The Mayor and Corporation of Winchelsea
There has been a mayor of Winchelsea for over 700 years, with records dating back to 1295. The mayoring ceremony takes place annually on Easter Monday, and since 1665 this has been held in the Upper Court Hall. The ceremony recognises the continuing existence of the last surviving unreformed Corporation of England and Wales and comprises an Assembly of the Freemen of Winchelsea followed by the "Annual Sitting of the Hundred" the principal business of which is the installation of the Major for the coming year.
For detailed information on The Winchelsea Corporation and Act of Parliament that defined its current role, please click here.
Annual Mayoring Ceremony
The new Mayor is attended by twelve Jurats of the Town, selected annually at the Mayoring. The Mayor is assisted by the Town Clerk, the Chamberlain and the Sergeant-at-Mace. The ceremony is open to the public and takes place at 11 a.m.
The new Mayor elected for 2013/14 is Mr Steven Turner, with Dr John Spencer as his deputy. Mr Melvyn Pett is Clerk to the Corporation.
One new freeman was elected in 2013 - Revd David Page, who is also currently acting Mayor's chaplain
The Seal of Winchelsea
The Seal of the Corporation is as ancient as the corporate seal of any port. It dates from the early part of the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). The Obverse of the seal shows an ancient ship with a poop and embattled forecastle and the royal arms three lions passant. The translation of the legend is "The seal of the Barons of our Lord the King of England of Winchelsea". The Counter Seal (lost in the 18th century and recovered in 1907) shows parts of three public buildings of the town. On the left the church of St. Giles and a representation of St. Giles caressing his hind. In the centre a tower, possibly the Town Hall and a warden holding a lantern and representations of the Annunciation and the Virgin Mary. On the right the church of St. Thomas and a representation of the martyrdom of St. Thomas. At the base are representations of the religious houses of the town and of the sea. The surrounding legend is an invocation to Saint Giles and Saint Thomas for their protection although the precise meaning is not clear.