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The Mayor's Chain

In 1880, Earl Cowper, K.G., (High Steward, and the then Member of Parliament for the Borough) and Arthur James Balfour, presented to the Corporation, a Gold Badge, bearing a replica of the Bourough Seal to be worn as a symbol of Office by successive Mayors.

The Gold Chain from which the Badge is suspended consists of 54 links and a clasp which have been presented by, or in memory of, Past Mayors, Town Clerks and others. Each link is engraved with the name of the person it commemorates.

With the Chain and Badge, the Gold Pendant is worn. This is enamelled and jewelled with amethysts. It was presented by members of the Corporation in 1897 in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

The smaller Gold Chain from which the pendant is suspended was presented by Alderman Alexander Purkiss-Ginn in 1926; it was a Christmas gift to him from members of his family during his Mayoralty in the preceding year.

The Standard of Honor
The written record of the Herald's Visitation in 1634 shows both the seal and the arms. In 1925, during the mayoralty and on the initiative of Alderman Josiah Wren, JP, the Borough obtained a grant of a Badge in view of its having been designated an "Honor" (1) in an Assignment by King Edward I in 1304, and in several subsequent royal grants. The Warrant granting this badge describes it as, "Within a chaplet of roses Gules a stag's head caboshed (2) proper; between the attires an escocheon Or, charged with three chevronells Gules" and authorises it to be borne by the Corporation and their successors upon their Standards or otherwise according to the laws of Arms. The chaplet of red, that is Lancastrian roses, exemplify that Hertford is an Honor of the Duchy of Lancaster The escutcheon or shield of arms between the horns of the stag is that of the Earls of Clare and Hertford, a title which lapsed on the death of Gilbert, the 8th Earl who was killed at Bannockburn. 

So the Standard of the Honor of Hertford, which is carried before the Mayor on State occasions, bears this badge thrice repeated, the arms, "Argent, a hart lodged in water proper", and the legend "Pro Hertfordae Honore".

The Standard is of figured white silk damask, 7ft. 6in. long, with a blue and white fringe, on which the Arms and Badge are painted in correct colours, the legend being in gold lettering on a blue ground.

In 1986 the Town Council was advised that the original Standard had become too fragile for use and should be laid up. The Mayor, Councillor G H Sexton, launched an Appeal for funds for a replacement on Remembrance Day, and on 17th May 1987 the replacement Standard of Honor was dedicated in All Saints Church before a congregation of dignitaries, donors and local citizens.

(1) According to Coke on Littleton, an Honor in its general significance, implies "a more noble sort of seigniory on which other Lordships depended by the performance of some custom or services".
(2) Caboshed, i.e. facing front, not sideways.

The Hertford Mace 
The Charter of Queen Elizabeth I in 1589 granted the Borough the right to appoint a Sergeant-at-Mace. The Mace is silver gilt, 38" in length, and weighs 930z. It is decorated with oak leaves, the rose, thistle and harp. Motto of mace -The Freestone of England by God's blessing, restored 1660.

The Town Mace is the symbol of Royal Authority in Hertford, as the Sword is the symbol of Royal Justice but, whereas the Sword is well-documented as regards date of making, the Mace is older and less well-documented so that some of what follows is based on reasonable conjecture.

Hertford's early beginnings were as a Saxon burgh (some evidence of a mint of the time of Alfred the Great has been found) and with the development of town life a 'burgh bailiff' emerged. A bailiff was an individual who was chosen by some sort of election to be a leader and spokesman for the burgh and probably was able to act as an arbitrator in local disputes. Under the Tudors the bailiff's position was formalised and, as some burghs became "boroughs", the bailiff became the "Mayor". By this time the bailiff had been elected annually with all freemen having a vote (in Hertford's case this meant all adult males living within the boundary). It had evidently become customary for the bailiff to receive a robe or gown by public subscription on taking office. When Henry VIII created Hertford a Borough, a Council would have been in existence to aid the Mayor, and the Mayor would have received a staff of office from the Crown (there is documentary evidence to support this). That part of the shaft of the present Mace, furthest from the Crown, is of a slightly different design from the counterpart. It is possible that the old staff of office was incorporated into the Mace when this symbol of authority came into use.

Hertford certainly had a Mace at the time of the Civil War. How it was treated in those revolutionary times is not known but, with the Restoration, those Boroughs which had been Parliamentary and which had a Mace, had a Crown imposed upon their Maces at Royal Command. Hertford was a parliamentary town and had a Crown imposed upon its Mace. However, there is an oddity in the Royal Cypher on the Hertford Mace. The cypher is 'CR' with a rose interposed, not 'CIIR' as would be expected if Charles II had imposed a Head and Crown on an extant shaft.

So the Hertford Mace is at least pre-Civil War and might contain an element, which relates directly to the time when the ancient office of bailiff was transformed into Charter Mayor in the sixteenth century.

In 1980 the Mace was repaired and re-gilded, the necessary monies being provided by businesses and companies operating within the town.

Hertford Sword
The Corporation records show that in 1678 Sir Charles Caesar, Member of Parliament for the Borough, gave "one hundred pounds towards renewing of the Charter and purchasing of a sword and any such other things for the good and credit of this Corporation." The sword itself was made by one Andreia Farara, an Italian craftsman working at his trade during the period 1550-1600. 

It has a Silver gilt hilt with cross guards and a straight double edged blade 36" in length.

The scabbard is also of Italian workmanship and dates around the time of presentation, probably 1680. The ornamentation includes the Royal Arms of the Duchy of Lancaster.

The privilege of carrying a sword before the Mayor in addition to the Mace was granted by the Charter of Charles II in 1680.

The sword was repaired and restored to its present condition, the funds being provided by businesses, associations and citizens of, or having connections with, the Town. This restoration was carried out in 1981. 

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