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Cinque Port Ceremonies

Brightlingsea’s unique history is kept alive in its ceremonies as a Cinque Port, the only one north of the Thames. It is a “Limb” of Sandwich, our Head Port in Kent.

Each year on Choosing Day, the first Monday in December, the Deputy is chosen by the Freemen of the Cinque Port Liberty. He is the Mayor of Sandwich’s representative in Brightlingsea and in the past was the chief official of the town.


On Choosing Day, new inhabitants who have been resident for a year and a day can also come forward to be ‘Recognised’ and declared Freemen.

In July each year, the Deputy is confirmed in office, along with Deputies of two other Limbs of Sandwich, in a historic ceremony in Sandwich’s Guildhall.

Each June, the Mayor of Sandwich pays an official visit to Brightlingsea. There is a colourful procession from St James Church through the town centre to the Parish Hall, where he is received by the Town Mayor. 

You can find out more about the Liberty here.

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