The Mace is a symbol of the authority of the South Carolina House of Representatives. The scepter-like object rests in a rack at the front of the Speaker’s podium whenever the House is in session and is sometimes carried in processions. The Mace has been used by South Carolina legislative bodies, with some interruptions, since it was made for the Commons House of Assembly in 1756. It was crafted in London by Magdalen Feline (d. 1796). She was a master goldsmith who specialized in large pieces, such as bowls and candlesticks, and had her establishment in Covent Garden. Four other Feline maces are preserved in England.
South Carolina’s Mace is approximately forty-eight inches long, weighs almost eleven pounds, and is fashioned of silver burnished with gold. It is topped by a symbolic royal crown. Around the cylindrical mace-head below the crown are four circular decorative panels: the pictures from the colonial great seal of King George II (with the king receiving a curtsy from a lady personifying the province, and the royal coat of arms) and allegories of commerce and agriculture. After the Revolutionary War, the Mace became the property of the House of Representatives.
Since the Middle Ages ceremonial maces as emblems of authority have been carried before high government, university, and church officials. The ceremonial mace is descended from medieval weapons of war and from kingly scepters. South Carolina’s is the oldest mace in continuous use by any American state legislature.
Heisser, David C. R. “Scepters of Academe: College and University Maces of the Palmetto State.” Carologue 10 (winter 1994): 11–13, 24.
Heisser, David C. R., and Sandra K. McKinney. South Carolina’s Mace and Its Heritage. Columbia: South Carolina House of Representatives, 1991.
Salley, Alexander S. The Mace of the House of Representatives of the State of South Carolina. Columbia, S.C.: State Company, 1917.