Mediaeval maces: power and ceremony

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Mediaeval maces

The biggest collection of Mediaeval maces ever seen in the UK will go on display at the Museum of University of St Andrews (MUSA) from Saturday 7 September – 8 December 2013.

The exhibition, ‘Mediaeval Maces: Power & Ceremony’, brings together ten University maces of international importance as part of the University’s 600th Anniversary celebrations. Alongside the University’s three 15th century maces will be 14th and 15th century maces all the way from Heidelberg, Tübingen, Berlin, and Basel. The University of Glasgow’s Mediaeval mace, depicted on its university’s coat of arms and on its seals, is also being lent for display.

Dr Helen Rawson, Co-Director of the Museum Collections Unit (Collections & Exhibitions), said:

“This exciting exhibition will explore the symbolism and iconography of the maces and connections between mediaeval universities, as well as themes of medieval craftsmanship.”

Also on display will be the crozier of Bishop Fox, founder of Corpus Christi College, Oxford and a range of artefacts and documents relating to the foundation and early history of the University of St Andrews. The ‘Bull of Foundation’ of the University of St Andrews, issued on 28 August 1413 by Pope Benedict XIII, takes pride of place – its arrival in St Andrews in February 1414 was the occasion of great celebrations in the town, from a solemn thanksgiving in the Cathedral to bonfires in the streets and much drinking of wine.  For conservation reasons, it is rarely on display.

Also featured will be the great mazer, or communal drinking cup, of St Leonard’s College which was passed ceremonially round the medieval college table at great feasts; mediaeval stained glass from St Mary’s College; and a beautifully illustrated illuminated Book of Hours from 1450.

The exhibition is free to all and has been timed to coincide with the University’s 600th Anniversary Academic Celebration being held 13-14 September 2013.

A varied events programme accompanies the exhibition including lectures and workshops, as well as family activities focused on subjects such as heraldry, mediaeval art and weaponry.

The exhibition is supported by the Recognition Fund, administered by Museums Galleries Scotland; The Idlewild Trust; and Click Netherfield.

Exhibition opening times are Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 12 noon-4pm. Free admission.

Mediaeval maces bearers

Notes to News Editors

A preview for interested media is being held in the Museum of the University of St Andrews, 7a The Scores, on Thursday 5 September 2013 at 10.30am. Dr Helen Rawson will be available and the maces (in their display cases) will be available for photo opportunities. Any media interested in attending should notify the Press Office on 01334 462 167 or email [email protected]

MUSA tells the story of Scotland’s first University from its foundation in the 15th century until the present day. Visitors can encounter some notable figures from the University’s history, discover some unique and internationally important objects and artworks and experience stunning vistas over West Sands from the viewing terrace. The museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10am-5pm and from 12 noon until 4pm on Sundays.

Further details can be found on the museum website:

For details of the University of St Andrews’ Academic Celebration go to:

Photos of exhibits are available from the Press Office on 01334 462 167 or email [email protected]

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