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Ref  HS6    Serjeant-at-Law Ring

So rare, a Serjeant-at-law ring, dated 1868. From the Middle Ages until the abolition of the office in 1875, Serjeants-at-law were the monarch's servants in legal matters and chosen from barristers of long standing. The judges of the Courts' of King's Bench and Common Plea's were selected from their rank. When appointed the serjeants were required to present rings bearing a suitable motto to their monarch and various dignitaries. They frequently gave further rings to close friends and family to mark the occasion. New mottoes were chosen at each call and the rings varied in value according to the rank of the recipient.

The traditional garb of a Serjeant-at-Law consisted of a coif, a robe and a furred cloak. The robe and cloak were later adapted into the robes worn by judges. The coif was the main symbol of the Order of Serjeants-at-Law, and is where their most recognisable name (the Order of the Coif) comes from. The coif was white and made of silk or lawn. A Serjeant was never obliged to take off or cover his coif, even in the presence of the monarch, except when as a judge passing a death sentence, he would wear a black cap over the coif.

This 22 carat gold serjeant-at-law ring is fully hallmarked for London 1868, with maker's mark TB for goldsmith T. Bartlett. It is inscribed on the obverse between ribbed edges in Latin : Omnia Vincit Veritas - Truth conquers all things. This particular ring is from Augustine Sargood of Gray's Inn, who was called by the Queen to 'the state and degree of Serjeant-at-law' in July 1868. The particulars of the ring appear in Appendix II in Oman's British Rings, Surviving Rings of Serjeants-at-Law. The ring is size P [US 7 and 1/2] and the band is 1/2 an inch wide. It is in immaculate condition. For similar examples, see the British Museum and V & A Museum jewellery collections.

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This ring is the 1868 entry. From Oman's British Rings, Appendix II.

sergeantatlaw
Serjeant-at-law, Middle Ages.

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Serjeant-at-law's coif

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