Mayor and "Major" derive from the same Latin word "Magnus" meaning "great"; the office of Mayor was brought to this country by the Normans, as the office had existed on the continent since the 5th century. The first English Mayor was the Mayor of London, appointed in 1189 by Richard I.
The history of the Mayor of Poole goes back to the Charter of Longspee in 1248; the first recorded Mayor of Poole was in 1422 and the Roll of Honour is on the plaques in the Council Chamber. Poole does not have a lady Mayor. The Mayor is the First Citizen of Poole, the representative of Poole and its people; the position today is almost entirely ceremonial with the exception of the duty to chair meetings of the Council. The Mayoralty is not a personal title but an honorary one and, while carrying out Civic duties, the Mayor must remain impartial at all times.
Poole is not a City with a Lord Mayor.
Admiral of the Port
This title is now honorary but derives from the "Exempt Admiralty" jurisdiction when the Mayor presided over the local Admiralty Court. The court was abolished in 1835. The year of origin is not recorded but we know the Admiralty Courts have been held since the 13th century. The Winchelsea Certificate of 1365 is the document usually quoted as it was the acknowledgement by Winchelsea (one of the Cinque Ports and a great port of the day) of Poole's rights which were being disputed by Wareham.
Mayor of the Staple
The Charter of King Henry VI (1433) gave Poole it's status as a Port of the Staple. Thereafter Poole had a customs jurisdiction in it's own right. Previously Poole had been defined only as a "creek" and Melcombe Regis was the customs station in whose jurisdiction Poole Creek lay.
Clerk of the Market
A consumer protection officer of the period, responsible for ensuring accurate 'weights and measures' for all goods in the local open air markets of the day. In the past providing short measure was punishable by imprisonment or a very heavy fine !
Page last updated: 17 January 2019