October saw the unveiling of the Cinque Port umbrellas, an initiative inspired by Mayor Feast and shown below, with 2 Mayors a-sheltering, at the WW1 Centenary Service at Canterbury Cricket Ground. It was an inspiring event, the only disappointment being that the weather deterred about half of the expected attendees. The Army parachute display team were not able to perform due to the low cloud base. They could actually have stepped out of their Hercules aircraft, straight onto the cricket square, but wisely decided not to bother.
The weather treated the Navy rather better, and HMS KENT was rededicated in glorious conditions at Portsmouth. She is the Cinque Ports adopted warship and the rededication service marked her re-entry to the Fleet after a 2 year refit.
At the time of writing, the awayday to the Menin Gate ceremony is keenly anticipated, regardless of the weather.
Lorna Challand will take over the duties of Town Clerk from Angela Hill on Saturday 3 November. This will take place at an Assembly and Hundred at 3pm on that day. All Freemen will be invited as a matter of right, but we very much want this to be a public event at which everyone is welcome. Accordingly, it will be held in the Church, following a procession from the Court Hall. The ceremony will not be long and there will be refreshments afterwards. It will be an opportunity to wish Lorna every success in and enjoyment of the role and also to record the thanks of the Corporation to Angela. Her contribution to its affairs and conduct of its business over almost 4 years has been telling indeed
In discussion with the School and its governing body, the Corporation has decided to nominate one of its number to be a point of contact with the School, liaising on events and matters of mutual interest. It is hoped that this will further enhance the links between the School and the Town, which should be of benefit to us all. We are all very pleased that John Spencer has agreed to take on this role.
First and foremost, we all wish Mike Melvin a swift recovery and hope that by the time you read this. His expertise on all matters to do with the Corporation’s property will be much missed in the interim. Anyway in the short thanks to the generous support of the Friends of the Ancient Monuments, the work to fit the new plaques to Court Hall, Pipewell and New Gates have been commissioned, hopefully for completion this year and the redecoration of the Lower Court hall has also been commissioned for the early part of next year. The more substantial works to the Town Sign and Court Hall externals will assessed in the coming months.
John Rodley, Mayor
Although it is a while ago now, a word of thanks is appropriate to David Merrifield, his Millennium Artefacts Committee and all those involved with the summer Art Exhibition, including the many artists who displayed such a rich variety of work. It was a splendid Town event and a great success as well. More recently, thanks also to Berni Meier for organising and leading on all aspects of the English Heritage Open weekend in early September. Again, a lot of work went in to produce an event which did great credit to the Town. In particular the magnificent display in the Lower Court Hall will have been appreciated and enjoyed by all who visited.
Out and About
Remembrance was the predominant theme in September. Early in the month, at a rather special ceremony at Alexandra Park in Hastings, the Lord Lieutenant unveiled a memorial stone to Private Claude Nunney VC. This is the centenary of the award of that medal to a really interesting man. He was borne in Hastings, orphaned in London, sent to Canada, joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force and arrived on the Western Front in 1916. Promoted to sergeant and winning a Military Medal and a Distinguished Conduct Medal in pretty short order, he was reduced to private in 1918 for striking an officer and was actually on his way to military detention, where he might have safely spent the rest of the war, when he led the rescue attempt of the crew of a crashed German aircraft, being badly burned in the process. For his selfless conduct, his sentence of imprisonment was suspended and, on recovering from his injuries, he returned to the trenches, winning a VC for leadership and example at the Battle of Amiens, where he died of wounds received. Later in the month, the Sandwich Civic Service remembered the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF and, at the end of the month, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent hosted a major tri-service event at Canterbury marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.
The Mayors of the other 13 Cinque Ports have been invited to spend an afternoon in Winchelsea on Wednesday 17 October. For some this will be a return visits and for others a first. After a sandwich lunch in the New Hall, David Hopkins has very kindly agreed to reprise his excellent talk on the Maritime History of the Cinque Ports. After this, they will visit some of the cellars, the Church and the Museum, departing after tea in the Court Hall.
At its September meeting, the Corporation dealt with two particularly important pieces of business. Firstly, it considered a revised and updated Constitution to more accurately reflect its ways of working and to define its charitable objects. It is hoped to finalise it later in the year and this piece of paperwork will then be useful in making bids for funding support and for any future dealings with the Charity Commission.
It also prioritised the work to be undertaken over the next 5 years, based upon the Quinquennial Report into the state of the Court Hall and its own observations. All the money raised by the Corporation and by Friends of the Ancient Monuments and by the Millennium Artefacts Committee, goes towards the care and maintenance of buildings and items in the Corporation’s charge in the Town. The fact is that there will always be more to do than is affordable, so the Corporation wants to focus its efforts on necessary and achievable works. Accordingly, it agreed to press ahead with rectification work on the Town Sign and with redecoration of the Lower Court Hall. Slightly later in the 5 year period, it would hope to undertake stone and timber repairs to the south front and improve rainwater removal arrangements on the north front of the Court Hall.
With thanks to David Page and Felix Lozano, the Corporation’s entry on this website has been reviewed from top to bottom and rationalised with some parts being rewritten or removed. This is an exercise that needs to be done from time to time for the sake of both currency and accuracy. The website is our shop window for the Town and beyond and the Corporation’s Media Committee seeks to maximise use of this method, complemented by articles in this magazine, as the principal avenue for outward facing communications.
Court Hall Bookings
The 2019 book is now open. Please contact the Mayor or the Treasurer to make a booking and an appropriate agreement form to cover the period of uses will be provided before the event takes place.
John Rodley, Mayor of Winchelsea