Winchelsea will enact 700 year old tradition

Win Mayor make
Win Mayor make

LOCAL man Stephen Turner will become the new Mayor of Winchelsea on Monday as the ancient town upholds its 700 year old tradition.

Winchelsea Town Clerk Melvyn Pett explained: “The ceremony is as old as the town and for over 700 years the practice has apparently never changed.

Winchelsea lays claim to being the smallest town in England and the only town to still have a Mayor and Corporation, though the role is purely symbolic.

Melvyn Pett said: ““He”, for there has not yet been a “she”, is elected Mayor by the Freemen of the Town at the “Hundred”. At the same time an “Assembly” is held to appoint a further Freeman chosen from one of the Town residents.”

Mayor Making takes place at the Old Court Hall at 11am with the new Mayor emerging at around 11.55am and taking part in a colourful procession from the Court Hall to St Thomas’ Church.

The name of the Mayor elect is always a closely guarded secret before the day - until now.

In a break from tradition Winchelsea has named its new Mayor ahead of the Easter Monday Mayor Making celebration.

Stephen Turner, who has lived in the Town for most of his life, has accepted the nomination to be Mayor.

Melvyn Pett said: “He is very much involved in the local community as part of the management committee of the local community hall the New Hall and a trustee and committee member of the Winchelsea Cricket Club.”

Stephen attended school locally in Rye and worked in the finance sector before returning to Winchelsea 13 years ago with his family to run the nationally acclaimed tea rooms in the town with his wife Jo.

Stephen said: “I have always been involved in the activities of the town and as a councillor look to represent the interests of residents as part of the parish council. The role of Mayor is something I will be delighted to take on as a new challenge representing the town as a member of the Cinque Ports Confederation.”