Regalia on show for 700 years of Mayors

Mayor Making. Rye.'06.05.13.'Picture by: TONY COOMBES PHOTOGRAPHY
Mayor Making. Rye.'06.05.13.'Picture by: TONY COOMBES PHOTOGRAPHY

CHILDREN scrambled for hot pennies when Rye held its traditional Mayor Making ceremony on Monday after the council elected Shaun Rogers as mayor for the second time, with Deputy Mayor, Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore also on her second term of office.

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.

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.