The History of the Missing Badge

The Very Reverend William Ralph Inge

On 20th July 1923 the Glass Sellers’ Company appointed the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, The Very Reverend William Ralph Inge, as the Company’s Honorary Chaplain. Knowing that he might not be able to attend all Livery events, it was decided to appoint an Assistant Honorary Chaplain and on 30th October 1923 the Rev. Edmund Thomas Robert Johnston MA was elected.

The church of St James Garlickhythe

He had recently been installed as the new Rector of St James Garlickhythe. The Livery had started attending services there at the end of 1918 with the Rev Saunders Lloyd, but he had died on 23rd May 1923. It was then realised that a new Badge of Office would therefore be required and that was duly ordered on 18th December 1924. The Rev Johnston was duly invested with the new Badge on 19th March 1925 and the Badge was thereafter passed down to succeeding Assistant Chaplains.

Bermondsey Street Market

Many years later, sometime between 1975 and 1985 during the incumbency of the Reverend Prebendary Donald Mossman, the Assistant Honorary Chaplain’s Badge was stolen. However, in late 1990 Past Master John Thorpe, who was an inveterate haunter of Antique Markets, spotted it on a stall in the Bermondsey Street Market and instantly recognised it as belonging to the Livery – not least because it bore an inscription as to its provenance and use. He duly purchased it and presented it back to the Company.

Since the theft, another Badge for the Assistant Honorary Chaplain had been acquired and presented but had not been inscribed on the back. In 1991, the Glass Sellers’ Court decided that, as the Rev. John Paul, the then current Assistant Honorary Chaplain, was already wearing the replacement Badge, the recovered Badge should now be used by the Master’s Lady. This was the Mastership year of Oliver Normandale and he duly presented the Company with a gold chain from which the recovered Badge could be worn.

However, his wife Kay was a very tall lady and the chain was usually too long for her successors so they usually used a shorter one of their own. The whereabouts of the original gold chain is not currently known. The recovered original Badge is now (2016) in the cellar at Stationers’ Hall as no Assistant Honorary Chaplain has been appointed since 2003. The replacement Badge is still being used by each Mistress but, at some point, has been engraved on the back that it is for use by the Mistress but also erroneously that it was presented by Oliver Normandale – which is not correct as he had only presented the gold chain.

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