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By Matthew Ward

The livery collar had a pervasive presence in late-medieval England. Worn in regards to the neck to indicate carrier to a lord, references to the collar abound in govt files, modern chronicles and correspondence, and plenty of depictions of the collar are available in illuminated manuscripts and on church monuments. From the 15th century the collar used to be considered as a strong image of royal strength, the artefact associating the recipient with the king; it additionally performed an important functionality within the building and articulation of political and different workforce identities in the course of the period.
This first book-length examine of the livery collar examines its cultural and political importance from the overdue fourteenth to the early 16th centuries, particularly among 1450 and 1500, the interval linked to the Wars of the Roses. It explores the imperative meanings bestowed at the collar, considers the thing in its a variety of political contexts, and locations the collar in the sphere of medieval id building. It additionally investigates the explanations which lay at the back of its distribution, laying off new gentle at the nature and realizing of royal energy on the time.

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Extra info for The Livery Collar in Late Medieval England and Wales: Politics, Identity and Affinity

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The responsibility for passing on collars apparently lay with the king. Robert Waterton (d. 1424), an esquire of the body to Henry IV, had his SS collar removed by the king to give to another individual: this was replaced by another, similar collar. 35 It is perhaps helpful to view the way collars were treated in the same manner as medals are viewed today. They are frequently passed down as heirlooms, occasionally given away, but seldom worn by those not entitled to wear them. On the rare occasions that this has occurred, it has been a matter of controversy.

Things did not, however, go according to plan. Sir Robert became an early adherent of Edward IV, and was made a knight of the Garter in 1462. Collars could also be given as wedding gifts, with not only the monetary but also the symbolic and sentimental value of the item reflecting the esteem the recipient held for the giver. In January 1467 John Howard, the future duke of Norfolk (d. 1485), lavished a variety of gifts on his new bride Margaret, including ‘a coler of goolde with xxxiiij. 50 Perhaps in this context the collar was also given in expectation of loyalty, or faithfulness, this time to the husband, its acceptance confirming the wife had entered her husband’s ‘affinity’.

The collar was, after all, a personal item. For those individuals acting as high-ranking representatives for the king, a more expensive example was required. R.  205. 13. Also see TNA, E 36/113. B.  87. 36 1466 inventory of goods: London, Westminster Abbey Muniments, 6646, 6625. 37 TNA, PROB 11/4, fols. 53r–54r. indb 27 31/03/2016 10:44 28 the livery collar in late medieval england & wales clerk of the king’s jewels, to deliver a collar worth £30 to Thomas Barrett, bishop of Annaghdown in Ireland, destined for the earl of Desmond.

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