The most historic item of Buckingham’s regalia is the Mace, made in the Commonwealth period under Oliver Cromwell and re-converted during the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.
It has a plain silver gilt shaft with three knobs and a spreading base. Three brackets support the head, with three compartments displaying a swan, a harp and a rose. Three feathers support a cushion bearing a crown.
The crown was awarded by King Charles II in recognition of the Borough’s support of his father Charles I. It bears the Royal Stuart Coat of Arms and is inscribed “In the 12th year of the reign of our sovereign Lord King Charles II by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland 1660”. Only eleven such crowns are thought to exist.
The Mayor’s Chain of Office, like the Mace, is of silver gilt. Presented in 1884 by the Verneys of Claydon House, it consists of 81 quatrefoil links, each enclosing a Tudor rose. The Mayor’s badge shows the Borough Arms and the Verney Coat of Arms. The chain is worn on all civic, ceremonial and other occasions where the Mayor officiates.
In 1924 no Councillor wanted to be Mayor, and a ‘fine’ was imposed on the next to refuse, Councillor Corbett Roper. He duly paid up £10.00 in silver three-penny pieces, 43 of which, with a face value of 10s 9d old money, were made into a chain to be worn by the Mayoress or Mayor’s Consort.
The Buckingham Advertiser (April 1924) reported ‘Councillor Harrison remarked … that it seemed rather significant that the gift should be made in the first year in which there was a lady member of the Council… (Councillor Mrs Stacey)’ ‘ “One thing rather puzzles me” concluded Cllr Harrison “I am trying to think, in the event of a lady being our Mayor, who will wear this chain?” (Laughter). The Mayor replied “Her husband.” (Renewed laughter )’.
The Mayor’s Consort Badge was provided in 2001 as an alternative to the Mayoress’s Chain. It is of gold-plated sterling silver and enamel on a ribbon collarette. There have been 8 female Mayors now, but no male consort has worn the Mayoress’s chain. As the Mayor of 1924 might have said, “Why not?”
This blog post was written by previous Councillor Mike Smith and originally appeared in the Autumn 2018 Buckingham Town Matters Newsletter.