Netherfield news
Netherfield news

Netherfield Arm of Battle Neighbourhood Plan: On 9 February 2017 the latest meeting of the Battle Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group was held at the Almonry. The Committee set the date for the Exhibition to be held, to present the findings of the survey and set out progress on potential development sites within the Parish. The date was tentatively set for 28th and 29th April, as availability of the venues is still to be determined. This will provide the opportunity for the Parish Community, in Battle, Netherfield and Telham to have their say on the future of our area.

Members of the Steering Group will be on hand at the exhibition to answer enquiries. What is important is that residents come along and have their say. We are hoping to run transport to and from Netherfield to facilitate attendance at the exhibition. As more information becomes available I will keep all my readers up to date.

St. John the Baptist Church, Netherfield: A final reminder to everyone that there is a “good as new clothes sale, mainly dresses, but also other items, at the Church on Saturday 18th February, from 10-12 midday. There will be a changing room to try on your potential purchases so you could bag a real bargain and don’t have to wait until you get home to try it on. So you can ponder your purchases in a relaxed atmosphere, tea and coffee will be served. All the proceeds from the sale will be going towards the organ repairs. Thank you all for your support. Gillian 01424 838825 evenings.

Mountfield Village Hall Cinema Club: Oh what a corker of a movie we have for you on Saturday 18 February. It is “Absolutely Fabulous”. That not only is a description of the movie but its title as well. Starring Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders, it is a romp through the world of the “wannabees” and “champagne”. Doors open at 7.00 pm and a donation of £5 per head is suggested to help with the upkeep of the hall.

Claverham Monday Badminton Club: Monday 13 February saw us venture once again into the Halls of Valhalla. To the uninitiated this is the sports hall at Claverham College, but would you read this column if the flowery descriptions were not in evidence? I know I wouldn’t and I write it. As the players began their descent into the arena it was soon apparent that the ladies had returned. One, two, then finally three made their entrance, rackets in hand.

The lights went on and illuminated the four courts of battle and the scene was once again set for the contestants to show what they were made of. Furtive looks at opponents showed the tension that was all too present, with nervous scratching of arms as the tension rose. Twelve athletes at the peak of their prowess and athleticism trying to find those minute openings in their opponents’ armoury of shots. Whack, twang, whack. Shuttle after shuttle became mutilated by the constant smashes that filled each game. Perspiration, grimaces and backs of hands across fevered brows. Then the despair when you realised all had been in vain. They were just too good. What an evening.

First week for all newcomers is free. It starts at 20.00 (or 8.00 pm in old money) and goes on until 22.00 (or 10.00 pm). The normal cost is £5.00. That is £2.50 per hour for a good time. If you are interested ring Maurice 01424 838410, text 07957588172 or email

Netherfield Breakaway Club: The November meeting of the Club took place on Thursday 17th (which seems a long time ago now!) at our new venue, the very comfortable and spacious Emmanuel Centre, Battle when members and guests were enthralled by a glimpse Into the history of Battle Abbey, brought to us by local renowned speaker Geoff Hutchinson — always an expert on his subjects and so enthusiastic, Geoff spoke ‘off the cuff, using visual aids and an amazing selection of slides to transport us back to 14 October 1066 and an account of the Battle of Hastings and the quarrels between the related William and Harold which started it all — where have we heard that before! There were 7,000 on each side including archers, infantry and cavalry but we know the end of the battle resulted In Williams being crowned King in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day that year. Four years later the papal authorities demanded recompense for the vast numbers who had died and in 1070 the Abbey was started with 18 monks and an Abbot to pray for the lost souls. The Benedictine monks spent their time working and praying whilst the Abbot, who should also have been celibate, fathered three children! There was a passageway to a local brothel!! in the monastery boys would be taught to read and write then, as novices had to decide whether to become monks. A precinct wall surrounds the Abbey and the Gatehouse was built in the mid 1400’s to keep out the French and Abbot Hamo of Battle led an army at Winchelsea against the French. The ceiling has a hole for pouring hot oil onto attackers. The last Abbot left during the reign of Henry VIII and is buried in the Church. The Abbey passed to Anthony Browne who is mentioned in Battle Church. He was followed by the Webster family who also owned Bodiam Castle and Bayham Abbey. The Websters were deemed ‘vandals’ by Geoff as the original buildings no longer existed and were changed beyond all recognition. The Duke and Duchess of Cleveland then took over and loved the Abbey, adding a library. In 1901 the Websters bought back the Abbey and rented it out to an American family (the Graces who married into the Phipps family - Michael Grace Is buried in Battle cemetery). The Websters went to Powdermills. During WWU a Canadian army took over and a bomb dropped close to the armoury but fortunately it did not explode or the beautiful Abbey that we know, long since a prestigious girls’ and boys’ school might no longer be In existence! In 1984 American donors offered money for the Abbey to be bought back by English Heritage. Geoff was thanked for his excellent talk and presentation, which had attracted several male guests, then question time, tea, coffee and biscuits followed and the raffle was drawn.

