Bayards Colt

Contributed by Walsall Museum

This unusual carved head is one of the Bayard's Colts, a curious surviving relic from Walsall's past. They are a collection of seventeen clubs which were carried behind the Mayor in ceremonial processions at the openings of markets and fairs and on other civic occasions. In about 1670 there is a mention in the Mayor's accounts of 7/6d being paid to "ye clubbemen for carrying ye clubbes in procession". The practice was discontinued in the mid-nineteenth century, and after this the clubs were hung on the walls of the Magistrates' Court in the Guildhall. In 1969 two of the clubs fell from their hanging place while the court was in session, and were found to be infested with wood worm. The clubs were transferred to the care of Walsall Museum, which arranged for their restoration. Subsequently fifteen of the clubs were returned to the new Magistrates' Court on Stafford Street, where they continue to hang today.

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Walsall, West Midlands, UK

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