Winchelsea Museum is displaying the newly-restored Coronation Waistcoat

Winchelsea Museum have spent £1400 on the restoration of the beautiful silk waistcoat, which is an important part of the Museum’s display. The waistcoat has been with The Conservancy Trust in Rolvenden for the conservation to be carried out.

The waistcoat was worn at the present Queen’s Coronation in 1953 by the Mayor of that time Anthony Mallows Freeman (below). We have evidence that it was also worn at the Coronation of King George VI  in 1937.

In 1937, the Confederation of the Cinque Ports applied to ‘The Court of Claims’ to be allowed to exercise their right, known as ‘Honours of Court’ to be represented at the Coronation. The Lord Warden at the time, The Marquis of Willingdon was notified that 18 representatives might take part in the ceremony. We know that Mayor John Addison- Burke and Captain Edwin Plomley Dawes who was the Town Clerk of Winchelsea & Rye were given two places. We have evidence of the Town Clerk, Edwin Plomley Dawes wearing the waistcoat, which suggests that possibly the waistcoat was purchased by him for King George VI’s Coronation, and passed on to Anthony Mallows Freeman to wear at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Ancient tradition states that the Confederation Barons should carry canopies over the King and Queen. However, since the Coronation of King George IV when the Barons got rather drunk and the carrying of the canopy was rather precarious, the canopy is not carried anymore. Today the Barons line the aisles of Westminster Abbey and as the Royal procession passes they receive the standards. After the procession has passed into the choir, the Barons march out into the aisles and exchange places with those on the other side. At the end of the ceremony they hand the standards back.