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