Town Clerk's Office, Church Lane, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 7AD

Honorary Positions

Freedom of the Boroughs

The origin of the Freedom of Cities and Boroughs dates back to the early Roman Empire when to be “born free” as a Citizen of Rome contained many privileges and rights superior to those of any other city, although it did not secure exemption from taxation.

This distinction was continued in the very early history of Britain in the Saxon constitution until about 600AD. Upon the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror introduced the feudal system, and in 1069 he granted the Burgesses of London a charter guaranteeing them their ancient laws and privileges.

Even in Saxon times “Guilds” of men of the same trade existed for mutual aid and protection, which was continued by the Normans, and the members were Freemen who were admitted only after a long apprenticeship.

In many ancient Cities which had been granted charters by successive sovereigns none but Freemen were allowed to trade wholesale and retail, which was, perhaps, their greatest privilege. Freedom could be secured originally in three ways – by patrimony, Apprenticeship of Redemption – but of more recent years, admission would be claimed by gift or marriage, and Freemen’s Courts were held until towards the end of the last century for admission of  Freemen, which conferred a right to a parliamentary vote, and in some towns exemption from tolls and dues according to the ancient customs retained by charter.

Before the Representation of the People Act 1832, in many Parliamentary Boroughs the Electors consisted solely of the Freemen. By virtue of the Municipal Corporation Act 1835, the Freemen ceased as such to form a part of the body corporate.  The Act, however, respected existing usages and retained a right to share in the corporate property, commons and public stock. Freedom by gift and purchase are now abolished and birth, serviture or  marriage only, entitle one to be entered on the “Freeman’s Roll”.

It was the practice to confer the honorary Freedom of the Borough as a mark of distinction upon a person whom the Council wishes to honour because he is a person of distinction, or one who has rendered eminent services to the Borough. It was first recognised by the Honorary Freedom of Boroughs Act 1855, now replaced by the Local Government Act 1933.

It does not confer any of the benefits previously possessed by Freemen: but the rare distinction of the honour of Freedom in more recent times is a reflection of the value and importance that accrued to it in ancient times socially and financially, and the credit and reputation of it is thus preserved and recognised in honorary promotion for eminent services at the present day.

The practice of conferring the honorary “Freedom of Entry” upon Regiments is a fairly recent one; indeed the earliest grant appears to have been in December 1943, when the Corporation of Sheffield conferred the honour upon the York and Lancaster Regiment.    However, its roots lie deep in the history of local and central government; indeed it affords an interesting example of the power and influence of the old boroughs and cities in relation to central government in the past. Of these, the cities of Edinburgh and London are the most notable.

When the Army required more men, the custom was to send a recruiting officer and party to various towns, and draw public attention by the steady beat of a drum.  In these cities – and there were others – permission had to be obtained by the Army from the Corporation to enter and “beat the drum”.  This permission came to be granted “in solemn form”.  It was also necessary to obtain the consent of the Corporation before troops could march through towns.  Hence arose the practice of conferring, as a matter of honour upon individual Regiments the right “to march through the town with bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying”.  From these ancient practices, the modern grant of “Freedom of Entry” can be traced.

NAME                                                                DATE GRANTED              

Jack T Counter                                                     19th June 1918
Sir Robert Baden Powell                                    17th April 1929
Lady Baden Powell                                              17th April 1929
Alderman Miss E G Castleman-Smith            20th November 1935
W H Wilson Esq                                                   14th June 1949
W J Newman Esq                                                  8th December 1953
The Dorset Regiment                                          18th November 1955
Alderman B C Hunt                                               1st November 1956
C K Lavington Esq                                               14th November 1970
The Royal Corps of Signals                                13th October 1972
The Devonshire & Dorset Regiment                16th June 1983
Gwendoline Florence Lane                                  5th March 1988
Agnes Audrey Williams                                        5th March 1988
Dr David Harries Davies                                    13th April 1991
Reverend Raymond Oliver Balmer                  11th September 1995
Cyril E Hill                                                            12th May 2000
The Queen’s Gurkha Signals                             11th September 2005
Peter J Warrington                                             15th November 2005
Daphne Alner                                                       15th November 2005
Heather Bracewell                                               11th May 2007
The Rifles Regiment                                           15th October 2007
Carole A Sharp                                                     27th May 2011
Jackie Vacher                                                       10th May 2013
Cllr Esme Butler                                                  25th May 2018 (posthumously)

FREEMAN OF BLANDFORD FORUM 1901 – 1903

To honour Blandford Soldiers who fought in the Boer War.

Lt R.G. Cave                                         26 February 1901
Lt V.L. Gordon                                    26 February 1901
Sgt W.F. Harris                                   26 February 1901
Trooper Sharp                                     26 February 1901
Trooper Barnes                                   26 February 1901
Trooper F. Walters (1)                       26 February 1901
Trooper Walters (2)                           26 February 1901
Trooper Butler (1)                               26 February 1901
Trooper Butler (2)                              26 February 1901
Trooper Lithgow                                 26 February 1901
Trooper Inram                                     26 February 1901
Trooper Crofton                                  26 February 1901
Trooper Wheeler                                 26 February 1901
Private C. Phelps                                 26 February 1901
Private March                                      26 February 1901
Private Meadon                                   26 February 1901
Private Robbins                                   26 February 1901
Private E. Goddard                             26 February 1901
Mr Forrester                                        18 June 1901
Rt Hon. Sir Redvers H. Buller         01 December 1902
Trooper P.E. Payne                            19 May 1903
Trooper G.L. George                          19 May 1903
Sgt W. Moss                                         19 May 1903
Trooper A. E. Neale                            19 May 1903
Corp A. H Taylor                                 19 May 1903
Driver F. Brockway                             19 May 1903

TOWN CRIER & DEPUTY TOWN CRIER, MACE BEARER & DEPUTY MACE BEARER

Blandford Forum Town Council takes pride in the continuation of traditional civic practices and procedures and has benefitted from having a Mace Bearer and Town Crier since the town of Blandford Forum was known as the Borough of Blandford. Both appointment holders have an excellent knowledge of the town’s history, civic pride and a commitment to the town. The Town Council appointed a Deputy Mace Bearer and Deputy Town Crier to assist the Existing Mace Bearer and Town Crier in 2015.

MACE BEARER & DEPUTY MACE BEARER

Duties include representing the town by attendance at civic events, within and outside of the town, and providing support to the Mayor.
A knowledge of the town’s history, civic procedures and the civic silver collection is required. An annual honorarium of £300 is paid however no expenses will be covered except for the cost of membership to the Guild of Mace Bearers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOWN CRIER & DEPUTY TOWN CRIER

Duties include representing the town by attendance at civic events within and outside of the town. which includes organising the Town Crier’s regional competition as part of the Georgian Fayre. There are opportunities to represent the town by travelling to other Town Crier events across the South. An annual honorarium of £200 is paid however no expenses will be covered except for the cost of membership to the Guild of Town Criers.

Comments are closed.