This week the annual Mackerel Fayre and Blessing of the Nets was held outside the Brighton Fishing Museum run by Andy Durr, a former fisherman and former Mayor of the city. The tradition of blessing the nets at the Mackerel Fayre has ancient roots; at one time the church received a percentage of the mackerel catch for performing the rites. In Tudor and Stuart times the fishing industry prospered at Brighton. Brighton was once the most important fishing town in Sussex. Four out of five men were fishermen. Brighton’s fleet fished as far away as Yarmouth and Scarborough. Throughout the 1600s, its cargo boats carried coal from Newcastle to London.
This year’s event was attended by the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, Councillor Anne Meadows and the blessing was performed by Father Robert Fayers, Parish Priest of St Paul’s and St. Michael’s. The Salvation Army Brass Band played the accompaniment to hymns sung for the ceremony and the Silver Sounds Samba Band played live music for the very large crowd. Luckily the weather was kind and everyone who attended had a great day.