The Cellar Tours season is well underway this weekend, July 19th and 20th for guided tours by the Friends of the Ancient Monuments & Museum. Tours begin at 11am and last for 1.5 hours and you will need to assemble in Castle Street by the Town Well where you will meet your FOAM tour guide. The cost is £5 p.p. and funds raised are in aid of the FOAM charity.

Winchelsea Archaeological Society invites all to an interesting talk entitled, To be a (Medieval) Pilgrim tomorrow (Saturday) at 3pm in St Thomas’ Church. Dr Gillian Draper who is the Events and Development Officer for the British Association for Local History will be giving the talk. Gillian Draper has taught landscape history at the University of Kent since 2003 and also teaches local history at Canterbury Christ Church University. She is also the author of a range of interesting works on medieval literacy, the landscape of Romney Marsh, Quakers in Kent, and life in the Union workhouses of the New Poor Law. During 2009 she published two books, one on the history of the Cinque Port of New Romney and the other on Rye.

There will be a visit from the Mobile Library for exchange of information and books on Wednesday July 23rd. This will be from 1.40 to 2.10pm in Castle Street.

End of term for St Thomas’ Primary School children and staff is Tuesday July 22nd for the summer break. A good holiday and rest is anticipated for all and not forgetting that the return date to school is Tuesday September 2nd.

Garden Talks continues its series of summer talks on Wednesday July 23rd at 3pm. On this occasion the Garden Society Chairman Howard Norton will be giving a talk on: ‘The use of bamboos and grasses in the garden’ at Rye View, The Strand, so do come along to hear some helpful tips.

A big thank you to everyone who helped to make last weekend’s Patronal Festival a great success. The Pegasus Concert raised £1,291.30, the Church Market funds came to £343.36 and Sunday’ collection for the Patronal Service brought the sum over the £2000 mark which was all gratefully received for Church Funds.

The Public Exhibition at the Court Hall on July 5th and 6th was well attended and many positive comments were recorded about the informative nature of the exhibition. Thanks are due to Mike de Smith for his conceptual 3D image of the gate, which incorporated many of the suggestions put forward as to how to improve and protect the structure, and the model and prints provided by the Archaeological Society. The Public meeting on the 12th was also well attended to hear Richard Crook the consulting Architect for the project explain the nature and cost of the repairs required to the structure of the Monument. He was also able to give information on the requirements of Heritage Lottery funding which will require more than just repair to the structure to enable them to fund the project. The extent of these requirements is still to be determined as, because of the proximity of the gate to the A259 trunk road and the possible proposed changes to the traffic flow in that part of North Street, there will be a need to involve the appropriate highway authorities in a full evaluation of the options available. The views of local residents are sought in this process and many have already commented having attended the events. The main questions are: Will you support our aim to repair and restore the structure of the gate? Will you support changes to the traffic flow by closing access through the gate? Do you have any suggested alterations to the proposals put forward? Do you have any concerns? Many residents have already commented on the proposals but if there is something you wish to add or you have not commented please write to Mayor Stephen Turner at 1 Trojans Plat Winchelsea or email at Many thanks to all the members of the Winchelsea Corporation and the other town organisations in helping to put the consultation events together and to the members of the public for supporting the events and giving their opinions on the proposals put forward.

The ‘Wesley Tree’ is fighting back with a growth of new leaves following surgery last year for what was thought to have been ash die back disease. This happy improvement made last Sunday’s annual hymn singing under the tree in the hot sun, even more of a celebration. A good number of friends from the local Methodist circuit attended the festive singing for the 229th anniversary of the town’s Wesleyan Chapel in celebration of the founders of Methodism, John and Charles Wesley. Although John is well remembered for his preaching in Winchelsea and his view of the townsfolk being almost persuaded to become Christians, he was also outspoken in his criticism of Islam describing the espousers of it as merciless and vengeful. He lived in an age when there were 1.5 million European and Americans toiling as slaves in Islamic North Africa between 1530 and 1780. Charles is the one gifted with writing over 6000 hymns from 1738-1780 and amongst this number are some of the most popular hymns sung throughout the world today. Instead of composing Latin chants as was used in the Anglican Church at the time Charles heard the sort of music people listened to as a respite from their poverty and adapted it. These people frequented pubs and when drunk on cheap gin sang drinking songs of two and three part vocal harmonies as their only entertainment. Charles began writing hymns to the melodies he had heard in the pubs and at the time the established church did not appreciate them but now these hymns are held to be sacrosanct, for example: Soldiers of Christ, Arise and O for a thousand tongues to sing. In his Zionist hymn (1762) Charles looked forward to the restoration of Israel as a nation back in the land (which happened in 1948) from where he quotes they will be a light to the nations. Charles Wesley wrote: ‘We know it must be done, For God hath spoke the word, All Israel shall their Saviour own, To their first state restored.’ Methodism is advantaged to have such founders as John and Charles Wesley as its basis for reflection and commitment.

Winchelsea Beach

Tomorrow (Saturday) the Rock n’ Roll Party will be in action at the Community Hall from 7.30 until 10.30pm. The admission cost of £10 includes a fish and chip supper and you will need to bring your own drinks and glasses. As it is a musical evening you will be entertained by the band, Something Else and the dress theme is ‘Summer holiday’. Everybody is invited to the summer fun and proceeds from the party will go towards WBCA and St Michael’s Hospice.

The World of Spiders involves a walk of about two miles around Rye Harbour Nature Reserve on Monday July 21st at 2pm. To find out more about the fascinating world of arachnids and take a look at some of them in the Reserve meet the warden Chris at Lime Kiln Cottage Information Centre at 2 until 3.30pm and you do not need to book but donations would be appreciated.

On Wednesday July 23rd the fortnightly visit from the Mobile Library will take place for exchange of books and information. This will be at the usual time of 11.55 am to 12.30pm in Sea Road.

The next Fellowship Lunch is only a week away on Friday July 25th in the Community Hall. If you would like to attend the number to contact is 01797 227168 and you will need to be there at 12 for 12.30pm.

Cindi Cogswell

31 Highfords, Icklesham