The annual opening of the fishery | Colchester oysters | About The Area | Features | Homepage - Gazette
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting GAZETTE NEWS to 80360, or email
|Best of the season - Colchester mayor Terry Sutton takes his hat off to the Colchester native at the 2005 opening ceremony. Pictures: NIGEL BROWN (44696-11)|
Colchester's ancient oyster fishery is opened each year on September 1 in an historic ceremony.
The borough council’s ownership of the fishery dates back to the Charter of 1189, while the traditional opening ceremony has been traced back to 1540.
The Colchester Native – renowned as being one of the finest of the molluscs.
Prior to the dredging, the Proclamation – an ancient tongue-twister – is read, usually by the Colchester Council chief executive, to officially declare the fishery open for the season.
The mayor then raises a loyal toast to the Queen, accompanied by drinking gin and eating gingerbread.
After the dredging in Pyefleet Channel, off Mersea Island, the civic party and about 40 guests will sit down for a meal of oysters and other seafood on board the sailing barge Hydrogen.
|Here they come – a fine haul celebrates the opening of the Colne oyster fisheries in 2005. (44696-7)|
As part of the tradition, a telemessage is sent to the Queen at Balmoral Castle stating: “According to ancient custom and charter dating back to Norman times, the mayor and councillors of
the Colchester Borough Council will formally proclaim the opening of the Colne Oyster Fishery for the coming season and will drink to your Majesty’s long life and health and request
respectfully to offer to your Majesty their expressions of dutiful loyalty and devotion”.
The Queen usually returns her thanks to the mayor and councillors for their good wishes.