An annual pantomime staged by the Winchelsea Singers over two nights, Friday and Saturday, at the end of the month or in early February.
A very popular annual fund-raising event staged by the Winchelsea Bonfire Boyes to raise money for Bonfire Night. Sometimes at the end of February.
Easter Monday. When New Winchelsea was founded, this was the day when the Freemen of the Town of Winchelsea elected their mayor for the year. He then selected 12 jurats, who provided the town's government and magistrates. During the 15th century, the mayoring was knobbled. The number of Freemen was limited to no more than 13, just enough to provide a mayor and 12 jurats. Winchelsea became a "rotten borough". Since that time, new Freemen have been chosen by the existing Freemen, usually only when one of their number departs (either from Winchelsea or this life). This contrasts with Winchelsea's sister town of Rye, where the mayor is chosen by and from elected Town Councillors. The ceremony is held in the upstairs room of Court Hall, from whence the jurats process to the village hall for refreshments. By invitation only.
The first flower show of the year. Held in the New Hall. Organised by the Garden Society.
Another popular annual fund-raising event staged by the Winchelsea Bonfire Boyes to raise money for Bonfire Night. Local asparagus, poached salmon and new potatoes, accompanying by a (not too serious) wine tasting. In 2013, this event has been temporarily replaced by a Sea Food Evening on 1 June.
East Surrey Morris Men at the Castle
Since 1957, the East Surrey Morris --- one of the original six sides that founded the Morris Ring in 1934 --- have called at Winchelsea every Whitsun Sunday on their annual tour of Kent and Sussex. They dance outside Old Castle House, formerly the Castle Inn, in Castle Street from about 5:00pm. Since the Castle Inn closed, they have been entertained by Mrs Fran Packard and, until his death, her husband, Reg. The Morris Men are usually accompanied by other teams, including the Bedford, Greensleeves and Long Man. A collection is taken for charity.
Open Garden Days
Each year, Winchelsea participates in the National Garden Scheme. Several gardens are opened for one afternoon, attracting over 1,000 visitors to the Town. The ticket money goes to the national organisers for disbursement to national charities (the scheme was started in 1927 to fund the District Nursing Service, but now supports many worthy causes). Money from the sale of refreshments and plants is donated to local charities. It has become usual for some gardens to open again on the Wednesday following the NGS Open Day, to raise money for local charities. In 2013, 10 gardens are open for the NGS on Saturday, 8 June (Cleveland House in Back Lane; Cleveland Place in Friars Road; Truncheons in Rectory Lane; Rye View in The Strand; The Armoury, Well House and Magazine House in Castle Street; Periteau House in the High Street; 2 Strand Plat in Rookery Lane; and 2 Moneysellers in North Street). The gardens will open at 1:00pm and will close at 5:30pm. Some of the allotment plots in Back Lane will also be open for those weary of flowers. The cost is £5 to see all the gardens. You can get a ticket at any garden. Some of the gardens will be re-open on Monday, 10 June, for the Rye Memorial Hospital.
This used to be a high point of the social summer in Winchelsea, but is now a pale reflection of its former self. There is not a lot to do, but if the sun is shining, it is pleasant to wander around and meet other residents. Includes a dog show. Held on the Cricket Field. The Fete is now run by a secret committee. No accounts are published.
Shakespeare in Winchelsea
In 2013, the highly-acclaimed Rain or Shine Theatre Company will e performing William Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors in the delightful setting of the gardens of Cleveland House in Winchelsea (but retreating to the Church if the weather is bad). The audience is invited to picnic on the lawn. The garden opens at 6:00pm and the performance starts at 7:00pm, with a 20-minute interval at about 8:30pm, and ends at around 9:40pm. The performance will take place outdoors, rain or shine! Bring your own seating. We also suggest a rug and, as there is no bar, bring your own drinks as well. There is reasonable wheelchair access. Tickets cost £13.50 for adults and £6 for children under 16. You will not be bothered with raffles or other fund-raising: ticket proceeds in 2013 will go to the Winchelsea Bonfire. The performance will take place on Friday, 16 August 2013. For more details or to book, call the Winchelsea Community Answerphone on 01797-224446 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to pay by credit card, go to TicketWeb or call 08444-771000 ( a small customer booking fee applies).
High Summer Hog Roast
A high point of Winchelsea's social calendar, usually held on the Saturday of the August Bank Holiday, this year on 24 August. A whole pig is spit roasted during the day. In the evening, the crackling is stripped and served, and then everyone sits down to what is simply the best-tasting pork you can imagine --- and as much as you can eat --- served with apple sauce and a large range of delicious salads. The whole event is accompanied by the sound of the excellent Sussex Brass. The evening concludes with a riotous rendition nof "Sussex by the Sea". The Hog Roast is the largest social event in Winchelsea, with up to 130 people attending. Held at the New Hall and, if the weather is fine, spilling out onto the Cricket Field. Proceeds go to Winchelsea Bonfire.
Summer Cricket Mismatch
Another knockabout match organised by the Iham Cricket Ckub between two strictly amateur teams of residents that takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend. The Fixtures (full-time residents) play the Occasionals (part-time residents). All ages play. The younger players are usually the best, as most of the adults have not played cricket for years, if ever. However, the real purpose of the match is to have a cricket tea. Everybody brings a contribution. The result is a sumptuous celebration of a great English institution. It's also great fun. Held on the Cricket Field. Everybody is welcome (especially if they bring something for tea).
The annual celebration of the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot. Organised by the Winchelsea Bonfire Boyes. A popular event with families. Bonfire Night begins with the Guy being paraded through the village on a cart. A torchlight procession marches through the village to the bonfire field. The Guy is placed on top of the bonfire. Those members of the procession carrying torches gather around the bonfire, recite the Bonfire Prayer and then thrust their torches into the bonfire to light it. In 2009, an effigy of a popular figure of contempt was burnt (a pig dressed as an MP sitting in an expenses claim trough). All are welcome. A collection is held on the night. Cancelled in 2012 because of problems with access to the bonfire field but it is hoped that the event will be held in 2013.
The Rain or Shine Theatre Company return to perform a Christmas classic.
Carols by Candlelight
The main Christmas carol service in Winchelsea. Held in St Thomas's Church.
Each Boxing Day in Castle Street, there is medieval mayhem as three teams try to get the Frenchman's Head into a single goal in a game with no rules. This is a game that echoes the gruesome entertainment in a besieged medieval town. It has an incredible history. You won't believe it until you see it. It's fast and furious, but great fun and just the thing to blow off the cobwebs after Christmas Day. You can talk about your heroics and show off your bruises for the rest of the day. The Game is also an ideal way to entertain and exhaust visiting youngsters. Visitors to Winchelsea are very welcome to join in, but everyone playing or watching do so at their own risk! To watch or play, just turn up at 11:00am in Castle Street. Then, off to the New Inn.
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