Who Have We Here?
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Club President Claire Wright and President-elect Hugh Lawrence, resplendent in the weighty robes and regalia of the Mayor of St Albans and the mace bearer.
Their mock enrobing followed a revealing talk about the regalia and the mayoralty by the Rt Worshipful Mayor of St Albans, Councillor Geoff Harrison, Mace Bearer Steve Potter and ‘Stick Officer’ Alison Orde.
The St Albans mayoralty and chartered market were conferred by Edward VI in 1553. Councillor Harrison, the 478th mayor, is the most senior of Hertfordshire’s mayors.
Stemming from medieval riding dress, the mayor’s robes are explicit. The red demonstrates authority, black the judiciary and fur the King’s first citizen. The hat incorporates a boss for attachment to a lanyard preventing loss when riding on horseback.
The mace bearer was originally the mayor’s bodyguard and the mace his weapon. The St Albans mace dates from 1660 and is the oldest in the country, far older than that used in parliament.
As far as is known, the mace was used to defend the mayor only once. When poll-tax demonstrators invaded the council chamber in the early 1990s an attack on the mayor was fought off with the mace. It required some repair, as did the attacker!