Bank holiday Mayor Making

The new mayor arrives for the swearing in

The May Day bank holiday saw the annual investiture of the new Mayor of Rye. The current Mayor, Cllr Jonathan Breeds, retired having served two terms in the post and his place was taken by deputy Mayor, Cllr Michael Boyd.

New Deputy Mayor Cllr Rebekah Gilbert takes the oath

Cllr Boyd is sworn in as the new Mayor. The retiring Mayor, Cllr Jonathan Breeds is seated on the far right

The ceremony, the origins of which date back many hundreds of years, was, as always, full of pomp and circumstance. Once the Deputy Mayor and other councillors had taken their places in the council chamber in front of an invited audience, the retiring mayor, announced by the town crier, made his entrance, preceded by the two town maces. Two? Even the House of Commons only has one! Rye clearly knows its proper place in governmental administration. Nominations for the position of Mayor were then requested. Only one nomination was received as traditionally this post is uncontested and after a brief pause the nomination was seconded and the new Mayor was voted in.
Procession to the church. This was last year but 100 years earlier, things would have looked much the same

Retiring Mayor Cllr Jonathan Breeds receives his past-mayor’s medal from the new Mayor

Cllr Boyd, and later his deputy, Cllr Rebekah Gilbert having been duly elected and robed, the entire assembly processed to the church for a brief service followed by a reverse procession back to the council chamber for a glass of wine, toasts to the Mayor and the traditional distribution of largesse in the form of shiny new and heated pennies, thrown from the windows to the crowd gathered in the street below. Children dashed to pick them up while adults including a few rather bemused American and Japanese tourists looked on.
Adults look on while children wait in expectation of hot pennies

Finally, yet another procession and the Mayor, his deputy, the town councillors and a few of the more important guests made their way to a slap-up lunch at the ancient Mermaid Inn.

Photos: Library, John Minter


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