Sussex town is the smallest in England to still have a Mayor and Corporation

Winchelsea Mayor Making 2019. Photo by Sid Saunders SUS-190423-080520001
Winchelsea Mayor Making 2019. Photo by Sid Saunders SUS-190423-080520001

Winchelsea, an historic town near Rye, lays claim to being the smallest town in England and the only town to still have a Mayor and Corporation.

And, continuing a tradition going back more than 700 years, Easter Monday saw The Freemen of Winchelsea elect a new Mayor during a colourful ceremony.

John Rodley was appointed as Mayor for the second year with David Page as Deputy Mayor in front of guests that included the new High Sheriff Mrs Violet Hancock and her husband Tim who is the Chairman of ESCC, as well as Deputy Lieutenant Mr Derek Stevens.

Mayors from other towns were also present at the ceremony including Nigel Sinden the Mayor of Hastings.

Mr Peter Cosstick was appointed as a new Freeman

At the end of the proceedings everybody enjoyed a reception at the New Hall.

Winchelsea is smaller than many villages in the area but is fiercely protective of its status as a Cinque Port town.

Although the Mayor and Corporation lost their civil and judicial powers in 1886, the formal structures were preserved by an Act of Parliament in order to maintain the town’s membership of the Confederation of Cinque Ports.

The Corporation continues to be responsible for the upkeep of the Court Hall which contains the Town’s Museum and is a Grade 1 listed building.

The preservation of this beautiful edifice together with the three early Medieval Town gates and two Wells form the limits more or less, of the Corporation’s jurisdiction in the 21st century.

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