Guildhall (the Corporation of London Record Office) had the following information of Mayoral items found on Sir William Gore’s memorial.

The Pearl Sword

The City has several swords. The one on Gore’s memorial is undoubtedly the Pearl Sword, so called from the pattern of pearls on the scabbard. It is of 16th century date and there is an unsupported tradition that Elizabeth I gave it to the City when the first Royal Exchange was opened in 1571. It is used on great ceremonial occasions when it is carried by the Lord Mayor himself. (The sword most usually carried before the Lord Mayor by the Swordbearer is known as the Sword of State)

The Swordbearer’s Hat

The Swordbearer had a special hat from an early date. Originally he seems to have had a summer hat of silk or velvet and a winter hat of fur but then the fur hat came to be worn in all seasons. It is of sable, 8 inches high and widens out from the bottom upwards in the manner of fur hats worn about 1400.

Over the centuries there were many and varied representations of the City of Arms and from time to time one finds the Swordbearer’s hat incorrectly incorporated in them, e.g. sometimes replacing the crest. Confusion probably arose in part because there had never been any grant of the ancient shield of arms and the crest and supporters had never been recorded. It was only in 1957 that that the City obtained from the King of Arms a grant of the crest and supporters and a confirmation of the arms. But incorrect though the inclusion of the hat may of  been it does show the importance attached to it as a City and mayoral “symbol” and so account for its presence on Gore’s memorial.

The Collar of SS

Gore is undoubtedly wearing the Lord Mayor’s Collar of SS although he has so much hair and such elaborate robes that most of it is obscured. (from portrait) The collar was bequeathed to the City for the use of the Lord Mayor by Sir John Allen’s will of 1545. It consists of 28 ornate letters S in gold (4 were added in 1567 to the original 24) with a red and white enameled Tudor rose and a knot alternately between each pair of letters and in the center is a portcullis. Looking at Gore’s memorial the portcullis is well in evidence and I think to left and right of it there may be represented two of the knots. I am not sure that they came precisely at this time place in the real thing but perhaps a little artistic license came into play. The main part of the chain, which would be worn widely spaced to the edge of the shoulders, is hidden by hair and clothes.

From the portcullis is suspended the jewel or badge. The one dated from 1607 was of gold set with a large number of diamonds with a pendant pearl. This jewel is shown in quite a number of portraits of late 17th and 18th century Lord Mayors but the representations of it vary quite a bit. It is sometimes rather more diamond shaped than in Gore’s case.


A catalogue of works of art belonging to the Corporation of London lists two portraits, obviously a matching pair, of Sir William Gore and Lady Gore, who is described as Elizabeth, daughter of Walter Hampton and Maria Mellish of Sandersted. The artist is not named. The portraits were purchased in 1956 and their accession numbers are 1535 and 1536. They are displayed in the Guildhall Art Gallery in London.