Henry VIII’’s PS1m chain shows his benevolent side

August 21st, 2008 - 5:40 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Aug 21 (ANI): His merciless punishments for his enemies are well documented but not much is known about Henry VIII’’s benevolent side.
When the king used to be happy with the service of his courtiers or the country’’s most eminent noblemen, he liked to give them a golden livery collar or heavy chain as a token of his gratitude.
Now, a golden livery collar has been discovered in the family home of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The “collar of the Esses”, as they were known, were all engraved with the characters SS, referring to the Latin religious creed Spiritus Sanctus (Holy Spirit).
Henry VIII only awarded around 20 of the chains, and none were believed to have survived in their entirety.
The collar was presented to Edward Montagu, the then Lord Chief Justice, in the 1540s.
It is thought the collar will now be sold in December at Christie’’s auction house in London, where it is expected to fetch up to 1 million pounds.
The gold collar famously features in the portrait of Sir Thomas More painted by Hans Holbein.
Silver consultant Duncan Campbell was approached by Coleridge’’s descendants two years ago after the discovery at the poet’’s estate in Ottery St Mary, near Exeter, Devon.
The chains were inspired by the mother of John of Gaunt, who gave her son a brooch inscribed with the double S. He subsequently used them in the collar design.
“A lot of people were given them in the 16th century but there were none left as they were all melted down except for the one worn by the Lord Mayor of London, whose provenance goes back to 1520,” The Independent quoted Campbell, as saying.
“But it’’s only 10 to 20 per cent original and the rest of it has been added or repaired. This one has had metallurgic tests and is 100 per cent original.
“Its provenance had been traced to the 1700s, but in tests it was found that it is gold alloy, which was only used between 1546 and 1552,” Campbell added.
Henry VIII’’s father Henry VII awarded many of the collars to his nobles, who wore them as a symbol of their allegiance to the monarch.
His son continued the tradition by giving them to “special people who had done special deeds”. (ANI)

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