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No. 58. Top of Mace. 59.—CORPORATION MACE.--Silvergilt mace, 131 inches long, with a plain stem divided half-way by a corded collar with mouldings; the bowl 21 inches diameter with cresting of trefoils (two only of which remain), in the centre the Royal Arins, English and French Quarterly, enamelled in their proper colours on a ground of green; on the flat pominel the arms of Stratford with three ornamental brackets attached (one of which is broken away). Without date, inscription or hall mark. (?)1553. Presented by THE CORPORATION OF STRATFORD
60.-A sword with narrow curved blade, 1 ft. 10 in. in length, channelled on both sides, rudely engraved with a scene of a dog chasing deer, handle and cross-guard of brass, with bone grip. Formerly belonging to Alderman Payton and alleged to have been Shakespeare's.
Mr. Payton was Mayor of Stratford-uponAvon 1780-1, 1795-6, and 1801-2.
Presented by W. 0. HUNT, Esq.
61.—Shakespeare's gold finger-ring, with the initials W.S., a true lovers knot intwined between them, beaded border, the face of the signet measuring & in. by in.
Presented by Miss ANNE WHELER.
The story of this ring is told by Robert Bell Wheler (17851857) solicitor of Stratford-upon-Avon, in the interleaved and annotated copy of his “Guide to Stratford-upon-Avon,” published in 1814, now in the Birthplace Library :--"Upon Friday, the 16th day of March, 1810, this ancient gold seal ring, weighing 12 dwts. and bearing the initials “W. S.” engraved in Roman characters, was found by a labourer's wife (named Martin) upon the surface of the mill close, adjoining Stratford Churchyard, being the exact spot whereon Mr. Oldaker since erected his present residence. It may be remarked as a curious coincidence, that a man, named William Shakespeare, was working for Mr. Oldaker in the same field at the very time the ring was picked up. He was a day labourer from the neighbourhood of Rowington, and might be a descendant of one of the numerous branches of the poet's family. It had undoubtedly been lost a great many years, being nearly black; and though I purchased it upon the same day for thirty-six shillings (the current value of the gold) the woman had sufficient tinie to destroy the precious arugo by consenting to have it un. necessarily immersed in aquafortis to ascertain and prove the metal at a silver-smith's shop, which consequently restored its original colour. It is of tolerably large dimensions, and evidently a gentleman's ring of Elizabeth's age..... The connection or union of the letters by the ornamental string and tassels was then frequently used..... Upon this seal ring being found it immediately occurred to me that it might have belonged to our immortal poet..... Mr. Malone, in a conversation I had with him in London, the 20th of April, 1812, about a month before his death, said that he had nothing to allege against the probability of my conjecture as to its owner. He mentioned a William Smith, Draper, of Stratford, at the period in question, with whose initials the letters on the seal-ring corresponded; but upon telling him that I possessed an impression of Smith's seal representing a skull and bones over his initials, he observed that it was very unlikely that Smith should have two seals, and that the seal-ring evidently belonged to a person in a very respectable class of society..... After numerous researches into publick and private documents, I find no Stratfordian of that period so likely to own such a ring as Shakespeare. Upon retiring from the stage to his native town, our bard resided in the principal house here, which he had formerly purchased; had accumulated considerable property, and frequented the best company that Stratford and its neighbourhood afforded. In his age seal-rings were very fashionable, but were probably more limited than at present,
to the nobility and respectable families; for I still confine myself to the respectability of its proprietor..... In his will he gives to several of his friends twenty-six shillings and eightpence each to buy them rings. It has been suggested that these sealrings might have been one of those which Shakespeare thus directed his friends to buy in remembrance of him; a supposition very unlikely; because this is a seal-ring, which, though an ornamental article, was evidently intended for use; and it is not probable that those persons would have Shakespeare's initials reversed upon a seal which did not correspond with their own, as was certainly the case of the names mentioned in his will. To this will there is no seal affixed; but it is a singular circumstance that in the concluding part of it where the Scrivener had written *In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal.' These words' and Seal' were struck out, and more strongly and remarkably confirmi my conjecture that the Poet had then lost this Signet Ring."
See No. 88 infra.
62.-Brass finger-ring engraved I. H. or H. I.; 17th century.
This ring is somewhat vaguely conjectured to have belonged to Mr. John Hall (1575-1635), Physician, husband of Susanna, eldest daughter of Shakespeare.
63.—Privy seal of the High Bailiff of Stratford 1592 : silver, oval, i in. xil in., arms of Stratford, with beading; on the back, R. QUEENEY SIGILLUM ST" VPON AU' 1592."
Richard Queeney (or Quiney) was High Bailiff of Stratfordupon-Avon in 1592-3 and 1601-2 in which latter year he died. He was buried 31st May, 1602.
64.-Oval seal of silver(?) set with an agate, on on which is engraved a bust intaglio, legend XPS + CAPUT OMNIUM +; found with the Abbot's finger-ring; 1 inch high, with a ring for suspension to the girdle. See No. 66.
Presented by Miss ANNE WHELER.
65.—The autograph of Dr. “Jo. Hall” and his fellow-churchwarden " Antonie Smithe.”
These autographs were found in Edmund Malone's copy of Dr. Hall's “ Medical Observations." and had evidently been cut from No. 160 of Vol. 1 of " Miscellaneous Documents” belonging to the