It is one of the many dear symbols in Admiralty Courts to have an oar mace placed on a stand as a ceremonial symbol of the authority of Admiralty courts. There are records of oar maces in seventeenth century accounts of trials for piracy and murder; and it was established practice to carry the oar at executions ordered at Admiralty sessions, including the execution of the pirate Captain William Kidd in 1701.
The Admiralty mace seems to find its origin in maces used in battle in England in the twelfth century. The oar mace of the English Admiralty Court was first mentioned in a letter describing Court proceedings in 1459. The first representation of the mace can be found on the tomb of Doctor Lewis, an Admiralty Judge in the sixteenth century.
The photo above shows a parcel-gilt Admiralty oar mace from 1819 exhibited in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. The lower half of the shaft is plain silver with a globular terminal button, the upper half is fluted silver-gilt, terminating in a three-dimensional open crown. The shaft unscrews to reveal a gilt oar, which is inscribed on one side: “Admiralty of England”.