Kendal Town Council

Katherine Parr

A significant event for the town in the16th century was the birth of Katherine Parr, famous as the wife who survived Henry VIII.  The Parr family certainly owned the Castle at the time she was born, but whether she was born there or not is in dispute.  However, many street names in the town bear tribute to the belief that she was a daughter of Kendal and the Town Council owns her prayer book .


The next major development for Kendal, was  its first  Royal Charter granted by Elizabeth I in 1575.  The cost of the Charter was £137.19s5d and the money was raised through door to door collection. It was from this document, and the two later Charters, that the old Borough Council derived its original powers and authority, which continued until the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act in 1835.  Under the Charter’s provision, the first citizen was the Alderman, who was attended by two Sergeants of the Mace.  On official functions, they carried before him silver maces engraved with the motifs of England (rose), Scotland (thistle), Ireland (harp) and……France (fleur de lis)! (the monarchy still claimed rights over France at this time).  The two existing maces were made in 1647/8.  The Charter also gave the Corporation the right to purchase land and to carry out other legal transactions for which it was necessary to acquire an official seal .  This was obtained in 1576, with the authority of the Queen, and is still held by the Town Council.

In 1610, the first official map of the town was drawn up by John Speed who, finding the town to be without a coat of arms, drew one of his own to accompany his map – it stuck, and is the basis of the one in use today.

To listen to a BBC interview with Mr Peter Cannon,  retired Mayor’s Attendant, on items in the Mayor’s Attendant, please click on the following link: Parr