was responsible for maintaining law and order in the town. With our modern day police force his role is now ceremonial but he monitors the performance of the police and reports to the Court sessions.
This is the symbol of the Foreman and the Jury. Their historical role was to consider and approve the recommendations and decisions of the Court. Today, the Foreman’s duty is to explain the history of the Court to the public at open sessions.
The Scales is the symbol of the Sealer. It was his duty to ensure the quality of leather goods and to ensure that fair weight and measure was given and received in the market place. Armed with assize-stamped proofs the sealer could readily address complaints and present offenders at the Court Leet. Today his role is ceremonial.
The Bell is the symbol of the Town Crier. In the days before the majority of the population could read or write it was his duty to keep the local people informed of important events. Today, the Cricklade Town Crier is a popular figure in the local community. He wears traditional uniform and ‘cries’ to announce local events.
The Tankard is the symbol of the Aletaster. Historically, it was the Aletaster’s responsibility to report on the quality of the ale being sold in the town and to check that the measures being used were correct. Today, certificates are still issued to hostelries where the ale is considered to be of a good quality.
The Signpost and Gate is the symbol of the Waywarden. Historically, it was the Waywarden’s responsibility to ensure that the paths, bridleways and bridges were maintained in good order. Today, there are continuing issues with roads, lanes, bridleways and footpaths and these can be brought to the notice of the Court Leet by the Waywarden or by members of the public.
The Dustpan and Brush is the symbol of the Scavenger. Historically, he was the collector of spoils left by fleeing warriors. Today, he represents the Court when Bloomers organise their litter clean-up days and his duty is to monitor the amount of litter in the town.
The Cross is the symbol of the Chaplain. It is the duty of the Chaplain to administer to the spiritual needs of the local community.
The Charles I Shilling* is the emblem of the Affeeror. It was the Affeeror’s duty to set and monitor prices of goods in the Court’s domain and to report his findings. Today the Affeeror’s duty is ceremonial. This shilling was struck at the Tower of London Mint. The ‘heart’ above the shield on the reverse indicates the date 1629-1630. It was purchased in May 2009 at a cost of £73.

 

John Bartlett, B.Ed.,FRSA, 4th generation Designer Maker Gold and Silversmith, left school at 16 and was a Student Electrical Engineering apprentice at Deptford London, then 5 years in RAF as an Air Wireless fitter instructor in Wiltshire. Mature student teacher St Paul’s College, Cheltenham. A beaten metal course took him to George Hart Silversmith at Chipping Campden when he registered his Maker’s Mark at the Birmingham Assay Office and later in Goldsmiths Hall Assay Office London. He was privileged to work and learn at the Harts during School holidays for the next four years. Then a year full time Crafts Design course at Goldsmith’s College London and evening course at Central School of Arts and Crafts in semi precious Jewellery at Holborn. In 1984 after 23 years’ teaching he took early retirement to work full-time at his craft as a Gold and Silversmith working on commission only. Designing and making chains and badges of office, church silver and domestic silverware and anything from a chalice to a thimble.

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