Flocks of black-leathered motorcyclists crowded Strand Quay on bank holiday Monday while only a few streets away the centuries-old mayor making ceremony took place, with children scrambling for heated-up pennies thrown from the town hall’s upper windows. The new mayor of Rye, Bernadine Fiddimore, and deputy mayor Jonathan Breeds were joined by other mayors and the High Sheriff of East Sussex for the ceremony, which dates back to at least 1289. Also in attendance were Cinque Ports Volunteers, in historic costumes, and town crier Rex Swain who kept order.
After the scrambling for pennies there was a well attended mayor making service in the equally historic St Mary’s church which included a hearty rendering of Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. Following the service councillors and their guests travelled in a convoy of Rye Community Transport buses past the bikers to a celebratory riverside lunch. The mayor, town clerk and councillors wore full historic regalia of black gowns, white gloves and hats – bicorns for men and tricorns for women. The bikers were mainly in black leather, cooled by many icecream sales, and the brand new pennies (for health and safety reasons) were not too hot either.
Photos by Harry Oseni
Image Credits: Rye News library.