Inside the Court Hall museum, displays illustrate the history of the Antient Town, since it was built by Edward I as a medieval "New Town" over 700 years ago, and about Winchelsea's position as Head Port of the Confederation of Cinque Ports. The Court Hall is certainly one of the oldest buildings in the town. Though it was drastically restored in the sixteenth century, parts of it are probably as old as the town itself.
1 May to 27 October 2017
Tuesday to Saturday: 12 noon – 4pm
Sundays and Bank Holidays: 1:30 – 4:30pm
Please check our website to confirm dates and times
Accompanied Children and Winchelsea Residents: Free
Exhibits include maps, models, pictures, seals, local pottery and items of daily life from the area. One of the most noteworthy features is the list of Mayors of Winchelsea shown on a series of oak boards. This list, far fuller than that of most towns, is complete from 1430 and is partially complete from 1295 when Mayors first replaced the King's Bailiffs. The list of Mayors are a matter of great pride to the Museum, but were presented to the town, by Mr GM Freeman, for quite another purpose. The Court Hall is still the meeting place of the Corporation and it is here, on Easter Monday each year, a new Mayor is elected and takes his seat beneath the great roll of his predecessors. The Corporation, like the City of London, elects its own members who are Freemen of Winchelsea and from whom up to 12 Jurats are selected annually at the Mayoring to assist the Mayor. There are also a Town Clerk, Chamberlain and Sergeant-at-Mace. Other regalia includes two maces, one c.1485 and the other c.1550 both made of silver with an iron core. There is a small sergeant's mace or 'silver oar' as it is sometimes called. This is 6½ inches long and is of silver with a lead weighted iron core. The arms of John Carryll, who was bailiff of Winchelsea until 1763, are engraved on the top.
Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Law and Order, Personalities, Social History