The Mayoring Ceremony on Easter Monday will follow the usual format, except that it is intended to set the Court Hall up on the Wednesday before Easter. Given the space limitations, it is quite impossible to fit everyone in, so this has to be a by invitation event. Juggling numbers is always a headache and a worry as to whether invitees will actually turn up, but that’s life in a red robe!

The Church option was simply not possible given uncertainty over when scaffolding would be removed from the organ and when cleaning would be complete. This option remains on the table for next year, as it both eases the logistic burden and has the potential to enable more people to attend.

Prior to this year’s event, there will be refreshment for visiting guests from outside the Town in the Lower Court Hall and a by-invitation reception will be held in the New Hall afterwards. At the ceremony itself, the essential elements will be the presentation of the Corporation’s Annual Report for 2018-19, followed by the swearing in of Freemen and the Mayor for the year ahead, as well as Jurats and officers of the Corporation.

Major General Moore-Bick completed a distinguished year in office at the end of March. He was a great friend to Winchelsea and, no doubt, we will see more of him. Mrs Violet Hancock is the new High Sheriff and she has been invited to the Mayoring. Her home is in Ringmer.

Pleasingly the long-promised plaque has now been positioned on the Court Hall. The one for the Pipewell Gate will follow in May and that for the New Gate in June. Although this is much later than had been planned, plans do not always go to plan and, in this case, the end product has been well worth the wait.

The five-year maintenance plan has now been agreed by the Corporation as a prioritised guide for future investment. This year’s programme includes vegetation removal on the New Gate, some wall painting in the Museum and the start of work to clean and refurbish the Town Sign. This latter item is now being costed, along with Court Hall projects to improve rain water removal and to undertake stone and woodwork repairs. We remain grateful to FOAM and to all residents for their support of these projects. Meanwhile, discussions are taking place with Icklesham Parish Council regarding care and maintenance of the Lookout site

The Corporation would wish to record its thanks to the late Graham Alexander, who left the Corporation a sum of money in his will. He did not restrict it to any purpose, but it will be a very great help towards our various projects in the year ahead.

The Corporation has endorsed the recommendation of the Museum Committee that the entry charge to visitors should increase from £1.50 to £2 for the coming season. Museum income is vital to us and this is the first increase for many years. Residents and people under 16 will continue to benefit from free entry.

This Committee handles the business of the Cinque Ports Confederation and will meet in Winchelsea on 21st May. It is attended by the fourteen mayors of the Confederation Towns, their deputies and the Town Clerk. Other attendees are the officers of the Confederation, namely the Seneschal, the Joint Solicitor and the Judge Surrogate. The business of the Committee is to approve the Accounts, agree any matters of business affecting the Confederation and to appoint the Speaker for the year ahead. The meeting will be held in St Thomas’ and will be followed by a lunch in the New Hall.

John Rodley, Mayor

For more information click on ‘The Corporation’ at the very top of this page


Painting of the Lower Court Hall was duly completed by the end of February and (in an exact repeat of last month’s entry) an information plaque should have been fitted to the outside of the building by the time you read this. Sounds a bit like drones at Gatwick, but factors beyond our control prevented this being completed, as had been hoped, in January.

The Fabric Committee completed its work on the five-year maintenance plan and a final version will go to the Corporation for approval in March. The capital work that this covers are the Town sign, a rolling programme of vegetation removal on the Gates and two projects on the Court Hall, essentially involving stone and woodwork repairs and rainwater removal. Affordability will continue to depend on the support of FOAM and all those who contribute to their good work, Corporation fundraising and donations and grant bids.

For some years now, it has been the aim of the Corporation to have someone pop round and welcome newcomers to the Town, soon after they move in. The idea has been to give them a bit of background information and to let them know something of the many activities that go on in the Town. The feedback on these visits has always been positive and the task has traditionally fallen to the incumbent Mayor. It is, however, a pleasure to announce that Bernie Scott has offered to take on a leading role in this, but it would be quite wrong to think of this as a one person band job. The task is important and is potentially hugely beneficial to the Town, but it is not easy to keep track of individual comings and goings, both in the Town and on the Strand. Phil Laverton, our Postman is enormously helpful in this respect, but we would be really grateful for help from all residents. If you do know of a newcomer, or see that a house has been vacated, please tell Bernie or the Mayor, so that a call can be planned. They can be contacted on 01797 224637, or 01797 223458 respectively.

The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Town Clerk have had an initial meeting with the Seneschal of the Cinque Ports, Ian Russell. He is the senior administrator of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports and the aim of the meeting was to discuss the two major Confederation events to be held in Winchelsea this year. These are the meeting of the Standing Joint Committee of the Confederation in May and Speaker’s Day in October. While these will be quite demanding in terms of planning and resources, we are fortunate to have plenty of expertise to hand and were reassured that our planning to date is on track. Probably the most pressing things to sort out early are bands and catering and that is underway.

First up, of course, is the Mayoring Ceremony on Easter Monday and details of that will be covered in next month’s magazine, after the Corporation has agreed them at its next meeting. Feedback has been very favourable following the precedent of the Town Clerk Hundred last year, where a public ceremony was held in the Church. It is extremely tempting to do the same for the Mayoring and this would have the added advantage of not having to cart 100 chairs up to the Museum and down again. However, there are different views on this matter and we’ve probably got a year to think about it anyway, as we cannot yet be certain that the Church will be cleared of scaffolding in time. That said a possible procedure will be derived for discussion and potential future use. Views are welcomed!

John Rodley, Mayor

For more information click on ‘The Corporation’ at the very top of this page.