Our Christmas lunch was held on Thursday 15 December, by tradition at the Brickwall Hotel, Sedlescombe. The feedback from members and guests was that this had been the best so far, the food, surroundings arid company superb! Everyone also enjoyed the ‘Secret Santa’ organised by the committee. Our Chair, Marion Williams, has once again managed to book for next December at a very reasonable price! Programmes of speakers for the coming year were handed out and details of the May outing will be discussed at the January meeting. This may be a theatre trip which we will all look forward to during these dreary winter days! Juliette thanked fellow committee members for all their hard work during the past year: Marion W — keeping us in order and organising trips/outings, coaches, etc.; Ann — making umpteen phone calls, letters, etc. to put together a super selection of speakers for the ensuing year; Rosemary — balancing the finances, banking, and keeping us solvent and Marion I) — taking notes at meetings and making sense of our chatter! Our first meeting in 2017 took place on Thursday 19 January and members were reminded that subs are due in February — remaining at £16; £3 for guests and tea or coffee and biscuits still £1. The theatre outing in May Will take place on Wednesday 10th, a comedy matinee at the Devonshire Park and a list was passed round to sign up. Marion has booked the coach.

Special guest speaker, one of our longstanding members, Debbie Dann (who has previously given several excellent talks ranging from showing her dogs at Crufts to Follies( I)) then took us on an amazing trip to New Zealand. Debbie accompanied her daughter Catherine who was taking part in the ‘Iron Man’ half trlathlon event in January 2014. This involves a swim of 1.9 kms; a bike ride of 90 kms and a run of 21.1 kms! Enough to make most of us realise that perhaps many years ago we might have had that much energy and commitment but now are happy to enjoy others’ achievements! So on Monday 6 January 2014 Debbie and Catherine flew to Hong Kong where they stayed for two nights near ‘Fragrant Harbour’- was that fog we saw... and explored the local area. An incredible sight was the building of a skyscraper surrounded by scaffolding made of bamboo canes! Then followed a flight to New Zealand’s North Island and the hiring of a car and tours by coach and bus,. Enabling visits to Auckland with Its beautiful harbour, Mount Eden and the Calhoun area where the mountains are known as the ‘9 Dragons’, lots of geysers, places called Napier — flattened by an earthquake, and Hastings! Clear, brightly coloured slides took us all to a different world a few people had been fortunate enough to have visited, and the rest of us sat back and enjoyed the scenery. A special Treaty was signed on 6 February 1840 between the government and the Maori people — a very important marker in the country’s history — the Nations Founding Document and this date has been a Public Holiday since 1974. Rotarua is a spiritual home to the Maoris and there were slides of them in their colourful costumes and showing elaborate tattoos which are not just ‘Inked’ into the skin but actually carved In with a chisel - ouch! The triathion took place on Sunday 19 February and Debbie had volunteered to help, with a 5 am start — a vast number of people were taking part and all went well. The next stage of the girls’ trip was a journey from Wellington across to Picton, South Island and more tours followed by helicopter, bikes and a cable car! A glacier walk with fantastic views took 3 hours and a trip to the Tasmin Sea, Milford Sound on the west coast showed us a large harbour with many beautiful boats. Catherine also took part in water sports — perhaps Debbie was having a rest or keeping the camera charged up! We saw enormous beach boulders which have a spiritual significance to the Maoris and learnt that Christchurch is the largest city on South Island somewhat similar to Canterbury, in Kent. In just about an hour we had been transported to amazing places and we thanked Pebble for her presentation before enjoying refreshments and the raffle.

The February meeting will take place at the Emmanuel Centre on Thursday 16th with Michael Sanders of the Wealden Astronomical Society taking us more amazing sights. We have varied and very interesting programme of speakers for the coming year new members and guests are always welcome.

Reflections on a garden: Primroses are a precursor to the imminent arrival of Spring. Their vibrant green leaves form a glass like structure, which holds such a wonderful yellow concoction which can adorn even the dullest section of a forgotten plot in the garden. Year after year they flower for many weeks giving that sparkle, so badly needed after the winter shutdown.

With the snowdrops dipping their heads, almost in homage-like appreciation of their yellow neighbours, the garden begins its yearly climb to perfection. These early blooms are almost disdainful of the cold and wet, knowing, as they poke through the soil, their progress will be the centrepiece of poems and eulogies across the nation, as they have in the past.

More next week.

Contact: If you have any stories or articles of interest that will give our readership a reason to buy the paper please contact me on 07957588172 or via email at

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