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History

Thetford lays claim to one of the oldest mayoralties in the country and celebrated 800 years of the office in 1999.

Regalia

The Town Council has several items of Regalia including:

The Great Mace

The Great Mace was donated to the town of Thetford by Sir Joseph Williamson (1633-1701) who was M.P. for Thetford from 1669 to 1685. He was also Secretary of State in 1674 and Recorder of Thetford in 1682. He served as the President of the Royal Society and was an intimate friend of Samuel Pepys.

The mace is of standard Restoration form, the shaft chased with roses and thistles in arcading and divided by two spirally fluted knops. Four-scroll brackets surmounted by female busts below the head, the vase-shaped end with acanthus foliage and engraved with the arms of the borough, those of the donor and an inscription.

The head is chased with the national emblems and Cypher C.R. divided by caryatid figures jointed by foliage festoons, with fleur-de-lys and cross patté cresting and beaded arches with orb and cross enclosing the Royal Arms of Charles II, maker’s mark only, R.M. in monogram, possibly for Richard Morrell – 53 ins long.

The inscription on the Mace reads: “In usum Majoris et Burgensium antique Burgi de THETFORD D.D. JOSEPHUS WILLIAMSON Eq: Aur: Sac: Reg: Mat1 a Consiliis intimis et Primarius Secretarius Status A.D. 1678”.

The Great Mace

The Sword of State

The Sword of State was also donated to the town by Sir Joseph Williamson. A German Solingen blade engraved at the ricasso with panels of scrolling foliage and bearing the ‘running wolf’ mark and two other marks; a crowned Z and a horn.

It has a silver-hilt with with a spirally fluted grip and matted quillons terminating in boldly modelled lion’s masks, the large pear shaped pommel chased with figures of Justice and Wisdom. The cartouches between the quillons are engraved with the arms of the donor and an identical inscription to that of the Great Mace.

The red velvet sheath with silver gilt locket decorated with the applied arms of Charles II and the borough on matted ground chased with foliage. Two smaller lockets have applied national emblems and chape with applied crown and cypher C with acorn finial – 52 ½ ins long.

The mounts for the sword are unmarked, circa 1678. It seems probable that the sword was mounted by the same maker as the mace.

Sergeant-at-Arms Maces

A pair of Sergeant-at-Arms maces with slender cylindrical shaft divided by a compressed knop and with iron six-flanged termination, the plain circular head with fleur-de-lys and cross patté cresting, one with applied Royal Arms of the Stuart period, the arms on the other missing and the head repaired with copper, unmarked, early 17th century -17 ¾ ins long.

Sergeant-at-Arms Maces

The Staff of Office

The Staff of Office, a blackwood tapering cane with plain silver top spreading to the domed cap engraved with the seal of the borough and below with the ins cription ‘The Worshipful James Mingay Esqre. Mayor 25th December 1800’, ‘The Most Noble Augustus Henry Fitzroy Duke of Grafton Recorder’, and ‘Henry Thompson Esqre., Coroner’, in three oval panels with brass ferule, by T. Phipps and E. Robinson, 1800 – 7ins long.

The Mayor’s Badge and Chain

The Mayor’s Badge and Chain is made in silver gilt. The badge is formed as the borough seal, the double chain with three Tudor roses, two letters T and a portcullis is at the centre. The back of the badge is engraved with the inscription ‘For the use of the Mayoress of the Ancient Borough of Thetford, given by Laura Fison, 1930’.

The Loving Cup and Stand

A William III silver gilt two-handled cup and cover on a circular gadrooned foot, the lower part of the body repousse and chased with spiral fluting and engraved above with the arms of the borough and that of the donor in festooned baroque cartouches. The cover has a gadrooned border and spirally fluted domed centre in a border of punched leaf motifs and with boldly modelled acron finial – 9ins high.

The stand is of centrally footed salver form with similar gadrooned borders to the cup. The centre is similarly engraved with the two coats of arms. By Anthony Nelme 1697 – 12 ¼ ins diameter. The Stand is engraved on the underside with the inscription ‘Ex dono Jacobi Sloane Armigeri unius hujis Villae 1697’. The cup is engraved below the base with ‘Prosperity to Thetford’. The arms are those of James Sloane, eldest brother of Sir Hans Sloane Bart. He was a barrister-at-law and also M.P. For Thetford who died in 1704.

A plain oblong ink stand

On four claw-and-ball feet with reeded rim, two silver mounted cut –glass bottles and an oval box. In the centre, engraved with the inscription; ‘Given by John Vavasseur Fisher Mayor of Thetford 1962-63’ – 8ins wide.

A plain oblong ink stand

An American plain circular dish

With depressed centre and moulded borders. Engraved with the inscription; ‘To Thetford Birthplace of Thomas Paine, August 6th 1952’.
– 9 ½ ins diameter.

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