The Reverends: David Frost, Ian Pruden and Robin Whitehead at Winchelsea Methodist Chapel.
The Reverends: David Frost, Ian Pruden and Robin Whitehead at Winchelsea Methodist Chapel.

Cindi Cogswell, 31 Highfords, Icklesham

Last week’s Village Voice for whatever reason, did not appear in the newspaper which was unfortunate as it meant some of the forthcoming events were not advertised. This may have been due to a blip in the system which happens sometimes but apologies for any inconvenience.

Tomorrow February 1st there will be a Church Market from 10.30 am to 12 noon and on sale will be home-made produce and a new selection of good quality books. This is also an opportunity to get together over coffee and biscuits and funds raised from the event will go towards the upkeep of the church. The morning worship service at St Thomas’ will be at the earlier time of 9.15am on Church Market days otherwise at 9.30 am on every other Saturday of the month.

You may have noticed that the Church weather vane has been tilted slightly by the winter storms. The work to realign this ornate, modern structure which is not as delicate as it looks will soon be completed and in the meantime there could be limited access through the North Transept arch. Also while the rain continues do beware of the slippery and uneven paths when walking across the churchyard.

Tom Coward’s Winter Lecture on Gravetye Manor last Saturday was a great success and it is likely that many who heard him will be saving up for afternoon tea and a wander round the garden. Gravetye is a country hotel and restaurant rather than a garden open to the public but Tom assured the Garden Society that it would be possible to arrange a group visit and they will be exploring this further and will keep everyone informed.

Historian Nick Austen gave an interesting talk and slide show, the Saturday before last, on the potential location of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The talk was organised by Winchelsea Archaeological Society (WAS) and held at St Thomas’ Church. Nick is largely convinced that the Battle of Hastings took place at Crowhurst and that the Normans arrived in Britain at Bulverhythe Port, Hastings (part of the area of Pevensey) in suitable walking distance to the battleground. The army camps formed part of the battle field which in all would have spread as far as Telham to the north where much of the fighting took place, due east where Tescoes now stands and across to Crowhurst Railway Station in the west. A major source of information for Nick was the Bayeux Tapestry and from this he interpreted symbolic pictures of trees, castles and texts to support the Crowhurst location. Other sources such as the Domesday Book, and the Chronicle of Battle Abbey also added credence to the debate. In the last few years archaeologists came across a few remains of which were a cross bow and a metal ring that might have belonged to a Norman helmet. They also uncovered the foundations of the original abbey site which some years later was moved to its present spot at Battle Abbey. Although this has helped bring together some of the history of the time more evidence is needed to show beyond a doubt that Crowhurst was the battleground. The search is therefore likely to continue with the help of various metal detectors and extensive digging. At least 8000 soldiers died in the battle but so far no indication of graveyards has been unearthed and the question of location is set to carry on for some time. Nick’s book which will provide a battery of clues is available online or from WAS and is entitled: ‘Secrets of the Norman Invasion’.

The Methodist Chapel came near to full capacity with a congregation of fifty, the Sunday before last for the Annual United Service. The last to arrive sat on the wooden forms and had the view from the balcony. A good mix of friends attended from St Thomas’, St Richard’s and the Methodist Churches in the Hastings, Bexhill and Rye Circuit. Rev. Ian Pruden, Methodist Minister conducted the service and Winchelsea’s Rector Robin Whitehead read from the scriptures. The theme of the service concerned strengthening the bonds of fellowship which is sometimes overlooked by members of the Body of Christ. From the pulpit where John Wesley once preached, Rev. David Frost, the Rural Dean, of St Mary’s Church Rye gave his sermon. He referred to the essentials of the gospel which Christians should adhere to, these being: the power of the Cross, repentance and reconciliation to God; in order to live together in harmony. The hymn that followed was an appropriate choice, ‘Lord, you have seen your church’s needs’ by Christopher Idle; sung to the inspiring tune Irish (Hosmer) Dublin Hymnal 1749; with the final verse affirming: ‘We plead, O Christ, that when you come, you will find faith on earth; one church awakened by one truth, alive by one new birth.’ After the service a great social gathering closely filled the Chapel boundaries and the homemade refreshments were much appreciated. A big thank you now goes to all who helped, cooked and contributed to the celebration. Next year St Thomas’ Church looks forward to hosting the service.

Winchelsea Beach

World Wetlands Day occurs on February 2nd every year and Rye Harbour Nature Reserve has organised a 2 mile walk during high tide to enjoy the views of many wetland birds around the new salt marsh. Expect to see Little Egrets, Golden Plover and Curlew. Please meet this Sunday at Rye Harbour for 11am to 1.30 pm and donations would be appreciated. WWD was first celebrated in 1997 and organisations from over 95 countries including Iran and Korea have undertaken activities each year to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits.

The Evening Prayer at St Richard’s Church takes place at 3pm this Sunday February 2nd. It will be a Service of Light to celebrate Candlemas which is the Christian Festival of Lights held on February 2nd every year. On this day Christians remember the presentation of Jesus Christ in the temple. Forty days after the birth of a Jewish boy it was the custom to take him to the temple in Jerusalem to be presented to God by his grateful parents. All are invited to come along to the celebration.

Candlemas weather-lore has an old saying that a fine sunny Candlemas Day means more winter to come whereas a wet stormy day means the worst of winter is over.