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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Mervyn Mitton

1778 TIPSTAFF - 12 YEARS AFTER INDEPENDENCE !

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The American Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 - this little tipstaff is dated 1778 ! George 3rd. came to the throne in 1760 and he died in 1820 - the second longest reigning English monarch - sort of puts it all into perspective.

It actually is a very important historical item - the gate , or , opening portcullis , goes back to the early 12th Century - when Westminster was the home of the King. The portcullis was in front of a main gate and could be raised. When Westminster became a Borough in the 16/17th centuries they took this as their badge - and it still represents Parliament.

The name shown is - S.MARRIOTT and under the badge - MARSHALMAN MAY 10 1788. This shows that he was the representitive of an Admiralty Court and would carry out the instructions of the Court. He would have a power of arrest and had the authority to seize any ship in the Court's jurisdiction - in this case - The Port of London - and the Navy would have to assist him. His personal escorts were known as ' Bum - Bailiffs' - which is where the American use of the word came from.

The wooden head of the tipstaff has two equal cuts in the wood - this is not damage, but probably done by Mr. Marriott to allow it to lie flat in his pocket. Real history - taking us back to the earliest years of the US we know !!

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The opening portcullis is also represented on the Metropolitan Police Coat of Arms coincidence or symbolic ?

Here is the modern stylised logo which shows it but the tradtional image is a lot better.

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I think it was included when they commissioned new arms - in the early 1970's (?) - because both the old and the new Scotland Yards are in Westminster. I agree with you - the old arms were much better - do you have one to show (I would rather leave it to you - I'm sick of seeing my name - but I enjoy putting the pieces out)

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