Buckingham’s Mayoral Chain

Nominated by: Mark Cole

Buckingham has had more than 250 mayors since 1668, the year in which King Charles II gave the borough its second royal charter, replacing the Bailiff with a Mayor.  I had the honour of serving as my town as the 254th Mayor for 2019/20.

The chain which is worn by today’s Mayor was created for the Borough in 1884 by its Member for Parliament of 31 years, Sir Edmund Verney of Claydon House.  The Mayor’s Chain consists of 81 quatrefoil links, each enclosing a Tudor rose and united by smaller links. The circular badge, joined to the chain by the head of a horned god (possibly Pan) displays the Borough arms, the Swan both Enchained and Crowned on one side, with a wreath of laurel; and on the other side the Verney arms bearing the inscription “Sir Harry Verney Bart, MP for Buckingham 1832-1841, 1857-1874, 1880-1885”.

The Swan Enchained – the crest of the 2nd Earl of Buckingham, Walter Giffard, the Norman lord of the manor from 1102 – has been the subject of much debate over the centuries.  The Dukes of Buckingham discarded the chain in favour of a ducal coronet around the swan’s neck, and this was confirmed in Sept 1574 by the King of Arms.

But the Buckingham Corporation went its own way with both chain and coronet, and accordingly the swan on the 1884 Mayor’s badge has both. 

Today Buckingham Town Council prefers the coronet alone, perhaps having cast off the chain in remembrance of losing lost its country town status in the 1700s, while the now defunct Bucks County Council had both coronet and chain. The new Buckinghamshire Council logo unites north and south Bucks, with an unadorned swan flying over a river and the Chiltern Hills

The Chain was gilded in 2003 by Vaughtons of Birmingham, and placed on a velvet collar; it is worn on all civic and ceremonial occasions.

Buckingham’s Mayoral Chain was nominated by Councillor Mark Cole JP, Mayor of Buckingham 2019/2020.