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Symbolic sword

Date: 08/08/2008           Category: Members Services / Chief Executive Office

A specially-commissioned sword has been presented to the Mayor of Medway to recognise the dignitary’s links with medieval Rochester. Former Mayor of Medway, Cllr Val Goulden has handed a replica of King Edward III’s sword to Mayor of Medway, Cllr David Carr. The sword represents both part of the mayoral role as Constable of the Castle and Rochester’s links to its medieval past. Cllr Goulden said: “When the mayor’s parlour moved from Gillingham to Gun Wharf I thought it would be nice to have something for the new Mayor to hang on the wall. We have insignia that is relevant to the Mayor’s role as the Admiral of the River, the silver oar and Admiral’s Court but, before that time, the Mayor was also Constable of the Castle and we really have nothing to symbolise that historic link to our medieval past. “To me it shows that Medway has roots that go back further than Dickens, to the time of the Normans and the Templars, when the Mayor really was the Constable of the Castle.” The owner of Rochester Armoury in Rochester High Street helped Cllr Goulden find a handmade sword of a similar pattern to that which a Constable of an important city like Rochester would have had at his side. In 1346 the original of this sword was commissioned by King Edward III and still survives today. As a ceremonial piece it is decorated with symbols of significance to his realm and deeds. Just like the original, the symbols on this sword can be related to Rochester and its diverse heritage. The Fleur de Lys of France reminded Edward of his claim to his territories in Crecy. In Rochester’s case it serves to remind us of the city’s close historic link with France through the French Hospital at La Providence. The Lions of England cause us to remember that Richard the Lionheart passed through the city on his way to the crusades. The sign of the Garter, etched on the blade, is the badge of the Order of the Knights of St George which holds its annual church service in Rochester Cathederal. The blade also carries an etched portcullis. The significance of this on the original has been lost in time, on this sword it alludes to the origins of the fortified City offering a place of safety to pilgrims and citizens alike. The Mayor of Medway Cllr David Carr was elected to the council in May 2007, making him the shortest-serving councillor in Medway's history to be nominated as Mayor. Cllr Carr officially took up his duties as Mayor of Medway for 2008/09 on 7 May 2008, when he was elected at the council’s annual meeting. The Mayoress is his wife, Kirstine. Cllr Carr aims to make the issues of community safety and law and order the central theme of his mayoralty. He said: “I will be seeking to improve the people's perception of Medway by attempting to positively influence all those who can rid our walls of graffiti, our streets of grime and litter and the threat of bad behaviour from our doorsteps.” The new mayor’s chosen charities for his year in office are: § National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) (www.nspcc.org.uk); § Wisdom Hospice (www.wisdomhospice.co.uk); § Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Services (www.alzheimers-dementia.org.uk).