History and tradition of Mayor of Taunton Deane

The Coat of Arms

The arms only became official on the 23 October 1934 when a grant of them was received from the Herald's College. As the Imperial crown could only be borne by special permission of the Monarch, this was changed to a Saxon crown as an allusion to King Ine, the supposed founder of Taunton in the early eight century. The peacock which features on the crest as derived from the peacocks shown on the vase of the town's thirteenth century seal as space-fillers and the rural crown refers to Taunton Castle.

More Information regarding the Coat of Arms and Motto.

The Mayoral insignia

The Mayor's Chain was presented to the Taunton Borough Council in 1884 by Alderman Thomas Penny. The 68 shields with each Mayor's name were added year by year, until 1973/74. The Chain is 18ct gold and the medallion is silver-gilt with 14ct gold. The combined weight is 750g.


The arms on the original medallion were the same as those on the Mace (shown in the window of the main staircase in the Old Municipal Buildings) and were then changed to the present style but showing a royal (King Edward's) crown. This, in turn, was changed to a Saxon crown circa 1938 after the Armorial Bearings were assigned to the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Taunton by Garter principal King of Arms, Clarenceau King of Arms and Norroy King of Arms (the College of Heralds) on 23 October 1934.

Why the Mayor wears robes and chains

The Mayoral Insignia is like a uniform and is worn as the outward and visible sign of the position rather than the person. So while the Mayor is a different person each year, the uniform never changes. On special occasions the Mayor wears a large red cloak with fur around the edge and a black hat with a heavy gold chain for example at Council meetings and Civic Ceremonies. On formal occasions the Chain of Office is worn with shield shaped badge attached. For informal events the Badge of Office is worn on a ribbon.

Sergeant at Mace

This person wears a special uniform and attends the Mayor at most ceremonies. The job includes carrying the Mace which along with the robes and Chain, make up the Insignia. Whenever Chains of Office are worn, the Sergeant at Mace is in attendance with responsibility for the security of the insignia.

The Mace is the traditional symbol of authority and nothing must come between the Mace and Mayor when being used on Civic occasions. In the presence of the Sovereign it is reserved, as in theory, it becomes redundant. At times of National mourning such as a Civic memorial service, when robes are worn, the head of the Mace is draped in black and the red ribbons on the shoulders of the Mayor's robe are changed for black.

The Mace was originally a weapon of war, and in the distant past was used to protect the Mayor. Over a period of time, various embellishments like initials and coats of arms were added to the lower end in order to identify the owner. Gradually the lower end became so ornate that it became the top. This means that now it is carried upside down!

The current Mace was presented in 1877 by two members of Parliament - Sir Henry James, QC and Mr A C Barclay, and is in silver. It weighs 2.7kg. The previous Maces authorised by the Charters of 1627 and 1677 disappeared around 1820 and have not been seen since. In 1939 a facsimile of the present Mace was presented to the City of Taunton, Massachusetts by the Mayor of Taunton (Councillor CH Goodland) when he attended its tercentenary founding celebrations.

Robes

There have been five Mayoral robes; the first purchased in 1877, now in the museum, the second about 1920. These two have sable fur. The third, fourth and fifth were purchased in 1959, 1980 and 1984 respectively and all have Musquash fur. Artificial fur is now available as a result of public concern over animal rights.

The Consort's chain

The Consort's Chain was presented by Mr TS Penny in 1928 and is in 14ct gold. The medallion shows the Royal crown in diamonds but this has never been changed. The Chain carries 37 small shields, each bearing the name of a previous Mayoress or Consort. The combined weight is 190 grammes.

Deputy Mayor's badge

This was presented to the Council in 1966/67 by Alderman FC Spear, OBE and is in silver-gilt, designed and made by Garrard and Co. Ltd.

Invite the Mayor of Taunton Deane to your Event

You can request an appearance by emailing mayor@tauntondeane.gov.uk or by completing the Mayor's attendance form and sending it in writing to:

The Mayors Office
Taunton Deane Borough Council
The Deane House
Belvedere Road
Taunton
TA1 1HE

When you contact us with a Mayoral invite please let us know: