The Town Mace

Although Margate received its charter in 1857, it was still without a mace in 1864. This fact was noted by Sir George Bowyer, Bart., M.P., who at the time was a constant visitor to Margate, and he decided he would like to rectify the matter. The Mace was purchased from a Mr. Cooper of Holborn for the sum of eighteen pounds, eighteen shillings and nine pence, and presented to the Town in January 1865. It bears the following inscription: "This mace, once the property of the town of Kinsale, now belongs to the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the town of Margate, being presented to them by Sir George Bowyer, Bart., M.P. 1864"

In January 1865, about one-hundred-and-fifty inhabitants of the town, including the whole of the Aldermen and a number of the Councillors of the Borough, assembled here in the Town Hall to witness the presentation of the mace.

Sir George Bowyer was received with great applause. In his speech he said:

"Mr. Mayor and gentlemen of the corporation, I must thank you, in the first place, for the kind manner in which you have been pleased to receive me on rising to give you a mace, which I am about to present to your Mayor. I have been a constant visitor to your town now for upwards of seven years, during which time I have derived life and pleasure, but, what I consider more, I have received from all parties the greatest kindness and consideration; in fact, so much so that, for a long time, I have not considered myself a visitor only, but a Margate man, and as such I come amongst you today.

Whenever I come to Margate, no matter with whom I come in contact, I am always treated as if I were at home, and I do in some degree consider Margate as my home. You will not, therefore, when you understand my feelings, be surprised at my desire to present to your town some small token of my regard.

While in conversation with my host and friend Mr. Wardell, I discovered that although Margate was a corporate town, yet it had not the usual adjunct of a mace; and it occurred to me that a mace would be a proper object to present to this borough. I determined, therefore, to present a mace to the Council; and when speaking to my friend Mr. Bernhard Smith, upon purchasing a new mace, he told me that very likely I might be enabled to purchase one which had been used by an old borough and which was, therefore, more valuable than a new one.

Knowing him to be a noted antiquarian, I left the matter to him, and in the course of three weeks to a month I had the pleasure of hearing from him that he had obtained the mace which I am about to present to you, and which belonged to a corporation in Ireland, since defunct.

It bears the arms of George 11, is probably at least two centuries old, and it also bears the Dublin trademark. There is a peculiarity about the mace: the pedestal screws off and the bottom of it fits into the top, and when the crown which surmounts it is unfastened, it forms a loving or drinking cup. This will serve as the loving cup of the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the town of Margate. I will not detain you longer than to say that I hope at your next civic banquet you will have this mace as a loving cup and that you will drink my health."

Turning to the Mayor, Sir George said: " I present to you, sir, this mace, which I hope will be preserved by the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the town of Margate as a token of my respect and regard, and which I hope may be held in remembrance of me when I am far away."

The Mace is carried by the Town Sergeant on ceremonial occasions, and precedes the Mayor in procession.

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