Konsel an dre Heyl
The Mayoralty of Hayle
By Councillor John Pollard, February 1999
Many people ask about the institution of the Mayor of Hayle. The following is offered for interest and information.
government in England for towns with a long history and large
population rested in the creation of a "Charter Borough". This was
achieved by the granting of a Charter of Incorporation by the reigning
monarch, vesting authority in the Mayor and Corporation to administer
the town - Penzance, 1614, St. Ives 1639.
areas tended to be administered by the rule of the "squire" or lord of
each manor, parish meeting (vestry) or local Justice of the Peace.
government in all areas dates from a number of Parliamentary Acts
passed in the nineteenth century - starting in 1835.(Municipal
Corporations Act) These gave extra powers to existing organisations to
cope with the increase in urban living and the need for water supplies,
sewerage, law and order, medical and Poor Law provision.
Under the terms of the local Government Act of 1858, two local 'boards'
were created in Hayle on March 16th 1866.In 1894 these were changed
into Urban District Councils - Hayle Urban District (9 members) in the
western end of the town, Phillack Urban District Council (15members) at
the eastern end .
These were abolished in 1934 and absorbed into West Penwith Rural District Council, leaving the former Hayle and Phillack councils as parish councils which were amalgamated to form the new Hayle Parish Council in 1935.
So, in this area, there were four forms of local government - County Council, the Rural District Council, urban councils: Penzance and St. Ives, and the parishes.
The existing system of local government was created in 1974. The County Council remained but all other statutory requirements became the responsibility of the new Penwith District Council. Under this act the 'parish' level remained, but larger areas could establish themselves as 'Town Councils' -still with only parish responsibility but with the right to create a Mayor. It was under this arrangement that Hayle created its first Mayor although some councillors were anxious that such titles may incur greater expense! Interestingly Penzance gave up its mayor, only to reinstate the office at a later date. St. Ives kept its mayor but still only retained parish powers. This is why Penzance and St. Ives have robes and maces and all the paraphernalia which are relics from their charter status.
Hayle adopted 'Town' status on the 1st April 1974.The minutes show that the former chairman, John Sleeman, now took the title of Mayor. Hayle's first was also its shortest serving as he completed his term and handed the mayoralty to W.E Garnish Esq two months later!
The first insignia used by the Hayle Mayor was of beaten copper made by Bertie Cargeeg, who also made the regalia for the Grand Bard.
The council minutes of 27th April 1977 explain that Cllr. Fred Ponting suggested that a better type of medallion should be acquired. He said the existing one was " very cumbersome and there has been criticism of it from outside the town."
Mayors must be serving members of the council and are elected each May for a term of one year. Many mayors have served for two terms. The mayor wears the chain of office at all times when acting as 'the mayor'. It distinguishes them as the leader of the community and is their badge of office.
Hayle's silver chain is very special and much admired. It is totally individual and unique, an expression of the town itself!