The Mayor's Chain was presented to the town in 1874 by then-Mayor E Burnett and bears the dates 1305 and 1835. 1305 is significant because that is when King Edward I granted a charter authorising the building of a county gaol in Dorchester; this officially confirmed Dorchester's position as County Town, although Dorchester had been an important settlement for many years before that. 1835 marks the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act which created local government in a form even vaguely recognisable today.
Alderman Gregory John Gregory Gregory was a major local benefactor (indeed, the fountain in the Borough Gardens is properly known as the ‘Gregory Memorial Fountain'). He was Mayor of Dorchester 5 times and the photograph shows him wearing the Mayor's Chain in all his glory in 1884!