CHILDREN will be scrambling for hot pennies when Rye holds its traditional Mayor Making ceremony today.
Rye boasts one of the most colourful civic ceremonies in the country and Mayor Making is a good draw for visitors.
The ancient custom, which is believed to be unique to Rye, sees the newly installed Mayor throwing the pennies from the upper window of the Mayor’s Parlour, at the Town Hall, to crowds of waiting children in Market Street below.
Adding colour, and voice, to the occasion will be Rye Town Crier Rex Swain while The Cinque Ports Volunteers, in their period uniforms, will be on hand to ensure good order is maintained.
This year’s Mayor elect is the current Deputy Mayor Shaun Rogers, a local firefighter. He succeeds current Mayor John Breeds.
Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore is expected to be named as Deputy Mayor.
Children are invited to gather in the street outside the Town Hall from 12.30pm to scramble for the pennies.
No-one seems certain of the origins of the custom but there are theories that it may have been started by a former Rye Mayor, who was also a member of parliament, as a way of bribing voters or that it originates from the time when Rye had its own mint and when the town ran short of money new coins were minted so fast that they were still hot to touch.
The custom is listed in the Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore.
Mayors from Hastings and Winchelsea are expected to attend the ceremony. It will be followed by a Mayoral lunch at the historic Mermaid Hotel,