Council Business

About the Council

Wareham Town Council was formed after local government re-organisation in 1974 when Purbeck District Council took over many of the powers of the former Borough of Wareham. The Town Council has 16 Councillors who represent all parts of the town. In April 2006 there were 4685 registered electors. Elections are held every four years. All Town Council meetings are held in the Town Hall in East Street on Tuesday evenings at 7.00 pm. The public are very welcome to attend and may speak on any topic of public interest relating to the Town at the discretion of the Mayor.

Wareham has a long tradition of Town Mayors stretching back to 1336 and every name to date is recorded on panels in the Council Chamber. The Mayor is elected annually in May by the Town Council at a special 'Mayor Making' meeting. A book is kept to record Mayors' names since 1703, witnessed by Councillors, and forms part of the Town Council's civic regalia. The proceedings in the Council Chamber feature the Sergeant at Mace bearing the splendid Town Mace given to Wareham in the reign of James 1st. Two Constables from Wareham's historic Court Leet in dark suits and bowler hats also bear their own symbols of authority, a pair of two-metre wooden staves dating from 1778.

It is thought that very few councils can trace their Mayors back as far as 1336 - although the Wareham names were almost lost for ever. Prior to 1703, a Clerk named Nathaniel Child absconded to London with most of the Town's records, including the book recording past Mayors' names. Child then attempted to blackmail the town for a large sum of money, effectively saying "pay up or the records will be destroyed". Payment was refused, the records promptly disappeared and the name boards were made up later (from local records which still existed before they were destroyed in the Great Fire of Wareham in 1762) as the only record available of those times.