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As the First Citizen of the Borough,
the Mayor is entitled to wear certain items of civic regalia. In
addition, certain items will be used to signify the office.
The Mayoral Chain consists of 11 crests with crown links and ten
letter links spelling out GILLINGHAM, all of which are made in
sterling silver and gilded. On each crest is engraved some of the
names of previous Mayors. There is also the support chain to assist
with the weight of the Seals. The Seal Matrix of the City of
Rochester Shield is made in hallmarked 9ct gold manufactured in
1988 by Denis Green. The castle on the front of the shield has been
carved in palladium. Hand engraved on the back is a symbol of the
martyrdom of St Andrew. On the tip of the shield are three turrets
made in palladium. The City of Rochester Oyster and Floating
Fishery Shield is made in hallmarked 9ct gold manufactured in 1988
by Denis Green. The ship on the front of the shield has been hand
carved in palladium. Hand engraved on the back is a picture of a
fish with S C Roffen 1606 underneath. On the top of the shield is a
crown made in palladium and gold. The centrepiece is the Medway
Coat of Arms; made in sterling silver then gilded. The two
seahorses have also been made in silver and are enamelled in a
royal blue colour. The seahorses are holding tridents which have
been made in silver and gilded. In the centre in royal blue enamel
is the crest showing Old Rochester Bridge and a lion. Above this
sits a crown in royal blue enamel. Under the shield is a scroll
made in silver and white enamel containing the words “Forward
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The Mayor will only wear the robes on ceremonial occasions and
the robes signify that the Mayor is representing several
- Red represents the Queen.
- Black represents Law.
- The fur represents the People.
Occasionally it is not appropriate for the Mayor to wear full
regalia and on these occasions, the Mayor will wear the ‘badge’
which is the Medway centrepiece hung from a ribbon in blue.
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The 1748 Silver Oar (A3382)
large silver oar is hallmarked London sterling silver 1748. The
blade has the raised silver gilt arms of England, Scotland, Ireland
and France on one side; the other side has royal arms and motto;
three silver gilt knops on shaft and ferrule at the end. Inscribed
with 'Benjamin Graydon Esq Mayor 1748', this item is symbolic of
the Mayor of Rochester's position as honorary Admiral of the River
Medway from Sheerness to Hawkwood.
The 1996 Silver and Wood Oar (A4302)
This is the ceremonial oar of carved walnut that is taken onto
the River Medway as part of the traditional Admiralty Court. It has
a circular silver mount on one side with the Chatham arms and
motto. The other side has two circular silver mounts with seal and
arms of the Admiralty Court; hallmarked London sterling silver.
Inscribed with 'From a generous donation from the Rochester Oyster
and Floating Fishery'; 'Commissioned 1996'.
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Civic Silver at Guildhall
The Guildhall Museum cares for a
collection of historic silver items given to the old borough and
rural councils of Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Strood.
Upstairs in the Main Chamber you will find on display the older
traditional civic treasures, including the famous 1661 Rochester
mace, and the silver and wooden oars of the Admiralty Court. The
latter are used for the meetings of the Admiralty Court, covering
matters relating to the River Medway such as navigation, trade and
There is also an impressive range of silver and gold-plated
silver objects in the museum’s collections that come from various
Some items relate to the long relationship Medway has had with
the Services. The Navy and Army are well represented with gifts
from the Marines and the Ghurkhas, together with items
commemorating the history of the Royal Engineers in this area.
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Also well represented are local companies and institutions, many
of them presented as gifts on the quincentenary (500th anniversary)
of the Rochester Mayoralty in 1961. These include names such as
Brimar Ltd, Leonards of Rochester High Street, Walpamur Ltd, the
Metal Box Co, Luxram Electronic Co, Wingets, Kent Alloys and Swain
& Sons Ltd. Here in Rochester the Bridge Wardens and the
Admiralty Court presented items along with gifts from the local
banks and the Co-operative Society. Charities such as the Red Cross
and the Round Table also have items here.
There are also exchange gifts that reflect Medway’s civic links
abroad. Silverware from Abbeville and Valenciennes in France;
Massachusetts, USA and Cadiz, Spain, can be seen.
During the 19th century the River
Medway was the setting for the annual sailing barge races. These
locally built vessels competed in these popular events that were
witnessed by many thousands of people. The museum has a selection
of the beautiful silver trophies awarded to the winners.
The collection also includes items
that record the visits of royalty to this area. Other objects show
how local celebrities have been involved with the opening of new
schools, roads and other facilities.
Finally there are also trophies
awarded to local people for best-kept gardens and allotments,
recording a time when a great pride was taken in the traditional
English pastime of gardening.
Some key exhibits include:
The Rochester Mace (A3389)
Great Mace of the City of Rochester; silver gilt, London
Hallmarked 1661; large ornate head, crowned arms of England,
France, Scotland and Ireland, each flanked by 'CR' (short for
‘CAROLUS REX’ – King Charles II) and separated by a female
classical figure; topped with crown and orb. Inscribed with 'This
mace was made for the City of Rochester in the year 1661 Mr John
Mabb being then Mayor'; 'Repaired and new gilt in the Mayoralty of
John Batten Esq 1748'; 'Repaired and re-gilt 1937 I G Winch,
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The Mayoral Sword (A3388)
This is the ceremonial dress sword for the Mayor of
Rochester. The blade has no edge, but the top half is beautifully
engraved and damascened (blued). The silver gilt hilt has the City
of Rochester arms and the grip has an image of Rochester Castle and
the martyrdom of St Andrew (the patron saint of Rochester). The
guard has the Rochester Admiralty Court arms. This sword is
symbolic of the Mayor's position as honorary Constable of Rochester
Castle. Engraved with 'GIVEN TO THE CORPORATION OF ROCHESTER AD
1871 by Alderman John Ross Foord MAYOR AND ADMIRAL OF THE CITY AND
CONSTABLE OF THE CASTLE'.
The Chatham Mayoral Chain (A3398)
Mayoral chain and badges of the old Borough of Chatham; silver
gilt badge with red and blue enamel, St George's cross, anchor,
'INVICTA'; gold badge with Chatham arms.
This is actually two chains combined. The outer chain consists
of 52 silver-gilt 'S' links, first worn by the High Constable of
the Court Leet of Chatham in 1875. The inner chain consists of 28
gold links with red and green enamel flowers, and was originally
worn by the Doges (Chief Magistrates) of Venice (the last Doge,
Louis Manini was deposed in 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte).
The Rochester Mayoral Chain (A3393)
The Mayoral chain and badges of the City of
Rochester. Made in 1875 and presented to the City by Mayor Lewis
Levy in remembrance of his father, John Lewis Levy.
The chain consists of 16 shield-shaped links with City arms,
hung with four enamelled badges: the City arms in red enamel; a
polychrome enamel view of Rochester Castle and St Andrew; a dark
blue enamelled 'LL' (Lewis Levy, Mayor); the Admiralty seal.
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