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VWBro Richard Herbert Turpin O.B.E., PDPGM, receives an exceptional honour

VWBro Richard Herbert Turpin O.B.E., PDPGM, receives an exceptional honour


VWBro Richard, was selected to be one of 180 pensioners to receive the gift of Maundy Money from Her Majesty the Queen on Thursday 24th March 2016. 

VWBro Richard, about to receive his gift from Her Majesty


After the Ceremony, VWBro Richard commented -

We had a wonderful day and the presentation in the traditional Maundy Service was followed by an excellent reception in the State Apartments.  I still don't understand what I have done to deserve such a high honour which is given to 'elderly' men and women for services to the Church and their local community.


The ceremony takes place each year on Maundy Thursday, at a different Cathedral or Abbey located throughout the British Isles, but this year to mark the Queen’s 90th Birthday, it broke from tradition and returned to St George’s Chapel, Windsor, for the first time since 1959, whilst the recipients, chosen in recognition of their service to their community and their Church, were selected from across the country and not just the local diocese as is usual.

At the 61st ceremony held during Her reign, the Sovereign handed to each recipient, two small leather string purses. One, a red purse, containing – in ordinary coinage – a £5 coin commemorating the Queen's 90th birthday and a 50p coin marking the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, (money in lieu of food (£1.50), clothing (£3) and £1 for the redemption of the Sovereign’s gown); the other, a white purse, contains uniquely minted silver Maundy coins consisting of the same number of pence as the years of the Sovereign's age.


The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which has its origin in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday. The commandment (also known as a 'mandatum' from which the word Maundy is derived) ‘that ye love one another’ (John XIII 34) is still recalled regularly by Christian churches throughout the world.

The ceremony of washing the feet of the poor, which was accompanied by gifts of food and clothing, can be traced back to the fourth century Spain and Italy, but the custom for members of the Royal Family to take part in the service only began in the 13th century when the first recorded Royal Distribution was by King John in 1210 and when the ceremony became known as The Royal Maundy

It was Henry IV who began the practice of relating the number of recipients of gifts to the sovereign's age. In the eighteenth century the act of washing the feet of the poor was discontinued and in the nineteenth century money allowances were substituted for the various gifts of food and clothing.

Maundy money as such started in the reign of Charles II with an undated issue of hammered coins in 1662. The coins were a four penny, three penny, two penny and one penny piece but it was not until 1670 that a dated set of all four coins appeared. Prior to this, ordinary coinage was used for Maundy gifts, silver pennies alone being used by the Tudors and Stuarts for the ceremony.

Maundy money has remained in much the same form since 1670, and the coins used for the Maundy ceremony have traditionally been struck in sterling silver, save for the brief interruptions of Henry VIII’s debasement of the coinage and the general change to 50% silver coins in 1920. The sterling silver standard (92.5%) was resumed following the Coinage Act of 1946 and in 1971, when decimalisation took place, the face values of the coins were increased from old to new pence.

Whilst the effigy of The Queen on ordinary circulating coinage has undergone four changes,  Maundy coins still bear the same portrait of Her Majesty, prepared by Mary Gillick for the first coins issued in the year of her coronation in 1953.

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