Living History

The City New Year service at S Michael Cornhill is attened by the Lord Mayor in full regalia. It is one of only a few times in the year that the Lord Mayor wears the 'Collar of Esses', a livery collar which, though repaired and remade, goes back at least to the reign of Henry VIII. It is extrarodinary to contemplate the nearness of the past when such an item is in use. It gives connexion with out predecessors and is a tangible link with those who have gone before.

Of course the thing is that human history is not that long. near the entrance to the British Museum is the 'Battlefield Palette' about a century older than the Narmer Palette, which is the document with which written Egyptian history begins. It is about 5,000 years old. Not a very long time in the scheme of things. There has been a church on the site on Cornhill for a good proportion of that time, the first one having been built on the edge of the Forum of Roman London.
The Battlefield Palette

The Esses on the Collar are believed to stand for Sancte Spiritus - Holy Spirit. The Spirit of the Lord is always with us across time and with all of those people who have been part of human history, known or unknown.


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