19 talk in Martham Methodist Church, 7.30 to 9.15
Fewster, on her third visit, gave a history of Civic
Regalia held by various East Anglia towns. Treasured
and greatly valued, it represents the history of
Charters given by Kings long ago. Charters allowed
cities such as Norwich and towns such as Great
Yarmouth to govern themselves. Ours, given by King
John in 1208, gave us the right to self-govern.
familiar with Mayoral processions wearing their chains
of office, which were not introduced until the 18th
century, and carrying symbols of their power. “Mayor”
derives from the Latin word major, meaning bigger.
Mayors are thus the highest ranking officials within a
city or town. We studied pictures of various maces and
even handled one. Until 17thC they were smaller but
weighty and were seen as weapons. Fortunately these
days they are much larger and ornate and symbolic of
the Town Hall in Great Yarmouth, our Mace dates to
1690 and is used in Mayoral
processions. Insignias showing ships on Seals
represent the importance to coastal towns of shipping
Yarmouth’s sword dates to 1680. This sword, the blade
up and sheathed, is carried in procession in front of
the Mayor. When entering a church the blade is down to
represent a cross. The sword is unsheathed in times of
war so in 1945 there was a ceremony to re-sheath it.
many other important items of plate have been
collected from Thetford to Kings Lynn and during
important banquets these items are displayed, called a
Yarmouth has a ceremonial key and a silver trowel with
the borough arms and the Prince of Wales' arms which
had been used for the ceremonial laying of the
foundation stone of the Town Hall. There are items
dating after 1660. Plate before this date in Great
Yarmouth was seized to pay parliamentary troops during
the civil war.
town’s greatest treasures are, for me, the keys to the
Hutch box, a seven key “treasure chest” where all
Yarmouth’s Charters and ancient documents were kept.
Long ago the hutch was kept in the Vestry of St.
Nicholas, then in the Tolhouse and now safely on the
landing in the Town Hall.
Mayor and her Consort accepted our invitation to
attend and we were given the privilege of viewing and
handling various Great Yarmouth artefacts.
An interesting evening
showcasing civic pride in the treasures that are
Regalia and Plate.