In my last update I mentioned that this year the Charter Trustees will be celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Charter Trustees were formed in 1974 to coincide with the formation of Wycombe District Council.

Under the Local Government Act 1972 and the Charter Trustees Order 1974 the functions of Charter Trustees are broadly to elect the town Mayor, make appointments to offices of dignity, hold historic and ceremonial property such as charters, insignia and plate, and to make the necessary ancillary provision in connection with these functions.

The ceremony of Mayor Making is basically nothing more than an election of a Chairperson to chair meetings of the elected body for the forthcoming municipal year. In reality however the Mayor is an ambassador for the town and undertakes hundreds of functions of public relations and of a charitable nature during a year in office. Today the same importance is attached to the election of Mayor as has been for hundreds of years, in High Wycombe we can see the annual weighing-in ceremony each year by the Guildhall, although the powers of the Town Mayors are more limited than of old.

The Charter Trustees Act was amended in 1985 to state that Charter Trustees would cease to exist only when a parish or town council was formed for the area of the former Borough. The future would then be determined by those elected to the new parish or town council.

High Wycombe has an unbroken succession of Mayors since 1285. Our town charter has existed prior to this date, although the names of any Mayors prior to this date cannot be evidenced.

The Charter Trustees still hold six original charters, the earliest being Mary I dated 1553. One of the pleasures I have is to give a tour of the Mayor’s Parlour to groups and talk about the history and all the regalia held in High Wycombe. If you know of a group, such as schools or uniformed organistaions please contact the office to arrange a visit.

Cllr Paul Turner

Mayor of High Wycombe