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The first Mayor of Bournemouth was Mr T J Hankinson. His name is commemorated on the Civic Regalia, being engraved on the Mace and the original Mayoral Badge (now retired) presented to the Town in March 1881 by Mr & Mrs Russell-Cotes.
The Badge’s gold Chain (also retired) was subscribed for all the Members of the Council and the Town Clerk, each presenting one of the 25 links of the Chain.
In 1901, a Mayoress’ Chain was similarly provided, its links being paid for by Members of the Council, the Town Clerk and Borough Surveyor. The Badge was given by the first eleven Aldermen of the enlarged Borough whose names are inscribed on the Badge.
Bournemouth’s Mace is of Silver Gilt, is 36" long and in three parts. The shaft has a terminal in the form of a pine cone and bosses of fern leaves and cones. The head is cup-shaped and engraved with the Royal and Borough Coat of Arms with representations of ferns, pine branches and cones. The top forms an open crown and is removable in order that the head of the Mace may be used as a Loving Cup.
The Mace was presented to the Borough in 1890 by Sir Merton Russell-Cotes, FRGS, and is engraved with the name of the first Mayor of Bournemouth, Mr T J Hankinson, FSI.
Merton Russell-Cotes was later a Freeman of the Borough and, to date, was the first and only man to become Mayor of Bournemouth whilst not being a Member of the Council.
Originally, the Mace was little more than a club. In mythology, Jupiter is depicted bearing an ornamental Sceptre - Mace, and the Mace is mentioned by Homer (920 BC). Ancient Romans had similar emblems of Authority.
An early representation of the Mace as a war weapon, as distinct from the crude club, is in the Bayeaux Tapestry dating from the second half of the 11th Century. William is shown flourishing a War Mace together with his half-brother Odo, the Bishop of Bayeaux. (Interestingly, the Mace was the only weapon permitted to ecclesiastics as it was possible to despatch a victim without spilling blood!)
By the 11th and 12th Centuries, the Mace developed into a formidable weapon. Many Maces had boles at the hitting end which were sometimes fashioned with 4 or more spikes, capable of penetrating the armour of those days. At the reverse end was a hand grip or knob. This type of Mace had no suitable place for displaying the Royal Arms but, later, provision was made for the incorporation of the Arms by swelling the hand grip or knob into a small bell or bowl.
In a London Charter of 1354, it was decreed that the Mace should be adorned "with the Ensign of our Arms".
In a 15th Century painting of the Martyrdom of St Stephen, which hangs in the St George’s Chapel at Windsor, the Mace carried by the Sergeant at Arms is held with the flanged head upwards, and this proves that the Civic Mace of today is really the Military one reversed.
Here is an important use of the Arms. At times, the Sergeant at Arms had to show the bell end with the Arms as proof of his authority, and if any person became stubborn, the Mace was reversed and used in the time-honoured way!
As the Civic use of the Mace predominated over the Military use, so did the bell with the Royal Arms swell in size and become more elaborate, whilst the flanges at the head dwindled and almost disappeared. Military use of the Mace disappeared during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First.
After much deliberation and some criticism, the Council adopted (beautiful and healthy) as the Town’s motto - indicating two of its chief characteristics and principal claims to renown.
An application was made to the Heralds College for a Grant of Arms and, after the investigation of local circumstances and history, the Grant was given on 24 March 1891.
Heraldry in England, as being an exact science, is always held to express some leading facts in the history of an individual or locality and, in the case of the latter, to display some distinctive features which marks it out from other surrounding places. In accord with these principles, the Arms of Bournemouth were constructed.
The whole district in which Bournemouth stands was originally a Royal Estate of King Edward the Confessor. As this is the first existing item of authentic history relative to the area, it was felt that the Arms of the Monarch would properly form the mould or basis of the Corporate Shield. This consisted of a Gold Cross Fleurie Or upon a field of Azure. However, in heraldry, such a shield should not be adopted by any other than the original without important change ("styled differencing"). This change must be such that it will still render its origin clear to the Heralds.
The main part of the Coat of Arms is the Shield which, in the time of battle, was held in the hand as protection to the body. The Bournemouth Shield is divided into four parts (termed "quarterly") which gives the opportunity for a beautiful change or "difference". The Cross of King Edward the Confessor and the field are "counterchanged" - the first and fourth quarters of the Shield are gold and the parts of the cross falling into that division are Azure, whilst the process in the second and third quarters is reversed. This also enables the four divisions to become more completely historical.
The British Lion is displayed upon the first and fourth quarters but is "differenced" as it is a Royal charge. It is shown rampant, indicating the watchfulness and readiness for constant calls to arms, necessary in all that coast during the Middle Ages and, on the rules of "differencing", is Azure. The Lion holds a rose relating to the shield to the Crest in its pre paws.
In the second quartering, an interesting use is made of the Martlets (the nearest similar actual bird is the Sand Martin) which are given in the ancient shield of King Edward the Confessor. They are grouped and one added as a variation so that, whilst still reminding a Student of Heraldry of the source from which they come, they suggest important local features. The sand cliffs of Bournemouth are distinct sources of its beauty and the Martlets fitly indicate this. The Azure field may express the blue sky, whilst the third quarter below suggests the blue sea beneath, an idea which the fish (salmon) moving upon it completes.
The Crest is a pine tree (proper) upon a green mountain (mount vert) with, in front, four English roses, the whole being on a wreath of the colours - gold and blue (Or and Azure). The pine tree on the green mountain may be taken as indicating the salubrity of the climate, and the rose is not only a Royal Emblem of Hampshire (in which County Bournemouth was originally situated) but, as the queen of flowers, it emphasises the motto "for beauty and salubrity".
The Crest and motto therefore combine to state the claims of Bournemouth upon the British public as a resort for health and pleasure.
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