‘The Spirit of the Age’ is a collection of character sketches by the 19th century English essayist and literary critic William Hazlitt. He is the interesting subject of the talk by Jon Cook at the Literary Society’s meeting this evening (Friday) at 7 for 7.30pm in the Court Hall. In his essays Hazlitt wrote fascinating critiques on twenty five men of significance at the time and they included writers: Lord Byron, William Wordsworth and Sir Walter Scott and philosopher Jeremy Bentham.

Tomorrow May 17th the Parochial Church Council will be meeting for a Congregation Meeting to build on some of the developments in the Church since Canon Robin Whitehead began his ministry. The meeting will be held in St Thomas’ Church with a good mix of members from both Winchelsea and Winchelsea Beach and will start at 10.30am for about two hours. By the end of the meeting a work plan should be in place for the year ahead and it is also an opportunity to raise ideas in an informal setting. During the meeting self-help refreshments will be available.

On Thursday May 22nd the European Parliamentary Elections will be taking place across the nation and for Winchelsea the local Polling Station will be the New Hall. The potential candidates standing for election to become MEPs are from the range of different political parties and the successful candidate will be representing us in Europe.

Winchelsea Museum opened again to visitors on May 1st for the new season and will be open daily from 10.30am till 4.30pm until the end of September. It is housed in the ancient Upper Court Hall which dates back to at least the 15th century. Winchelsea had an important role in history as one of the Cinque Ports and the museum depicts this through its heritage information, civic regalia dating from the 15th century and a silver mace used by the Winchelsea sergeant at arms. The displays include a collection of old photographs, pictures, coins, scale models, seals, maps and local pottery.

Every day people are free to visit, admire the works of art and enjoy the tranquillity of St Thomas’ Church and the door is open to all. Therefore it is very disappointing to report some mindless damage that appears to have been carried out just prior to the May Bank Holiday weekend. Most obviously was a frame from the Millennium Tapestry depicting the Seal of the town which had been cut out and removed. It is hoped that a replica can be produced using local skills in order to restore the tapestry. Members of the church, with the assistance of the Millennium Artefacts Committee, are considering providing a protective covering as used by the National Trust to secure it from any future thefts and vandalism. Further the oil painting depicting the Deposition of the Cross, on the West wall above the font has suffered a 6 inch and a 2 inch cut while that of the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, on the South wall has suffered a 2 inch cut. There is an argument that heating and cooling in the Church, or even a bird strike, could have caused this to happen, but that is unlikely. Fortunately this damage is quite repairable and will be set in hand so that these art treasures will look as good as ever! The Police have been informed and have visited and though the chances are slight there is always the possibility that the culprit(s) will be found and apprehended at some point in time.

On a more positive note, you will have seen the huge improvement in the appearance of the clock face thanks to repainting and regilding which was completed while the scaffolding was set up for the repairs to the weather vane. Therefore the Parochial Church Council is extremely grateful for this support and particularly for the contributions from Icklesham Parish Council of £1500 and from the Committee of the Rye and Winchelsea Cookbook Project of £250 to the work on renovating the clock and the overall cost of the clock face renovation was £2759. This was work that could not be claimed on insurance and it was a PCC decision to take advantage of the scaffolding to bring forward this work. The clock is there for all to see and it is pleasing that the wider community has made the renovation possible.

Winchelsea Beach

Tomorrow (Saturday) there will be a Congregation Meeting at St Thomas’ Church to set up a working plan for the year ahead and review developments since Canon Whitehead began his ministry. Members from both St Richard’s and St Thomas’ Church and the local community are invited to attend. The meeting will begin at 10.30am for about two hours and self-help refreshments will be at hand.

A circular walk of 2.5 miles has been arranged by Rye Harbour Nature Reserve to look at the wildlife in the fields and ditches around Camber Castle as well as visiting the bird hide at Castle Water. The Castle Water Wildlife Walk takes place tomorrow May 17th from 1 to 4pm and donations towards the Reserve would be greatly appreciated and you will need to meet at Brede Lock.

An evening of Cash Bingo will be in action on Wednesday May 21st in the Community Hall. This event will be as usual at 7 for 7.30 pm with light refreshments available.

The European Parliamentary Elections are held on Thursday May 21st and this is a chance to vote for the best candidate to represent us in Europe. Voting takes place in the Community Hall which is used as the Polling Station and will be open throughout the day.

Regarding the recent Eurovision song contest I thought the focus was on contemporary music at its best but this 2014 contest with the bearded ‘lady’ revealed that standards have slipped and it is simply about political point scoring; so I won’t be watching that again!

In between the local Bank Holiday Boot Sales through spring and summer, the Winchelsea Beach Community Association regularly provides Table Sales. The next Sale is on Saturday May 24th in the Community Hall at 11am and to book a table please contact 01797 224820. On hand will be a Tombola and entrance is 40p which includes tea and biscuits.

Cindi Cogswell

31 Highfords, Icklesham