The Mayoral chain was presented to the Corporation of Godmanchester in commemoration of the sixtieth year of the reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria on 20 June 1897. It was manufactured in Chester and retailed by Watherson and Son Silversmiths, 12 Pall Mall, London.
The chain is manufactured from 18 carat gold and is constructed in "figure of eight' links interspersed by eight medallions and eight Tudor Roses. A large, gold pendant displaying a royal blue fleur-de-lis is suspended from the lower-most medallion.
The dates of the charters - AD 1213 and AD 1604 are inscribed on the surface of the medallion, and the letter G (for Godmanchester) is repeated all around the circumference. The date AD 1213 is contentious as the charter was actually signed on 20 May 1212.
Each medallion depicts a period of Godmanchester history:-
The Roman Bridge commemorates the Roman settlement of Godmundcestre. The Words “Durolipious Romanorum’ are inscribed on the surface of the medallion.
A Danish Watchtower symbolises the Danish Camp that was located on the site of present day Godmanchester in AD 880. At this time the settlement was called Gumcestre - a combination of Danish King Guthram's name and 'castra” the Roman word for camp.
A Plough surmounted by a royal crown is subscribed by the Words "Four Score'. This celebrates the visit of King James 1 when he was met by "the men of Godmanchester' with about 80 ploughs, highlighting the importance of Godmanchester as an agricultural town.
An Elm Tree commemorates the visit of King James 1 in AD 1604. He was met under an elm tree by the towns-people to receive the charter of the town. It is said that the elm tree was located on Kings Bush Farm, which is now Woodgreen Animal Sanctuary.
A Water Mill depicts the importance of farming in the area. The last mill was demolished as late as the 1960s. It had stood where the car park opposite Bellman's the Bakers is now located.
A profile of Queen Victoria's Head honours her Silver Jubilee.
The head of Edward VII is a later addition to the chain and commemorates his coronation in 1902. It is manufactured from a gold coin inset in a gold surround.
The final medallion shows the coat of arms of Mr P E Tillard who was Mayor when the chain was commissioned. The details of the donors are inscribed on the reverse of each medallion or Tudor Rose. The donors were generally relatives of previous Bailiffs and Mayors.
For example Edward Martin, who was Bailiff six times and Mayor six times between 1781 and 1850, built the Town Hall
William Gadsby, who was Mayor in 1895, organised the extension of the Town Hall
Martin Hunnybun who was Mayor continuously for 46 years between 1838 and 1884.
The medallion worn by the Deputy Mayor and the Mayoress or Consort is a recent addition. It is a sterling silver pendant enameled in gold and blue displaying the Godmanchester crest of a Fleur-de-lys. It is worn on a 25mm blue collarette.
The Mayor’s robes comprise a red, velvet cloak trimmed with rabbit fur, a white ruff, white gloves and a black bicorn hat complete the ensemble. The origin of the original robes is unclear, but the current set was purchased in 1922 at a cost of £28 and funded by the Mayors and Councilors at the time. The Deputy Mayor wears a similar red cloak without the rabbit for trim.
The Mace made of silver was manufactured in 1745 and is carried only when the Mayor is in full formal attire. The Mace Bearer wears a black gown.