Mayors are only known as a result of their names being recorded on early documents, thus Bodmin may have had a Mayor much earlier than we have on record.
For a list of Bodmin Mayors, click here (PDF).
The title of Mayor was supposedly first assumed in London in AD 1191. The title of Mayor of Bodmin was first given to John Coterel in 1336. Many have served for more than one term so that only about 317 separate persons (by 2011) have served as Mayor of Bodmin.
Records show that up to the 17th century, Mayors often also represented Bodmin in Parliament, although generally not while actually serving as Mayor. During this period Bodmin had 2 Borough MPs and it was usual for them to be ordinary, local people of the town.
Solidly Catholic, the Cornish people loathed the suppression of the monasteries and the new religious formularies imposed upon them.
In 1549, Mayor, Nicholas Boyer, was hanged outside his own house, near Mount Folly, for the part he played in the Prayer Book Rebellion.
Sir Anthony Kingston, the Provost Marshal was sent down to deal out punishment to the leaders of the rebellion. Kingston, upon arriving in the town, sent word that he intended to dine with Boyer; no doubt the Mayor was delighted. The Provost requested Boyer to have gallows ready by the time dinner was over. Unfortunately the unsuspecting Mayor had not realised his fate before his ‘last supper’.
The eye well situated off Bell Lane has a tablet stone inscribed George de Mountfryart dated 1700. It is thought the stone could have been placed there to mark the opening of a new century.
George was the Mayor of Bodmin in 1691, 1694, 1700, 1712 and 1716. The water which flows here comes from the Beacon.
The eye well had a reputation for healing weak and troubled eyes and also supplied water for the local inhabitants.
It is Grade II Listed.
John Basset Collins was Mayor eight times in 1844, 1845, 1849, 1852, 1859, 1866, 1871 and 1886 establishing a record.
During his Mayoralty in 1844/45 his uncle, Captain Collins, RN donated the Turrett Clock which was positioned on the site of the ancient butter market.
It is a particularly fine Grade II Listed granite ashlar clock tower with rusticated quoin pilasters and a round arched vermiculated doorway with an iron studded oak door which has recently been replaced.
William Robert Hicks, acclaimed humorist, musician, story teller and art lover, was born in Bodmin and educated at his father’s school which he took over and ran until becoming governor of St Lawrence’s Hospital in 1848 introducing more humane modern methods of care.
One patient who was chained in a dark cell as a dangerous lunatic turned out to be a wit and a philosopher. He was found to be harmless and employed to take care of pigs and do other useful work.
Hicks served as Mayor of Bodmin in 1865-66 when he revived the custom of Beating the Bounds. He is commemorated by a window in the south chancel aisle of St Petroc’s Church.
Walter Bound was Mayor Bodmin in 1947-48 and served 37 years as Councillor and Alderman. His legacy to the town, as depicted on his headstone in the Berry Tower Cemetery, was by his casting vote as Mayor, to secure the Priory Estate for the people of Bodmin for all time.
Picture left: Retiring Mayor Councillor H G Kinsman hands over to incoming Mayor Walter Bound in 1947.
Mayoral robes used to be formerly funereal in the extreme – black with black tassels around them.
In the early 1890s, during the Mayoralty of Col. W H Parkyn, the present red robes were introduced.
Picture left: Mayor Choosing ceremony Mayor 2007. L – R - Town Clerk (Paul O’Callaghan), Sergeant at Mace (Brian Connor), Mayor (Councillor Michelle Griffiths), Town Crier (Nick Prideaux), Deputy Mayor (Councillor Robert Micek) and Mace Bearer (Phil Wrixon).
The Corporation regalia comprises four maces, the Mayor’s Chain of Office, the Corporate Seal, a Loving Cup (see right) and a snuff box. The two chief maces are made of silver gilt and date from the reign of William 111 and the two smaller maces are made of silver with semi-globular heads engraved with the arms of King James 1. The silver Loving Cup, which was presented to the Corporation in 1760 by Sir William Irby, Baronet, then a Member of Parliament, who in 1761 became Lord Boston. The snuff box was presented by the Reverend William Flamank in 1812, when he was Mayor.
According to one theory the seated crowned figure with the sceptre on the Bodmin Town Crest represents King Athelstan, the founding father of Bodmin, who established the Priory here in AD 926. However, the Reverend W Iago (an authority on the history of Bodmin) believed it to be King Edgar, patron of the monastic orders (you can view the seal (crest) in the 'Introduction' section to the Tribute to some of Bodmin's Mayors above).
The Mayor's pendant was ‘presented by The Rt Honorable Thomas Charles Baron Robartes of Lanhydrock in memory of his father the late Rt Hon Thomas James Baron Robartes and of his and his family's long connection with the Borough AD 1894’.
You can read more about the Mayor's Penant, view the Deputy Mayor's Pendant and see a record of all those who contributed towards the Mayor's Chain here (PDF). Those who are familiar with Bodmin will recognise many names on the record of link contributors as having been attributed to various Road names in the Town. Why not see how many can you find?
The role of the Mayor’s Cadet is to escort the Mayor at public functions, including the Bodmin Riding and the Remembrance Day commemorations.
During Bodmin’s Mayor Choosing ceremony which took place in St Petroc’s Church on Thursday 15 May 2014, Sergeant Rosie Stephens was appointed Mayor’s Cadet (Air Cadet).