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Swearing-in Ceremonies

2012

Fourteen new burgesses were sworn in by Mayor Brian Cross
in a ceremony at the Borough Council Offices.

               

July 27th 2011

8 New Stafford Freemen were sworn in by

Mayor of Stafford, Councillor Stan Highfield

Also, a certificate was issued for one Freeman who was too ill to attend and
a certificate was collected by relatives on behalf of another, who is living in America,
both having confirmed acceptance of the Oath.

This ceremony took place in the Council Chamber of the County Council as the borough offices were still occupied by the Stafford Hospital Enquiry.

After verification of their credentials by the Court Clerk and a Solicitor, the candidates were admitted to the courtroom where they paid their "shilling" (5p), to the Burgesses' Sergeant. The candidates were then seated in the Council Chamber to await the Civic Party. On this occasion, the Great Mace of the Borough of Stafford was borne in by the Mayor's Sergeant and placed in its customary, but unusual upright position. He then brought the Court to order.

The Mayor, Mayoress and Chief Executive of Stafford Borough were followed, in procession, by the Master of the Stafford Freemen's Guild and The Chairman of the Trustees of the Freemen's Lands. The Mayor took the chair of the court.

The Banner of the Freemen's Guild was on display during the proceedings.

The Mayor welcomed the gathering, then the Chief Executive read the preamble confirming the legal status of the Freemen's Court. He also enlightened the candidates on what they actually stood to gain from their new status, which was rather less than their forebears would have done. He implied that few of them would be pleased to have the right to set up a Market Stall, or to marry off their daughters without needing the permission of the Lord of the Manor. He did however, remind them that the right to an allotment on the Coton Field was still available to them.

The Burgesses Sergeant brought forward the candidates before the Mayor in two groups to make a public declaration of the Freeman's Oath.

After this, the Mayor presented framed certificates to each of the new Freemen and formally welcomed each one as Burgesses of the Borough of Stafford.

In the light of the incapacity of one freeman, who was in a nursing home, and another who is in California, their certificates could not be issued personally. One would be sent and the other was collected by relatives for transmission to the freeman.

The Master of the Guild, on behalf of the existing freemen, welcomed the new burgesses . He gave a short résumé of the functions of the Guild and the Trust. He mentioned the Freemen of England and Wales and their role in safeguarding rights nationally. He invited those present to participate in the activities of the freemen and not just put their certificate on the wall and forget their new responsibilities.

He had a welcome pack for the eight new burgesses. This contained an application form for Guild membership, details of their qualification for admission, a couple of pages of explanation about the various groups involved and a poster giving the aims of the Guild and its web site address. The pack also contained copies of the transcribed King John Charter, leaflets about the Stafford Freemen and FEW membership and, in most cases, a specimen FEW journal.

There was then an informal break for photographs (hopefully to appear on this web site soon).

The Mayor then invited those present to join him in the Oak Room for a glass of wine and a buffet.

The Mayors Sergeant then led the Mayor's procession from the council chamber to close the formal part of the proceedings.

The buffet provided an opportunity for the participants to chat and find out more about the ancient institution of the freedom and its application to Stafford.

Overall this was a very pleasant occasion combining ancient ceremony with a good social event.

Thanks must go to the Mayor's secretary and her assistant for all their hard work in making this freemen's Court a success, especially as it was the first time for both of them.

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March 26th 2009

28 New Stafford Freemen

(including the first set of triplets ever!)

were sworn in by  

Mayor of Stafford, Councillor Anne Edgeler

This Court took place in the Walton Room of the Stafford Borough Council. with so many candidates and guests the room was quite full.

The event took the traditional form with a Mayoral procession, the declaration of the Court validity, candidates swearing the oath in groups of seven and being formally declared Burgesses of Stafford.

The mayor then presented certificates individually and had time for a chat with each new freeman.

After Photographs and the formal closure of the court, the Council provided a buffet when new and old freemen could converse.

This was a pleasant and lively occasion which was much appreciated by all those present.

It was noted that both June and Jill from the Mayor's office were retiring shortly after this event and we thank them for all the work done for the freemen over many years. especially for arranging these Courts.

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Wednesday 6 April 2005

On this occasion 21 Burgesses took the Oath and
 were admitted by worshipful the

Mayor of Stafford, Councillor Frank Findlay.

Also present were:

The Lady Mayoress, The Borough Chief Executive, The Burgesses Sergeant,

The Leader of the Council and her predecessor, who is also the Honorary Archivist of the Guild.

The Deputy Master of the Freemen's Guild and The Chairman of the Trustees of Burgesses Land.

The Chief Executive declared the Freemen's Court to be duly convened.

The Mayor's Secretary and her assistant in the role of Clerks to the Court, confirmed that the credentials
of the applicants had been confirmed, either by the presentation of Birth Certificates or Indentures.

The Sergeant confirmed that the Queens Shilling (5p) had been paid by each applicant.

The Chief Executive called the candidates, (in groups), to declare the Oath, while holding a bible, and before the assembled company of officials, families and friends as witnesses.

The Mayor then duly pronounced that they had attained the status of Burgess of the Borough of Stafford.

Certificates were given to each new Freeman and the 2005 court was formally closed.

The official party, preceded by the Town's Great Mace, then retired to the Mayors Parlour,
where those present were invited to take some refreshment with his worship.

The photographs below are a sample of the presentations and groups in the parlour, (courtesy of Burgess Maddock).

Merlin Maddock receives his certificate

from the Mayor

watched by the Mayoress, Mrs Findlay

and the

Chief Executive, Mr David Rawlings.

Les Minty receiving his certificate

in the presence of the Great Mace,

deemed by James I to always stand upright.

David Williams holding his

certificate of recognition.

A group of new Burgesses at the reception after the court.

 

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