Mace of the Virginia House of Delegates

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Mace of the Virginia House of Delegates is a symbol of government of the American Commonwealth of Virginia.[1]

Original mace[edit]

The original mace used in the House of Delegates was a silver ceremonial mace presented by the Royal Governor to the House of Burgesses of the Colony of Virginia in 1700.[2] Following the Declaration of Independence and the establishment of the state of Virginia, this mace continued to be used by the House of Delegates as a symbol of government authority. In 1792, after consideration of the inconsistency of using a royal symbol in a republican assembly, the House passed bills to dispose of the old mace and acquire two new maces for the House and the state Senate. The motion in the House noted "It is inconsistent [sic] with the principles of a republican government, that any badge of appendage of Kingly pomp should remain therein."[3]

For the next two years, efforts were made to design a new mace for the House. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson was involved in this work, opposing an early proposal that included a rattlesnake and suggesting "the Roman staves & axe, trite as it is; or perhaps a sword, sheathed in a roll of parchment."[3] A final design for the new mace was never selected; by 1793, concerns over the cost put the plan on hold and the House resolved to sell the existing mace. By December 1794, the 101-ounce silver mace had been sold, for $101, to two partners in a Virginia silversmith firm.[3]

Current mace[edit]

One hundred and eighty years later, a new mace was acquired for the House of Delegates. The current mace is an Edwardian-style ceremonial mace in silver, with a 24 karat gold wash.[4] It is reinforced with wood, and has four sections with designs of oak leaves, acorns, and flowers that resemble the Virginia state flower, the dogwood.[2]

The mace was made in England in 1938 and passed through several owners before being purchased by an art dealer.[5] It was purchased by the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation and presented to the House in 1974.[2] Each day that the House is in session, the mace is placed in the House chamber by the sergeant-at-arms.[1] When not in use, the mace is on display in the old hall of the House of Delegates.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Virginia General Assembly > Capitol Classroom > Just for Teachers". Virginia General Assembly. Archived from the original on 2012-09-26.
  2. ^ a b c The symbol of authority (from Did you know? A series of informational bookmarks brought to you by the Virginia House of Delegates) (PDF). Richmond, Virginia: Information & Communications Services of the House of Delegates Clerk's Office (formally Legislative Education and Development Office by Bruce F. Jamerson).
  3. ^ a b c Bedini, Silvio A. (1997). The mace and the gavel. DIANE Publishing. pp. 17–21. ISBN 0-87169-874-9.
  4. ^ a b "Statuary and Artifacts". Virginia State Capitol. Virginia General Assembly. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  5. ^ Jamerson, Bruce (2008). Virginia State Capitol Visitor's Guide. Legislative Education and Development Office. p. 6.