LON-A33FF5: Medieval boar livery badge

Rights Holder: Museum of London
CC License:

Image use policy

Our images can be used under a CC BY attribution licence (unless stated otherwise).


Unique ID: LON-A33FF5

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A Medieval copper alloy livery mount, dating AD14th - 15th century. The mount has been cast in the style of a heraldic crest with a standing boar facing right stood on a twisted rope. The boar has a crown around its neck as a collar and a chain running down the back. There is also a crescent on the shoulder. There is some wear to the body of the boar but there are traces on the legs and underside of the boar of cast marks to represent bristles/fur. One ear is broken and missing. In heraldic terms the crescent is a form of cadency used to indicate this badge was used by the second son. On the reverse there are three rivets for attachment. Each of these rivets appears to have an integral rectangular plate which has been soldered onto the body of the mount. The surface of the reverse is irregular with pitting and seemingly marks of where the molten metal was poured into the mould and set.

The Museum of London has lead alloy boar badges in the collections. These have an integral pin for attachment. Spencer (1998:288-9) illustrates one example no. 281h a badge of a boar, bristled and membered. This example is similar to the above but it is not stood on a length of twisted rope nor does it have the collar of a crown. Spencer (ibid.) writes "Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) took the white boar as his cognizance. Differenced only by a change of colour, this badge probably derived from Edward III...In 1483, royal wardrobe accounts show that thousands of boar badges were hastily ordered for use at Richard III's coronation in July, and again for the investiture of his young son, Edward, as Prince of Wales in September."
This mount is in the style of livery badges which would be worn by retainers and household servants to show their allegiance (Spencer 1998:278). Spencer continued "the badges identified their wearers as persons who were formally attached, or in some way beholden, to a particular magnet (or to the King himself) and who in return enjoyed their lord's protection or patronage". However the device was often chosen by the wearer and the same device could be simultaneously be used by different families so it can be hard to accurately identify the family or individual. Spencer (1998:279) notes that retainer's badges with devices were in fashion by the mid-14th century and continued in some households into the 17th century but they were at their peak in the second half of the 15th century during the dynastic struggles of the Houses of York and Lancaster.

Smith (1990) mentions the tomb of Ralph Fitzherbert in Norbury, Derbyshire (d. 1483) where there is a stone effigy wearing a livery collar comprising two straps (one over each shoulder) which meet in the centre of the chest. At the junction of the two straps, just above a buckle there is a boar badge pendant, also collared and chained. Along the straps are alternate rose and sun mounts (rose en soleil) indicating Yorkist allegiance and the boar is the white boar livery badge of Richard III. Smith (1990) explains the livery collage consisted of a strip of leather, silk or velvet set with mounts in gold, silver or latten, ending in two buckles linked by an ornamental trefoil from a badge could be suspended.

Similar boar mounts/badges are also recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database for example, SWYOR-1781B2 and LEIC-F17145 - both appear to have the remains of pins or rivets on the reverse for attachment and are also copper alloy examples, however they do not have the crown collar. YORYM-1716A4 and LEIC-A6C834 are silver gilt examples and the recorders note that
the symbol of the white boar was used by Richard III's household and followers between the 1470's and 1485. LEIC-A6C834was found during the 2009 survey of the Battle of Bosworth (AD1485). A similar badge was also found at Middleham Castle, North Yorkshire and is now housed at the Yorkshire Museum. None of these examples have the crown collar.

Dimensions: length: 36.98mm; width: 50.42mm; thickness including pins: 7.43mm; thickness not including the pins: 3.86mm; weight: 19.58g.

References: Spencer, B. 1998. Pilgrim Souvenirs and Secular Badges. The Stationery Office, London.
Smith, C. E. J. Autumn 1990. The Livery Collar. In Coat of Arms no. 151. The Heraldry Society

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: National importance

Class: Livery

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1300
Date to: Circa AD 1485

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 36.98 mm
Width: 50.42 mm
Thickness: 3.86 mm
Weight: 19.58 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mrs Kate Sumnall
Identified by: Mrs Kate Sumnall

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: London (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Greater London Authority (Greater London Authority)
District: Tower Hamlets (London Borough)
Parish or ward: St. Katharine's and Wapping (London Borough Ward)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TQ3380
Four figure Latitude: 51.503293
Four figure longitude: -0.085156
1:25K map: TQ3380
1:10K map: TQ38SW
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Other chance find
General landuse: Open fresh water
Specific landuse: Running water

References cited

Similar objects

Find number: BERK-39FF21
Object type: MOUNT
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
A complete but worn copper alloy livery mount, dating to the 14th - 15th century AD. The mount has been cast in the style of a heraldic crest…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Find number: DENO-F35022
Object type: BADGE
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
TREASURE CASE 2012 T583: Incomplete Late Medieval silver-gilt badge in the form of a male boar. The boar is depicted in profile in a walking …
Workflow: PublishedFind published

Find number: SWYOR-1781B2
Object type: BADGE
Broadperiod: MEDIEVAL
Medieval copper alloy livery badge in the shape of a boar, advancing left on grass, over a torse. The boar was the symbol of Richard III and …
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LON
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: 6 years ago

Other formats: this page is available as qrcode json xml geojson pdf rdf representations.