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Description

Old wooden and painted tipstaff. Painted in a spiral fashion:-
'TOWN AND LIBERTY OF ST. DOGMELS'.

St Dogmaels (Welsh: Llandudoch) is a village parish and community in Pembrokeshire, on the estuary of the River Teifi, a mile downstream from the town of Cardigan in neighbouring Ceredigion.

St Dogmaels was once a 'marcher borough'. George Owen of Henllys, in 1603, described it as one of five Pembrokeshire boroughs overseen by a Portreeve. The parish appeared as Sct. Dogmels on a 1578 parish map of Pembrokeshire.

A 'Liberty' was a unit originating in the Middle Ages, traditionally defined as an area in which Regalian right was revoked and where the land was held by a Mense Lord (i.e. an area in which rights reserved to the King had been devolved into private hands). It later became a unit of local government administration.

The Liberties Act 1850 was an Act of the Parliament that provided a mechanism to enable the various liberties or independent jurisdictions in England and Wales to be merged into the geographical counties in which they lay. As such, I would think that the tipstaff will pre-date 1850.

A rare item and important piece of Welsh social history. Long before the advent of police as we now recognise it, and in my opinion, likely to date from the 18th century. It would have been used as a form of identification, carried by a Parish / Petty Constable / Bailiff / Magistrate or other similar official.

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