In writing her thesis about sixteenth century Reading, Jeanette Martin discovered a 1547 ordinance for the parish of St Laurence's that gives the order of precedence at parish meetings. Interesting, it states that the meeting was presided over by the civic official of mayor rather than a parish official. The order of precedence is given as: the mayor, two former mayors, the vicar, the two churchwardens, then seven other senior townsmen (two aldermen and seven secondary burgesses). Has anybody else come across any similar indicators of order of precedence and, if so, did other parishes have a similar hierarchy?
Joe Chick (Warwick)