In the days when the entertainment of Royalty and distinguished visitors was one of the principal features of civic life, it was customary for them to bring gifts. If the gift was presented to the Mayor personally, they would usually pass on the gift to the City when they left office office. As the Mayor now has only symbolic status, the gifts are automatically passed on to the City, to be looked after by the Charter Trustees.
It is also customary for the retiring Mayor to present a gift to the City of Bath.
The next few pages show a small selection of articles of the City Plate. Many of these items can be seen in display cases in the Guildhall.
The Prince of Wales Cup, Salver and Case
In October 1738 the Prince and Princess of Wales were so pleased with their visit to Bath that the Prince cleared the prison of all debtors and presented 1,000 guineas to the General Hospital. The following year, he sent a handsome cup and salver to the Corporation. The ‘Gloucester Journal’ records that these gifts were brought from London by Beau Nash. The Prince of Wales cup, cover and salver are silver gilt ‘Royal Plate’ c.1738. Although unmarked, they are almost certainly made by the Huguenot goldsmith Paul de Lamerie. These three pieces were probably orderdd through George Wickes, goldsmith to the Prince of Wales.
The silver épergne was manufactured in 1874 as a table centre piece, composed of three gracefully draped female figures. It stands on a triangular black ebony scroll plinth which displays the City Arms, the Arms of the National Provincial Bank of England and this inscription:
‘Presented to J A Quin Esq JP, by some of his Friends upon his retiring from the management of the Branch of the National Provincial Bank 31st December, 1885 after a service of upwards of 50 years’
‘Presented to the Mayor and Corporation of the City and County of Bath by Councillor Quin, 1888’.
Silver Casket (Peppercorn Box)
The casket was presented to the city by the University on the occasion of the lease of 106 acres of land in 1963 to accomodate the accumulation of rent. The University authorities were asked for a token rent of a peppercorn. Every year a dinner was held and a peppercorn was presented. In the box are 33 peppercorns. Bath City Council was abloished in 1996 and the University now pays rent and a peppercorn to Bath & North East Somerset Council.
Produced to commemorate 1000 years of Monarchy.
A reproduction of a Saxon drinking horn.
“1000 years of English Monarchy. Edgar – Elizabeth 11, 973-1973”
Made by E.A. Jones, Birmingham 1973-4
Wells Cathedral Chalice
This is Number 2 of a special edition made to commemorate the 800th Anniversary of the Cathedral at Wells. The first chalice was presented to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, the second to the Mayor of Bath and the third to the Bishop.
Around the stem of the chalice is a frieze of figures, copied from Wells Cathedral. One is slightly taller than the others and represents the Dean at the time: Dean Mitchell.
‘Made by order of Dean and Chapter For the Celebration of the Eighth Century of Wells Cathedral in 1982’.
A silver rectangular tea tray, engraved with the Arms of the City of Bath and the Insignia of RAF Colerne.
“Presented in 1959 to the City of Bath to mark the conferment by the Council on the Royal Air Force, Colerne, of Freedom of Entry into the City.”
Made by Atkin Brothers of Sheffield 1899-1900.
Electroplate salver on three feet. It has an engraved centre and forms part of the silver of the North Somerset Yeoman Cavalry presented to the City on the disbanding in 1969.
“North Somerset Yeomanry Cavalry. Presented by Mr. J. Clark. Won by Private E. Crisp, Bath Troop, June 2nd, 1874.”
Silver wine flagon with a bellied body, embossed with foliage, tiger masks, and male and female figures.
Given to the Corporation by Alderman Chaffin in 1908.
“Presented to James Chaffin Esq, by the members of the Hanoverian Band and Floral Fete Committee, on his election to the Mayoralty of this City in token of their esteem and in recognition of his valuable and energetic services as a member of their Society since its commencement in the year 1855. 12 December 1878”