Freedom of Lewes

The Lewes Borough Bonfire Society is the only society granted the freedom of Lewes on Bonfire Night.

In 1863 the ‘Monster Iron Key of the ancient Borough of Lewes’ was carried in the procession for the first time. The key, which weighs nearly a quarter of a hundredweight is the symbol that on Bonfire Night the Bonfire Boys (and Girls) are given the freedom of the streets. The same key is still carried on the 5th in the Lewes Borough’s processions. It can be seen on display in Anne of Cleves House, Lewes. To celebrate this, a flaming key is also carried in the processions. On 10th October 2013, to commemorate 150 years of the Borough’s freedom of the town, a re-dedication service was performed by the Mayor of Lewes and HM Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex where the proclamation below was signed.