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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 1  1858  page 75
   By Edward Foss, F.S.A

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letter;—thirdly, as to the family which first introduced it, and the persons originally entitled to wear it;—and lastly, as to the cause of its being ultimately confined to a few individuals, and who they were. On each of these I propose to offer a few remarks, though on some of them perhaps I shall not be able to arrive at any certain conclusion.
   First, as to the form of the emblem that constitutes the collar. The name by which it has been commonly distinguished, sufficiently proves that it is generally understood to represent a series of the letter S. But there are some who think it merely a chain, and that it received the name from the links being formed in the shape of the letter, placed sometimes obliquely, and sometimes laid flat on their sides;l while others consider it " the ensign of equestrian nobility;" the true source of its nomenclature being "from the S-shaped lever upon the bit of the bridle of the war steed."2 The form of the oldest examples, however, is inconsistent with either of these suppositions. Every observer must be satisfied that in them no chain or mechanical contrivance was intended; but that, whatever might be its signification, it is nothing else than a series of the letter. These SS are never united in any of the early collars of which representations remain, but are placed separate and apart from each other, at larger or smaller intervals, upon a band of some stiff substance of a dark colour.
   The second inquiry, grounded on the admission that the figure is intended for the letter S, has been what that letter was meant to signify. This has given rise to various speculations, in the following account of which, as well as in many of the subsequent observations, I have availed myself of the information given by that learned antiquary, Mr. John Gough Nichols, who
    1  'Notes and Queries,' 1st S. ii. 248, 330.    2 Ibid,, p. 194

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