Leaving Hastings

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On my way to Rye last Friday the bus I was riding passed through a beautiful old village and passed by this ancient church. I had to return to it today. The town is called Winchelsea. Today I returned to take pictures and investigate this small but historic place.

I learned that this is the second Winchelsea, the first having been wiped out in by a storm in 1288. That first town had been an important and prosperous port. You can read much about its history here. It was decided to move the town inland and onto higher ground. That is the village I visited today. Here are some photographs of what I found in this very old, very beautiful village.

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I followed this road to the edge of the town and when I followed the bend in the road I found this amazing stone gate.

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The plaque on the gate calls it the “Strand Gate” and says it was built around the year 1300. The sign says it was once one-third taller and was painted white.

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I found lovely “Woodlawn Cottage” not far from the church. Those shingles above the door are made of clay.

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It’s lambing season in sheep country. The red mark on the ewe identifies her owner.

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The charming garden gate beside someone’s beautiful home called Firebrand Cottage.

And a final shot of the church.

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No one seems to know a date for the construction of this church or who caused it to be built. It is thought that it was much bigger originally and that what exists today is only the “chancel” (the choir behind the central altar) and remnants of the transepts. The missing parts were dismantled centuries ago to build the harbor at Rye and for other purposes. That was often done in England, particularly after the dissolution of the monasteries. It is thought that this church was never a monastery, but was always a parish church for what was once a very rich and much bigger town. Please read a detailed history of the church here for much more information.

***

Yesterday I took a long walk to the western end of the Hastings beach. The weather was fine and there were many people out enjoying the first warm weekend of the season. The avenue that runs along the beach is lined on the other side with old hotels, one or two casinos, numerous restaurants. There’s a shopping mall and a large and beautiful old church in the center, just off this main street. But mostly it was the beach that caught my interest. The sun was low enough to turn the sea silver on both sides of the long pier.

(Note added April 29, 2016: Yesterday’s Guardian newspaper had an informative article about the rebuilding of this pier following a fire and its reopening. You can read it here.)

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There is sand on this beach when the tide is out!

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If you look under the teardrop lamp you’ll see, as I did for the first time yesterday, high on the hill above the town the remains of the castle that William the Conqueror ordered built almost immediately after winning the battle against the English.

Tomorrow I’m off to Cambridge.

Libbie

About Libbie Griffin

For several months recently I've been traveling around Europe. Write to me at in.my.suitcase.too@gmail.com if you would like to receive a very short email each time I post new words and pictures here. I would love for you to tell your friends who love to travel about this blog. And I would be very happy to read about your experiences, your suggestions and your questions in the comments section. Let's make this blog a conversation! Thanks! Libbie Griffin
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2 Responses to Leaving Hastings

  1. Elinor Moore says:

    Wonderful photos – looks like one of those perfect days that should be bottled to enjoy later!
    Looking forward to Cambridge, home of my favorite mystery series!
    Elinor

    Like

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