Speakership of the Cinque Ports 2019
Winchelsea will take up the Speakership of the Cinque Ports in 2019 and, although the Mayor will not be selected until much later in the year, there is considerable preparation to be done, certainly for the ceremonial aspects of the role. Accordingly an initial planning conference is being held in August to develop a timeline and to make sure that the potential pitfalls and choke points have been identified good and early, drawing upon previous experience. Detailed planning can then be taken forward with confidence. More on the Cinque Ports here

Heritage England Visit
Also in August, a visit is being hosted for the Assistant Inspector of Ancient Monuments for the Heritage England South East Area. The purpose of this visit is to enable her to see all the buildings which are within the charge of the Corporation and to understand some of the issues involved with them. This is a timely visit, given that the Fabric Committee of the Corporation is very much engaged with finalising its five-year Maintenance Plan for these buildings, folding in the results of the Quinquennial Review of the Court Hall. On the face of it the costs associated with the Court Hall are a bit scary, but hopefully a dose of pragmatism can be applied. This is important work, because it will then provide a focus for the excellent fund raising activity of the Friends of the Ancient Monuments, to whom the Corporation is so grateful for all the support it has been given over so many years.

Millennium Artefacts Art Show
August is also the month when the Millennium Artefacts Society will host its annual Art Show and please do come along and support this exhibition of the rich and varied talents of local artists. This is the Society’s main fundraiser of the year, the money it raises being used to help the Corporation look after the three Artefacts in its charge, namely the Town Sign, the Beacon and the Millennium Tapestry in the Church. Some work will be required on the Town Sign in the near future. This will involve appearance and stability as well as work on plaques recording those who created this particular landmark. The Beacon, of course, will come into its own later in the year as we come to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, in a ceremony run jointly with the Guy Fawkes Society.

Winchelsea Museum
The Museum has had a steady start to the year, but anything you can do to encourage visitors to go in would be much appreciated. Those leading cellar tours have also been asked to try and direct their participants towards the Museum at the end of their tours. If any readers haven’t been in this year, please try and do so; there are some really exciting new exhibits and thanks to the efforts of Jo Turner (Curator) and Melvyn Pett (Archivist) it is all looking very good.

Cinque Ports Events
Looking beyond the Town, the Mayor and Deputy have, between them attended 18 Cinque Port related events out of 35 invitations received up to the end of July; this has principally covered the Mayor Making and Civic Service season. Other highlights have included visiting Brompton Barracks at Chatham, where the Constable of Dover Castle is now based, for a ceremonial Beating Retreat, the High Sheriff’s reception at Ashburnham House, the Rye and Winchelsea a Rotary Club’s 70th Anniversary Dinner and attending on the Archbishop of Canterbury as he blessed the Fisheries at Folkestone. The High Sheriff’s do is worthy of comment as he had drawn together representatives of so many voluntary and public service organisations in the County. It was really rather humbling to see the amount of good that was being done and pleasing to have the opportunity, in some small way, of encouraging it.

John Rodley, Mayor of Winchelsea

More on Winchelsea Corporation here