I was honoured to be invited to attend the Making of the Mayor Ceremony on the 24th of May at the Guildhall in Lincoln by our friends David and Sandra. David is a past Mayor and both David and Sandra are Council Members. They know how much I enjoy attending events that are history in the making here in the city that we live in – Lincoln.
The position of Mayor of Lincoln was established in 1206. That is 805 years ago. Almost 300 years before Columbus made his famous discovery. Well over 500 years before Thomas Jefferson and friends put their signatures on the American Declaration of Independence. How amazing is that?
We approached the entrance to the Guildhall and were welcomed by the Town Crier as we entered the Guildhall, along with past Mayors, Sheriffs, and other guests. Winding up the staircase are wooden boards hand painted with the names of the Mayors and Sheriffs dating back from 1700 to the present.
A bell began to ring to summon the council members to the council chamber. The bell here in the Lincoln Guildhall is said to be the oldest bell in the country.
I was taken to my seat and made a new friend – Sandra’s sister Wendy. Waiting for the remainder of officials and guests to arrive gave us an opportunity to take in the beauty and history of this amazing building dating back to the 1500’s. It is actually built within the Stonebow Gate. It is steeped with history and makes you wonder who was there before and what kind of conversations went on.
The furnishings of the Council Chamber is made mostly of oak from Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest. It creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. The antique light fixtures give off a warm glow that compliments the hand painted oil paintings of various people who were part of history in Lincoln. The large wooden clock that hangs on the back wall of the room is like a piece of art and its workings are actually built into the roof.
There is a big comfy chair where the Mayor sits. As history tells it, the Mayor’s Chair was used to carry the Mayor around the city during processions, so it had to be made big and strong and comfy. It must have been not so comfy for those carrying him about.
At last they are ready to begin and the official calls the meeting to order. I witnessed the Councilor Kathleen Brothwell being sworn in as the 805th Mayor of Lincoln and the 10th woman – yeah!! The first woman Mayor of Lincoln was elected in the1920’s. That is more than 700 years of male rule before a female was elected into the office of Mayor. Even though she is a woman, she is still addressed as Mr. Mayor, as it is addressing the office of the Mayor – not her personally.
The Mayor chose her Consort Mr. Jeff Boyall, her Sheriff, Mr. Robin Renshaw, and the Sheriff’s Lady Mrs. Judith Renshaw.
During the ceremony, a tradition unique to Lincoln took place as the new Mayor was officially ‘married’ to the city with a 16th century gold ring, which is worn once during her inauguration and again on the Mayor’s official birthday visit to schools in February. The previous Mayor Jeff told the story of how he thought that he had lost the ring because it wasn’t on his thumb when he entered the school that he was visiting. What he didn’t know is that it had slipped down the sleeve of his robe. When he returned to the car he moved his arm down to open the door and the ring fell out onto the ground. Needless to say, he was a very happy man as he know that the history behind it made the ring irreplaceable.
A delicious luncheon followed, and included a toast to the Queen, a few congratulatory speeches, and a visit to our table by the new Mayor – who gave me the centerpiece of flowers as a gift to take home.
It was history in the making and I enjoyed every moment of it.