When attending an event wearing the Mayor’s chain of office people often ask about the symbols on the badge and if it is heavy. Well, it is heavy for a necklace and I thought I’d let you know a bit about the symbols or coat of arms on the badge in the chain:
At the base of the badge is a shield and on it are several items. There is a gold teasel. Teasels were used in the textile industry so crucial to the development of our town. Above the teasel is a chevron of gold and ermine. The gold part relates to the Leversedge family who were Lords of the Manor here for centuries and the ermine refers to Bishop Ken who practiced, contributed to the development and is buried at St John’s Church. The final symbols on the shield are two willow or ‘sallow’ trees. Selwood (or sallow wood) Forest used to surround Frome and clearly gets its name from the sallow tree. Above of the shield is a crown on top of a helmet. The helmet is closed which signifies that this coat of arms belongs to a corporation (the council) rather than an individual. The crown refers to Frome’s connection to the Saxon kings Athelstan and Eadred. And finally a red dragon rises out of the crown. This is the Wessex dragon and it holds a gold shepherd’s crook which is also associated with bishops. The motto wrapped round the base of the badge is ‘Time Trieth Troth’ which means ‘Time will tell how trustworthy you are’ and comes from the Hungerford family who were major land owners in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
So there is a tiny nugget of Frome history. I’m indebted to Dinah Bardgett for sending me a leaflet about the coat of arms. Her late husband Peter, was the first mayor of Frome from 1974-76.