Questions > : 'Liveries'


Dec 09 2011, 12:57:32 Liveries

I am trying to discover the meaning of the S's which make up the Lancastrian livery collar widely given to retainers of Henry IV and Henry V - my enquiries to both the Duchy of Lancaster and the College of Arms have produced no definitive explanation.



Jan 8, 2012 19:06:11

From Wikipedia ( "Many explanations are given of the origin of these letters, but none has as yet been established."

There is more information at the above link.

Jan 9, 2012 12:11:27

My current PhD thesis examines the function and meaning of the livery collar during the fifteenth century. There have been many meanings proposed, some more convincing than others. A.P. Purey-Cust's 'The Collar of SS, A History and Conjecture' (Leeds, 1910) is a helpful and informative read, but hard to get hold of. For a more up-to-date text have a look at Ian Mortimer's 'The Fears of Henry IV', Appendix 7 (pp. 384-7). This provides a neat summary of the various meanings of the esses. Personally I believe that the esses had a multiplicity of meanings; something which I'm sure would have appealed to the fifteenth-century mind. If you need any more information I'd be more than happy to help.


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