Making the Mayor
Connected with the election of a new Mayor in High Wycombe are the customs of ‘tolling out’ and ‘weighing-in’. The former, which ceased with the Municipal Corporation Act, arose from the behaviour of Mr. Henry Shepard in 1678 who was reported as being drunk and misbehaving himself. It was decreed that the great Bell should be rung out in testimony of his misdemeanours. So according to this ancient custom the Mayor was ‘tolled out’ by tolling the great bell on the morning of the Mayor’s election. The party then proceeded in state to Church, and afterwards a drummer who continued to drum the old Mayor out preceded the procession. A drummer precedes the annual Civic Procession and the bells of All Saints’ Parish Church ring to this day. The unique ‘ weighing-in’ ceremony used to take place in the bar Iron Warehouse in White Hart Street but now begins at about 10.30 in Frogmoor after the election of the New Mayor at the Annual General Meeting of the Charter Trustees.
The photo above shows a new Mayor seated on scales for the weighing ceremony surrounded by the Mace-Bearer, Beadle and Town Crier. Roy Bagley was awarded a Mayor’s Medal for 20 years service as Mace-Bearer in 2017. Outside London High Wycombe is one of few towns to have a trio of officers.