Last week’s St Piran’s Parade and Furry Dance was the final civic outing for long-serving Mace Bearer Sid Reed.
Dating back to the Middle Ages, Mace Bearers have served a very important role in the civic life of towns across the country. They generally precede the Mayor in civic processions and act as the Mayor’s personal attendant at official engagements.
Historically, the Mace Bearers were there to protect and defend the honour of the Mayor so the mace became an emblem of power, authority and dignity.
Penzance was first granted permission to have two Mace Bearers in 1614 by King James I. The Penzance Maces date from 1670 and were bought for £13 13s 2d. They are made of silver and have been emblems of civic authority in the Parish for over three hundred years, proudly displaying the Royal Arms at the top end and the town’s Old Common Seal at the bottom.
“I have served as a Mace Bearer to the Town Council for the past 16 years, being the 3rd member of my family to undertake this office” said Mr Reed.
It has been a great honour to serve as a Mace Bearer to the Town Mayors over the years. One of our jobs is to dress the Mayor in their robes of Office and Chain. As you can imagine, this can be a source of great fun sometimes!
I would like to wish my successor good luck in the role.”
The Mace Bearers, or Sergeants at Mace as they are also known, are sworn in each year at the Annual Town Council Meeting by the Town Clerk. Both are required to swear that they will faithfully discharge their duties to the Council for the coming year or until another is appointed in their stead.
Mr Reed was sworn in as a Mace Bearer for the Parish of Penzance in 2006 and first donned the historic Mace and robes at Golowan’s St John Feast.
“I have to admit that – before I became a Councillor – I didn’t even know what a mace was!” said Cllr Jonathan How, Mayor of Penzance.
But since I’ve been the Mayor I’ve very much appreciated the support given to me by Sid and his colleague Mike. It’s very reassuring to know that the current Mace Bearers and their predecessors have been fending off attacks on the Mayor of Penzance since the 17th century!”
Could you be the town’s new Mace Bearer?
Penzance Council are currently looking for a new Mace Bearer for the Parish in time for the long-awaited return of Golowan and the civic parade on Mazey Day.
The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Friday 18 March 2022.