Avoid Trick or Treat: Don’t forget this evening (Friday) the New Inn has organised a Halloween Party from 8 till 11pm. There is a cash prize of £100 for the best fancy dress costume and food and drinks will be Halloween-themed. Come along and avoid the trick or treat calls and entry is free.

Church Market: Good coffee, friendly company and majestic surrounds might sound like the Savoy and is in every way as good when it comes to St Thomas’ Church Market. Always on the first Saturday in the month the Market takes place tomorrow at the usual time of 10.30am to noon. On sale will be home-made produce, plants and hard back books and if you haven’t yet been do come along.

Holy Communion: On Sunday November 2nd the Holy Communion service will be at 8am in St Thomas’ Church. This will be followed at 10.30am by an All Age Eucharist, as it is the All Saints Tide festivity weekend and both services will be led by Canon Robin Whitehead.

Locked up: Now that the nights are drawing in St Thomas’ Church has returned to its 4pm locking up time which will be everyday for the next six months.

Weekly dance: Every Thursday an evening of Sequence Dancing is held in the New Hall at 7.30 to 10pm and visitors are welcome to join in. The waltz, foxtrot, tango and quickstep all make up this form of ballroom dancing but you do not have to be an expert to have a go. If you want more details 01797 226452 is the number to contact to speak to the organisers Derrick and Christine Pope.

The cost of a cow: Mr Malcolm Pratt’s book on the Winchelsea Poor Law Records 1790 to 1841 was published a year ago and since then he has given various talks on the interesting subject of Winchelsea’s Poor through their letters which he researched in the Winchelsea Archives. His most recent talk was at the Methodist Chapel last Saturday morning to local residents and Friends of the Chapel. From a selection of items in his book Malcolm clarified some of the reasons for the extreme poverty during the 18th and 19th century. At the time it was only possible to claim financial assistance from the parish of a person’s place of legal settlement/birthplace and this was called a ‘Parish Settlement’ and an agreed, though small sum was reached but only according to the short-term need. However if a person moved to another parish their only chance of receiving assistance was by returning to their birthplace and this often caused tremendous upheaval and expense and was frequently an impossible task. Even worse, if a person attempted to become self-sufficient such as in the case of Mr Simmons who in 1826 moved with his wife and children from Winchelsea to Hythe and then to London in search of work. Having limited success he was compelled to ask for charity from the overseers of Winchelsea. He suggested that if they would provide him with a cow the produce from the enterprise would be of great help in supporting his family; otherwise he would need to trouble them for 6 or 7 shillings a week or alternatively all the family would have to return to Winchelsea and live in the workhouse. Despite Mr Simmons’ practical request as a way out of his poverty there was very little chance he would have obtained a cow. Providing cows for the poor was included in the Poor Law reform in 1797 but unfortunately was greeted with derision by the parliament of the time. Hence without incentives to become more self-reliant the poor carried on being dependent on their local parishes. In 1834 the Rye Poor Law Union took responsibility of meeting the demands of the poor in the area which simply resulted in the continuance of the workhouse, until in 1930 the Poor Law system ended and some workhouses were closed. However many stayed in use until the Atlee Labour Government established the Welfare State in 1948 with a view to improving standards of living.

Ukraine: Thank you to all for supporting Peter Grenville’s Ukraine Appeal. As a result of Russia’s decision to cut off the gas supply to the Ukraine, Winchelsea resident Peter Grenville has been collecting warm clothing such as jumpers and fleeces to send on to his contact in Kiev. So far about 150 items of clothing have been donated to the Ukraine Social Centre in London for which the volunteers are very grateful.

Hallowtide: Also known as All Saints Tide is the collective term for All Saints’ Day on November 1st and All Souls’ Day on or around November 2nd. St Richard’s Church, Winchelsea Beach, will be welcoming friends and visitors to its All Souls service of Thanksgiving on Sunday November 2nd. Some churches, including the Catholic Church, hold special services with music and prayers for All Souls’ Day to remember and pray for deceased family members and friends. Canon Robin Whitehead will be conducting the service which begins at 3pm and will be followed by light refreshments.

WOPPS: Winchelsea Older Persons Project is held every Monday from 10.30am till 2.30pm in Winchelsea Beach Community Hall. The day includes transport to and from the venue if necessary, plus a hot meal, chat, quiz and general advice, so do come along if you can.

Cindi Cogswell

31 Highfords, Icklesham