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Winchelsea

Winchelsea in East Sussex

Winchelsea is a historic ancient town which stands two miles west of the town of Rye. It was founded in 1288 as a port town to replace Old Winchelsea, which was overwhlemed by the sea during the 13th century, and is a splendid example of a medieval planned town, with a grid pattern of streets.

Winchelsea, along with Rye, was one of the 'Ancient Towns' who joined the Cinque Port Confederation in the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, the town was attacked by the French and Spanish, but its demise came with the gradual silting of its harbour. Winchelsea was still fairly prosperous in 1500 but by 1560, it had dwindled to a "settlement" of 60 households.

One of the founders of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, preached his last outdoor sermon in the town on the 7th October 1790, when he was aged 87.

Today, Winchelsea is an unspoilt small town of much character, well worth exploring, with delightful walks and fine views towards the coast. There is a pub and a motel, both providing accommodation and serving lunchtime and evening meals, and a small coffee shop. Visitors may be interested in the surviving town gates, the medieval Church of St Thomas and a small museum which is open daily during the summer months. In the churchyard is the grave of much-loved comedian Spike Milligan.

Other Towns and Villages Near Winchelsea

Event

What's On in Winchelsea?

  • Moths by Moonlight

    Sunday 22nd July @ 9:00pm
    Location: Rye Harbour

    Find out what arrives at our moth traps after dark! This event is weather dependent, so please phone on the ... more

  • The School of Wizards Adventure Quests

    Monday 23rd July for 40 days
    Location: Rye

    Unique family interactive and immersive quest shows. Ages 7 to adult. Monsters, Magic and Mystery. Using actors, puppets and storytelling, ... more

  • Ryebellion Drummers

    Monday 23rd July @ 7:30pm
    Location: Rye

    We are the drumming group of the Rye & District Bonfire Society. We perform at events throughout the Sussex bonfire ... more

  • Wild Beach

    Tuesday 24th July @ 2:00pm
    Location: Pett Level

    Celebrate Marine Weeks with some fabulous beach activities: rock pooling, kite-making and other fun stuff! Meet alongside the Smuggler Inn ... more

  • Jazz and Blues Supper with Martin McNeill

    Thursday 26th July @ 7:00pm
    Location: Rye

    Critically-acclaimed Martin McNeill is a traditional blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player whose repertoire is based in Delta and Chicago ... more

  • Rye Country Market

    Friday 27th July @ 10:00am
    Location: Rye

    Rye Country Market will be open every Friday from 9th March - 14th December. We sell Cakes, Savouries, Preserves, Free ... more

  • Iden Village Fete

    Saturday 28th July
    Location: Iden

    A typical country village fete complete with boot fair, burgers, bands, and stalls with bargains. The ‘show rings’ include many ... more

  • Rye College G.C.S.E Show

    Saturday 28th July for 29 days
    Location: Rye

    This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see the art projects from the G.C.S.E pupils of Rye College. Dynamic and ... more

  • Open Gardens - Fairlight Hall

    Saturday 28th July @ 10:30am
    Location: Fairlight

    A wonderful garden with superb views to Rye and beyond. The impressive Victorian Gothic mansion which dates back to 1855 ... more

  • Winchelsea Cellar Tours

    Saturday 28th July
    Location: Winchelsea

    Each year a team of volunteers run guided tours of the town’s medieval cellars. All proceeds received (£6 per person) ... more

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