The Mayoral Chain
The Mayor's Chain dates from 1878 and apart from the badge at the front, is in original condition. The chain is made from pure gold and weighs approximately 4Ibs (2kg). It is made up of five different links, a rose, a portcullis, a lion, a letter 'S' and a scroll within a scroll, topped with a fleur-de-lys. In total there are four of each link and also two badges, showing different Coats of Arms.
At the front of the chain is a large rose, from which the badge hangs, this is the true heraldic rose of Lancaster, the petals of which, are enamelled in red. Three smaller roses can also be found on the chain, although these are unpainted. Adjoining the rose either side, is a portcullis. This symbolises the defence of Lancaster, during the English Civil War, when the soldiers of Lord Derby laid siege to Lancaster Castle. The Castle's portcullis proved impossible to penetrate and the assailants retreated and left the town. It is also said that the portcullis signifies Lancaster's links with Parliament. Headed paper from the House of Commons carries the portcullis as its emblem.
Linked to this is a lion and heraldically speaking, a lion passant guardant. This means the lion is walking with three paws on the ground, with the dexter fore paw (the lions front right paw) raised, with the tail displayed over the lions back and the face looking out. The lion signifies Lancaster's links with the King's Own Royal Border Regiment and is the symbol of the regiment, formerly The King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster). The lion was presented to the regiment in recognition that they were one of the first regiments to meet William of Orange (later King William III), when he landed in Torbay in 1688. On the 1st July 2006 the KORBR merged with The King's Regiment and The Queen's Lancashire Regiment to form The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment.
Next to the lion is a Shield of Arms, supported on each side of the shield by the Lancaster 'S'. On one side of the chain are the arms of John O'Gaunt, the second Duke of Lancaster and on the other side are the arms of the County Palatine of Lancaster. The 'S' is supposed to represent the initial letter of the word 'SOVERAYGNE', the motto of Henry IV, who was the son of John O'Gaunt and the third Duke of Lancaster. The Sovereign is always the Duke of Lancaster. Each shield cleverly hides a pin which keeps the chain in place.
The next link is a scroll within a scroll and is topped off with a fleur-de-lys, which means 'Lily of France' and was adopted by Louis VII in the middle of the 12th century, as his ensign. When Edward III claimed the Crown of France, he quartered the Lillies of France with the Lions of England on his Royal Shield, and his son, who was John O'Gaunt, did the same and added the label of Brittany to distinguish his shield from his fathers.
The links then run in the following order, on both sides, a smaller Lancaster rose, another portcullis, another lion and another scroll and fleur-de-lys. The unenamelled rose at the centre back of the chain conceals a pin, which keeps the chain in place.
The Badge (1878 to 1974)
From 1878 until 1974, the original badge hung from the chain. The badge is approximately 5 inches long and was attached by a small hook which is concealed behind the fleur-de-lys at the top of the badge. The badge could also be worn independently from the chain by hanging it from a ribbon, utilising the same hook. The badge is now on display in the Mayor's Parlour.
The centre piece of the badge is the arms of the former Borough of Lancaster. Behind the shield are a miniature copy of the Borough Mace and a sword of justice. Above the shield is a helmet in silver and above this is a blue lion, covered with golden fleur-de-lys. On the reverse of the badge is the inscription 'THIS COLLAR AND BADGE WERE PRESENTED BY COUNCILLOR S.W. WEARING TO THE CORPORATION OF LANCASTER FOR THE USE OF THE MAYOR OF THE BOROUGH FOR EVER AS A MEMENTO OF HIS LONG AND PLEASANT CONNECTION WITH THAT BODY AND OF THE ATTACHMENT HE FEELS FOR HIS NATIVE TOWN A.D. 1878 ABRAHAM SEWARD MAYOR'.
The Badge (1974 onwards)
On the 1st April 1974, Lancaster City Council officially merged with Morecambe and Heysham Borough Council, Carnforth Urban District Council, Lancaster Rural District Council and Lunesdale District Council. To mark the occasion and to recognise the five newly merged authorities the original badge was 'retired' and a new badge adorned the Mayoral chain. The 'new' badge uses the Armorial Bearings of the then newly formed Lancaster City Council, which reflects the five merged authorities. These are a complete 'Achievement of Arms', in other words they contain, a shield, a crest, supporters, a badge and motto.
The shield is based on that of the former City and former Rural District of Lancaster. It is divided into white and blue, the liveries of the Duchy of Lancaster, the reigning Sovereign being the Duke of Lancaster.
