During a brief respite from my mayoral duties the other day, I decided to have a really good look at the chain. It is so heavy that I have to attach it to the shoulder pads of whatever I'm wearing with the aid of nappy pins. l usually end up being slowly strangled, with the shoulder pads round my waist and great big holes in my blouse or jacket. This must have been fashioned by a man for a man, I decided. And, Io and behold, l was right. On the chain, there are a number of gold medals which have been donated by previous mayors. Needless to say, until the fairly recent past, they were all male. But some of the names on the medals are quite interesting.The mayor in 1896/7/8 was William Cornwallis West of the Castle, who was a very busy man: High Sherriff of Denbighshire 1872; Lord Lieutenant of Denbighshire, 1872-1917; JP in Hampshire and Denbighshire; and MP for Denbighshire West 1885 - 1895, when he was succeeded by John Herbert Roberts, who became Lord Clwyd. William married Mary Fitzpatrick, known as Patsy. In the foyer of the Castle today there is a very attractive portrait of her. She had an affair with the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), who was a frequent visitor to the Castle.The Mayor in 1892-3 was Dr J. Medwyn Hughes, who lived in the Manor House. He was the youngest son of the Revd David Hughes of Corwen, who had been brought up at Cae Du, Bryneglys. His first name was Job, but he didn’t like it, he said, because his patients expected him to have the patience of his illustrious
namesake; so he added Medwyn (as in Plas Medwyn).Another highly respected mayor was Theodore Rouw, 1906/7/8, who had a chemist shop in Market Street. He was the captain of the Fire Brigade, and in 1889 published “A Guide to Ruthin”. He married Edith Mary d’Almaine from Abingdon. The family were staunch Wesleyans and there is a plaque to the memory of Mrs Rouw in Bathafarn Chapel. Theodore died on 18 January 1901, and you would have expected such a prominent citizen of Ruthin to have the usual full page tribute in the Free Press. Unfortunately, Queen Victoria decided to die at the same time, the press was in deep mourning and anybody else careless enough to die just then was forgotten.Geoffrey Lecomber, mayor from 1917 onwards, is another notable name on the list. His portrait, painted by Julius Hare, can be seen at Nantclwyd House. He is wearing his mayoral chain and the large pendant is clearly seen. While working at his father’s factory in Cambridge, he developed a new alloy and named it Cantaba (Cantabrigia is the Latin name for Cambridge). Moving to the Ruthin area in 1909, he lived first at Maes Tegfyn, Pwllglas (built by John Jones, my great grandfather). He built on a plot of land on Llanfair Road, built a farm there and named it Cantaba Farm—which is why today’s Maes Cantaba is so named.The practice of adding other medals to the chain has long gone. It does seem sad, but I am quite pleased really—l could never afford such generosity.