Winchelsea Court Hall The Court Hall dates from the building of New Winchelsea in the late 13th century. The Grade 1 listed building is much altered but the foundations belonged to the original private house of Gervase Alard, the Town's first recorded Mayor. In 1303 he became Admiral of the Cinque Ports and the Southern Fleet. By 1306 his command had been extended from Dover to Cornwall. The rock of the building dates from the 15th Century, in 1666 the first floor was adapted to house the Court and every year since then, the Mayor has been appointed in that room on Easter Monday. Winchelsea's two MPs were elected here until their seats were abolished in 1832. Ellen Terry (the actress) ran a stage school for local children in the late 19th century, but since 1950 the first floor has been used to house the Winchelsea Museum. The ground floor of the Court Hall is now a meeting space, but served as a prison from the late 17th Century until 1879.