December 9 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The new High Steward of Great Yarmouth has vowed to honour the “great antiquity” of his historic role.
In a formal ceremony at St George’s Theatre in Yarmouth tonight, Henry Cator accepted the office and gave a rousing speech that paid tribute to the people of the borough, it’s history and his predecessor.
“Civic pride matters,” said Mr Cator.
“With so many economic and social changes we need to stand together.”
The post of High Steward in Yarmouth dates back to 1529. It was originally a judicial office that carried considerable local powers, but has become a ceremonial role that is held for life.
Mr Cator, who lives in Salhouse, near Norwich, is currently deputy lieutenant of Norfolk.
He is also chairman of council and trustees at the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE), chairman of the British White Cattle Society, and former chairman of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association. He was awarded an OBE in 2008 for his services to the community in Norfolk and has worked as a land agent in the county for more than 30 years.
He replaces the late Michael Falcon, former chairman of Norwich Union and Lacons Brewery director, who died in February, aged 85 - 28 years after he became High Steward of Yarmouth.
Addressing councillors, invited guests and members of the public gathered in the grand surroundings of St George’s, Mr Cator said: “It’s with a huge sense of humility that I accept the honour you so generously have conveyed on me.
“The office is, as you have told me, one of great antiquity and far greater men than me have filled this post before me, men who have been imminent in the history of this county and country over many centuries.”
Mr Cator praised the borough’s rich history - it’s role in the herring trade, and it’s strong ties to the sea which, he said, continue today with international firms based in Yarmouth serving the offshore industry throughout the world.
During the meeting, Mayor of Yarmouth John Burroughs presented Mr Cator with a ‘patent of appointment’ as well as the chain of office, donated by the late Mr Falcon’s family.
He was also given a run of Lacons Ale and an ornate ‘herring’ made by local artist Ernie Childs from Great Yarmouth Potteries in a nod to the role’s history.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, it was custom to pay an annual fee of £4 to the High Steward.
In 1663, the Earl of Clarendon complained about the council’s failure to pay his fee, and to ‘salve his wounded feelings’ the council sent him a tun of wine - about 240 gallons, together with the money while a present of fish was also made from time to time.
Over the centuries it has become the custom to present to each new High Steward with representations of those gifts.
Previous High Stewards of Yarmouth include Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and steward of the Kings Household (1529), John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland and Lord High Chamberlain (1552), and former Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole (1745).