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History of the Guild of Mace-Bearers

The History of the Guild of Mace-Bearers starts in 1925 when two Mace-Bearers, one in Lancashire and the other in Kent, started to organise meetings of Mace-Bearers in their areas. In 1930 the two men met in Birmingham and the seeds of a national association were sown.

On 15th June 1933 at a meeting in Gravesend the National Association of Mace-Bearers was established. The title and some rules were formulated and the badge and motto “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) were adopted.

A group of Mace-Bearers in an image taken from an early copy of the Guild magazine Jan 1935
Image from “The Mace-Bearer magazine published January 1935

In September 1933, circulation of a magazine called “The Mace-Bearer” was started, an admirable production with many interesting articles, but which, unfortunately, only ran to two issues. The Lord Mayor of Leicester became the President of the Association.

In 1935 the first Handbook of the Association was published and became known throughout the profession as the “Blue Book”. This was the first attempt, apparently, to issue some sort of standard guide for Mace-Bearers.

During the Second World War, the Association went into abeyance, “for the duration”. In October 1945, the Scottish Council Officers Association was formed in Edinburgh. The Lord Provost of Edinburgh agreed to be the Honorary President.

In the autumn of 1947, the Serjeant-at-Arms of the City of London, Commander John Poland RN was persuaded to take an active interest in the revival of the Association. A General Meeting was summoned and eighty-six Mace-Bearers attended at the Mansion House, London, on 1st December 1947, and were welcomed by the Lord Mayor, who accepted the Office of Chief Patron, which has since been filled by his successors. Shortly afterwards an authentic Australian Aborigine’s war-mace was presented to the Association as its own ceremonial mace.

Many outsiders assumed that “The National Association of Mace-Bearers” was some sort of trade union and so in October 1949 the title was changed to “The Guild of Mace-Bearers”. In September 1950 it was decided that, to add to the dignity of the Guild, the titles of the Officers should be brought into line with the general practice of other Guilds. A periodical bulletin was initiated in 1951 and, now known as “The Mace Bearer,” it has been produced at regular intervals ever since.

The Scottish Council Officers Association formally joined the Guild of Mace-Bearers in 1953 to create a single Guild for the whole of the United Kingdom.

The history of the Guild of Mace-Bearers continues to be written as we rapidly approach our centenary in 2025.