Just as there has been no mayor making ceremony in Rye for two years now, nor has there been any ceremony surrounding the speakership of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports, which was handed over to New Romney on May 21.
The speakership goes back to at least 1357 and is older than the speakership of the House of Commons, dating from 1376. It is rotated annually around the five head ports and two antient towns. The last time Rye held the speakership was in 2014, and it will be another seven years before the town sees it again.
Sadly the badge, which was recommissioned in 1971 by the then mayor of Winchelsea, and the ceremonial paddle, like a mace, has been kept under lock and key all year due to Covid-19 – as there has been no “speaking”.
A few hastily taken snaps with Rye’s town crier Paul Goring were collected as mementoes, before the badge of office was delivered to the next in line for the speakership, New Romney.
Rye’s mayor, Councillor Rebekah Gilbert said: “It is a great shame for Rye that the speakership came at such a time, and it would have been wonderful to promote our town and its small, family businesses around all the other Cinque Ports this year, but sadly it was not meant to be. I do hope that the mayor of New Romney has a good year this year.” She was accompanied by the coincidentally but aptly named Cinque Ports Sophie (her Kennel Club title) who got a brief moment to enjoy the badge of office as well!
Image Credits: Rye News library .