Wonderful old collection of inspection weights from the County Palatine of Chester in the United Kingdom.
This is a rare set with such completeness.
The nine separate weights are 9 weights 4lb, 2lb, 1oz, 8oz, 4oz, 2oz, 1oz, 1/2oz and 1/2oz. - These were used as the tools to check the accuracy of various weighing instruments and were adjustable to ensure accuracy.
Palatinates emerged in England in the decades following the Norman conquest, as various earls or bishops were granted palatine ("from the palace") powers, i.e. powers of a sort elsewhere exercised by the king. In some places this may have been in part a defensive measure, enabling local authorities to organize the defense of vulnerable frontier areas at their own discretion, avoiding the delays involved in seeking decisions from court and removing obstructions to the coordinated direction of local resources at the discretion of a single official.
Palatine powers over Cheshire were acquired by the Earls of Chester, a title which has since 1254 been reserved for the heir apparent to the. Chester had its own parliament, consisting of barons of the county, and was not represented in Parliament until 1543, while it retained some of its special privileges until 1830.
Exceptional powers were also granted to the Bishops of Durham, who during the aftermath of the Norman conquest had been put in charge of secular administration in what became County Durham. The autonomous power exercised by these "prince-bishops" over the County Palatine of Durham was particularly enduring: Durham did not gain parliamentary representation until 1654, while the bishops of Durham retained their temporal jurisdiction until 1836. The bishop's mitre which crowns the bishop of Durham's coat of arms is encircled with a gold coronet which is otherwise used only by dukes, reflecting his historic dignity as a palatine earl.
Set of Nine Inspection Weights - County Palatine of Chester