This is a fabulous medieval silver gilt livery badge, dating to the 15th century A.D. It is in the form of a Bourchier Knot, livery of Henry Bourchier, 5th Baron Bourchier, 2nd Count of Eu, 1st Viscount Bourchier, 1st Earl of Essex, KG (1404/c. 1406 – 4 April 1483).
Henry Bourchier saw considerable military action in France and for his services was created Viscount Bourchier during the parliament of 1445–6 and elected Knight of the Garter on his third nomination in 1452. He later saw action in 1461 as a Yorkist supporter at the Second Battle of St Albans and the Battle of Towton, soon after which Edward IV created him Earl of Essex.
He held the post of Lord High Treasurer from 29 May 1455 - 5 October 1456, 28 July 1460 - 14 April 1462, and 22 April 1471 - 4 April 1483. He also became Justice in Eyre south of the Trent in 1461, holding that title until his death.
He died on 4 April 1483 and was buried at Beeleigh Abbey.
This badge is made from solid silver, with a wonderful honey yellow mercurial gold gilding. It would have once been worn on a chained collar, by a retained knight in the Earl of Essex's household. Such badges were used to identify allegiances important during the Wars of the Roses. Richard having his knights wear the White Boar badge, the Duke of Buckingham's men wore the Stafford Knot, the Black Bull for the Duke of Clarence etc.
Silver livery badges are rare, most being of tin, bronze or pewter. Silver was generally worn by aristocratic class, namely knights in service to the King and Earl. Also the loop on the back can only be worn on a chain of office, most other livery are simply sewn onto clothing or worn in hats. This is a perfect example, in excellent excavated condition.
OBJECT: Livery Badge
DATE: c. 1420 - 1480 A.D.
MATERIAL: Silver Gilt
SIZE: 18.58mm x 13.98mm x 8.06mm (with loop) 2.33 thick.
WEIGHT: 2.5 grams
PROVENANCE: Originally found near Taunton, Somerset. Purchased from a collector.
Item code: (#AR00XVANT482)
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