The Mayor of Winchelsea took up the office of Speaker of the Cinque Ports at a ceremony in the town on 21st May 2019
The ‘Septennial Revolution’ went off without bloodshed in Winchelsea on 22nd May. This is the time-honoured process by which the Cinque Ports’ mayors take on in turn the Speakership of the Confederation which falls to each town every seven years. At the moment the responsibility lies in East Sussex. The ceremonial Silver Oar was put in place, representing the authority of the Lord Warden, and the Mayor of Hastings, Cllr Nigel Sinden, reported on his term of office before handing over to the Mayor of Winchelsea, Jurat John Rodley. In 2020 the Speaker’s duties will be taken up by the Mayor of Rye before moving through the Kent Ports until the Mayor of Sandwich takes up the office in seven years’ time and the ‘revolution’ starts all over again. The Winchelsea ceremony took place in St Thomas’ Church and the Cinque Ports mayors assembled in front of the splendid medieval tomb, reputedly of Gervase Alard, first recorded mayor of Winchelsea and first Admiral of the English fleet. The Speaker of the Cinque Ports is the only Speaker in the land outside Parliament.
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