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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?

  • General Sale

    Thursday 24th May
    Location: Rye

    Viewing Wednesday 23rd 9.00 – 4.30pm ... more

  • Auction of Promises

    Thursday 24th May
    Location: Rye

    Auction of Promises, Antiques and Miscellaneous Items at the Tudor Rooms, Mermaid Hotel. Viewing from 7.00pm. Ticket: £5 includes glass ... more

  • Rye Country Market

    Friday 25th May @ 10:00am
    Location: Rye

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

  • St Mary's Flower Festival

    Saturday 26th May for 3 days
    Location: Rye

    Flower Festival in aid of the historic parish church. The theme is ‘In Which We Serve’. As well as arrangements ... more

  • 1066 Walking Festival - Coastal Plants

    Saturday 26th May @ 10:00am
    Location: Rye Harbour

    Find out how the shingle and saltmarsh plants cope with their harsh environment. We will also see some coastal birds. ... more

  • Late Spring Fayre

    Saturday 26th May @ 10:30am
    Location: Icklesham

    Lots of stalls, tombola, raffle refreshments, cream teas. Proceeds in aid of St Nicholas Church. Venue: Icklesham Memorial Hall. ... more

  • Table Sale

    Saturday 26th May @ 2:00pm
    Location: Winchelsea Beach

    Tabel Sale at WBCA Community Hall Sea Road, Winchelsea Beach. ... more

  • Winchelsea Cellar Tours

    Sunday 27th May
    Location: Winchelsea

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

  • The School of Wizards

    Sunday 27th May for 5 days
    Location: Rye

    Magic, Monsters and Mystery. The only interactive, immersive family Wizard show in the UK. Using actors, puppets and soundscapes, this ... more

  • East Surrey Morris Dancers

    Sunday 27th May @ 5:00pm
    Location: Winchelsea

    East Surrey Morris Dancers will be performing for your pleasure in Castle Street, Winchelsea. All welcome. This group of Morris ... more

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