The Blessing of the Nets was held today outside the Brighton Fishing Museum run by Andy Durr, a former fisherman and former Mayor of the city. The blessing was performed by Father Mark from St Paul’s Church in West Street. Present at the ceremony was The Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field; the Mayor and Mayoress of Brighton and Hove, Councillor and Mrs Bill Randall and Andy Durr.
The tradition of blessing the nets 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.