The Role of the Mayor

As the first citizen of Cheshire East, the position of Mayor is a busy and varied one. As well as chairing the Council meeting, the Mayor:

  • has a ceremonial role that involves taking part in activities
  • ranging from the opening of conferences to presiding over

maintaining the interests of Cheshire East and its people. The Mayor attends a variety of engagements throughout the civic year including parades, civic receptions and general visits. Democratic Services supports the Mayor and can offer advice on relevant points of etiquette, procedure and precedence. If you wish to request the Mayor’s presence at an event, please see our Mayoral Invitation page.

History of the Office of Mayor

The words Mayor and Major derive from the Latin word Magnus meaning "great". The office of Mayor, together with the Domesday Book and the feudal system, were brought to this country by the Normans, as such an office had existed on the continent at least since the 5th century.

The role of Mayor has changed throughout the centuries as illustrated below: -

The Middle Ages - the Mayor held the position of Custodian of the Peace - the name for early Magistrates, and he would normally preside at the Borough’s civil and criminal courts.

Tudor Times - the powers of Mayor as Chief Magistrate were greatly increased which included:

  • power to arrest those disturbing the peace
  • powers to search premises suspected of unlawful gaming
  • the power to compel persons to go into service

By the 17th century - the Mayor had in many Boroughs become all-powerful and in many instances his powers included:

  • Chairman of the Council
  • Chief Magistrate
  • Borough Coroner
  • Clerk of the Market
  • Keeper of the Borough Jail
  • The appointment of the Town Clerk
  • The creation of freemen

By the 19th century - the Mayor had three roles:

  1. a constitutional monarch for the city - a type of role which has continued;
  2. a speaker for the Council - a role which continues through Mayor’s chairmanship of the Council and as a focus for city pride
  3. a kind of Prime Minister - a role that is no longer recognisable today.

Modern Councils

The office of Mayor continues to have a central part to play in modern councils and modern society and many of the traditions of the past are featured today.

There are three important roles for the Mayor in today’s local authority and society:

  1. as a symbol of authority - robes, chains, etc. are indicators of this authority. The Mayor speaks for the whole Borough and gives identity to the Borough.
  2. as a symbol of an open society - any class, religion, etc.
  3. as an expression of social cohesion - acts as a link between many organisations.