Across the middle of the shield is the wave, in blue and white, from the former Arms of the Lancaster Rural District, which represents the River Lune.
In the top portion of the shield, is the lion, in blue, from the City Arms, (as it was in the former City supporters and also the former City and former Rural District Council crests).
In the lower portion of the shield, is the fleur-de-lys, from the former Lancaster City Arms. A white fleur-de-lys is the emblem of St. Mary and this represents the historic Priory and Parish Church of St. Mary in Lancaster.
Above the shield is a closed helm, with twisted crest wreath and decorative mantling, again in blue and white. The crest is the fishing boat from the Arms of the former Borough of Morecambe and Heysham and is sat behind five red roses of Lancaster. The roses represent each of the five merged authorities and are a link with the roses in the Arms of the former Lancaster City, Morecambe and Heysham Borough and Lancaster District Councils.
The supporters, in blue, are the Royal Lions and each has a gold collar. From the left hand lion's collar hangs a three tower castle, which is a reminder of Lancaster Castle and of Hornby Castle. The emblem of the former Lunesdale Rural District Council was Hornby Castle. From the collar of the right hand lion, hangs a railway engine wheel, alluding to Carnforth, which was a major railway town for many years.
Each lion rests a foot on a golden wheatsheaf, like that in the former crest of Lancaster Rural District Council and these two refer to the former rural district councils of Lancaster and Lunesdale. The motto is 'LUCK TO LOYNE' and was the motto of the Arms of the former Lancaster City Council. Loyne is an alternative name for Lune, with the River Lune running through the district and in Roman times 'Loyn-castre' was a place of some importance.
The Great Mace
The Great Mace or The Queen Anne Mace, as it is sometimes known, was the gift of Robert Heysham in 1702. There is an inscription around the main upper shaft of the mace which reads, ' The gift of Robert Heysham Esq. to the Corporation of Lancaster, December 1702.
Made from silver gilt, the Great Mace is 54 inches (137 cm) in length and weighs 14 Ibs (6.4kg).
The 'head' of the Mace is topped with an open arched crown and an orb, which sit over the Royal Crest. Around the 'head' are five spaces, divided by half figures with foliage lowers. In these spaces are one of the four Royal badges and the (former) Arms of Lancaster, which are separated by the letters A.R.
Maces, were originally weapons of war but today are a ceremonial symbol of authority. The Mace should always precede the Mayor when entering or leaving the council chamber, or in a ceremonial / civic procession. When the Mayor is seated the Mace should be placed horizontally in front of them, with the crown to the Mayor's right. The Mace should only be reversed in the presence of Royalty, as the Mace is a symbol of the Mayor's position as a representative of the Sovereign. This symbol becomes redundant in the presence of Royalty. It is an accepted rule that the Mace is reversed for all members of the Royal Family who are attending officially and not just Her Majesty.
The Mace is still used for Annual Council (the Mayor Making Ceremony), Mayor's Sunday, The High Sheriff's (Shield Hanging) Church Service and Freeman's Court. It has however, been retired from full Council meetings, which are held at Morecambe Town Hall, when the Morecambe & Heysham Mace (see left) is used.
The Mayoress's Chain
In 1914, a gift of a chain for the Mayoress and any future Mayoress to wear was made by the Mayor of that year, Mr. William Briggs. In fact William Briggs and Mrs. Briggs were Mayor and Mayoress for six consecutive years, from 1913 to 1919.
It was thought that as the Mayor had a chain of office, the Mayoress should also have a chain of office. The chain is made of 18 ct. gold and consists of two pendants. The front pendant bears the Arms of the former Borough of Lancaster and is surrounded by opals, a sapphire and rubies. The pendant at the back bears the Arms of Mr. Briggs.
The pendants are linked by a double gold chain, interspaced by links of the Rose of Lancaster, sets of rubies or sets of opals. There is an inscription on the rear of the back pendant, which reads ' The gift of Wm. Briggs, Mayor, for the use of the Mayoress of Lancaster, 13th August, 1914'.
The Small Maces
Also known as James I Maces, these two identical maces, are made from silver gilt and date from somewhere between 1603 and 1625, although it is possible they weren't actually obtained until about 1632.
On the flat top of each mace are the Royal Arms of James I, with the initials IR around the main body. They are carried on ceremonial processions by the Mayor's Sergeant and Town Sergeant respectively.