Staff Terminals


Staff terminals are openwork copper-alloy mounts thought to be from the ends of late early-medieval to medieval cross-staffs.  This follows a reidentification by Simon Bailey (1994), examples having been published as sword pommels by Ward Perkins (1940, 23; fig. 2, nos 1-2), or mace heads by Cherry (in Blockley 1988, 115, 117; no. 30).

PAS object type to be used


PAS object classification to be used

Use ‘globular’, ‘discoidal’ or ‘other’, as appropriate (see below for examples)

Terms to use in the description

Staff terminals have characteristically openwork decoration.  They fall into two main groups (Daubney 2010, 205), one of discoidal form (Ward Perkins 1940, 23; fig. 2, no. 2; also see below), the other of globular form (Ward Perkins 1940, 23; fig. 2, no. 1; also see below); other forms are known, but rarer.  At their bases is a circular or sub-rectangular socket which either has solid sides or features triangular apertures; it is perforated for attachment, presumably to a wooden shaft.  Many examples are decorated with lattice work embellished with small knops.


Historically these objects have been dated to the 12th century, however, demonstrably 11th-century examples are known, and distinctions between late early-medieval and medieval examples are difficult.  Dating by art style centres on depictions of animals and foliage, one of which has been dated to the 1050s, displaying a combination of late Winchester style and early Romanesque decoration (NMS-F28FF6, below).  Excavated examples are known from the mid 11th century from Dublin (Bailey 1994, 173; note 11), the late 11th century from Canterbury (Cherry in Blockley 1988, 115, 117; no. 30), a context of c. 1050-1100 from Bow Bells House, London (Richardson in Howell with Blackmore 2013, 95-97; fig. 62), and a context of c. 1050-1150 from Cooper’s Row, London (Egan in Hunt 2010, 76-77; fig. 20, no. B71).


Late early-medieval to medieval staff terminal (BH-B64636)
Late early-medieval to medieval staff terminal (BH-B64636) (Copyright: Portable Antiquities Scheme; CC-BY licence)

Late early-medieval to medieval staff terminal (NMS-F28FF6)

Late early-medieval to medieval staff terminal (NMS-F28FF6) (Copyright: Norfolk County Council; CC-BY licence)

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Key references

Bailey 1994

Daubney 2010