View Single Post
Old 03-21-2018, 12:32 PM
PatrickLondon is offline
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: London
Posts: 3,388
Thumping a staff on the floor three times is a tradition at the Comédie Française in Paris, as that was what used to be done to announce the start of theatrical performances in the 17th (and 18th?) centuries. It was also the way orchestras were conducted (the composer Lully died as a result of an infection when he managed to thump his staff on his own foot).

But I've never heard of it in the UK: maces are carried in ceremonial processions as a symbol of authority, not just in Parliament or for the judiciary, but often for occasional ceremonials in local government (one of my great-uncles was Macer for Edinburgh City Council), universities and organisations like City livery companies, but AFAIK they're just shown - too expensive to be whacked on a floor - and court ushers and clerks just use a stentorian voice for any calling a court into session.

If there's any "Hear ye!" to be done, these days it's just the surviving Town Criers - and they use a handbell.