Solar Eclipse: This morning (Friday) there will be a partial eclipse of the sun with up to 90% covered in this area. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, and the moon fully or partially blocks the sun. This can happen only during a new moon. The eclipse begins at 8.25am, reaches its peak at 9.31am and ends at 10.41am. Not just Britain but Europe, Russia and some of North Africa will be getting the 90% eclipse while the Middle East and most of North Africa will get up to 40%, with Scotland and Ireland getting more than 90%. The last time the UK witnessed an almost total eclipse was in August 1999. On this date a group of Winchelsea residents observed the eclipse from the high point of the town at the site of the old windmill. Some came prepared with UVA sunglasses, a telescope with a dark filter lens and a pin-hole projector made of card as protection from the glare. During the momentary dusk it was noticeable that the sheep in the surrounding fields appeared confused, sensing that night had fallen they grew silent and settled down to rest. Once the eclipse was over and the sun burst through they returned to their grazing as though it was just another day. If somehow you missed this one the next partial solar eclipse is on August 21, 2017 while the next total solar eclipse to reach the UK is not until September 2090.

The Bible: Don’t forget that tonight (Friday) the Literary Society is meeting in the Lower Court Hall at 7 for 7.30 pm. This month’s talk is entitled: The Bible as Literature’ and is given by Professor Stephen Prickett. Non-members are welcome to come along and listen and light refreshments are available during the event.

APCM: The Annual Parochial Church Meeting takes place tomorrow March 21st at 10.30am in St Thomas’ Church. You are invited to attend if you are on the roll or have an interest in the running of the church in the Parish. The Parish of Winchelsea is a charity and those who run the church are also trustees of that charity. In effect the APCM is a form of Annual General Meeting and an exercise in local democracy wherein the nominated churchwardens and council members for the year will be elected.

Successful weekend: It was a really busy weekend the week before last but well worth it. Over £1,830 was raised in total by The Church Market, the Lent Lunch, Book Sale and the remarkable Cantate Choir for church funds. So thank you to all for the help and support that went towards making it a success.

Roman Rye and Royalty: Historian Mrs Jo Kirkham gave an illustrated talk on one of her favourite subjects, the history of Rye, at the Methodist Chapel last Saturday morning. Due to its prime location on the south coast, it was not just the smugglers, artists and Huguenots, amongst others that left their mark in the Rye-Winchelsea area. Jo described how Rye was important to the Romans around 43AD as a place of shipment and storage of iron from the Wealden Iron Industry. The Romans worked iron in the Weald on a huge scale and used Rye for exporting it. This was also Rye’s contribution to the Roman Empire as much of the iron would have been used in the making of weapons and armour which increased the power of the armies. With so much fame and notoriety surrounding its name it was however Queen Elizabeth 1 who gave the town the right to use the title ‘Rye Royale’ following a three-day visit in 1573. During this time she stayed at the Customs House in the idyllic location of Church Square. Jo also has her own special history as Mayor of Rye from 1979-82 when dressed in full Mayoral attire she accompanied the Queen Mother on her visit to Rye in 1980.

Winchelsea Beach

The Bishop of Lewes: The Right Reverend Richard Jackson Bishop of Lewes is walking the coast of the Deaneries for which he is responsible on Sunday March 22nd. These Deaneries include most of East Sussex (apart from some parishes to the north of Brighton, and east of East Grinstead), the parishes of Shoreham and Southwick and a few small areas of Kent, so a pair of strong walking boots is essential. Richard has a scientific background and before becoming a priest he worked as an agricultural consultant advising farmers on a range of issues. It is Richard’s first visit to Icklesham Parish and he will be at St Richard’s Church for 2pm. If you can you are invited to drop in and meet him and he will be praying with those present in the congregation.

Every other Wednesday: Once a fortnight there is a Cash Bingo evening in the Community Hall. The next event is this Wednesday March 25th at 7.15pm and there will be refreshments, a raffle and all are invited but players must be over 16 years of age.

Fellowship Lunch soon: There is just one week to go until this month’s Fellowship Lunch on Friday March 27th taking place in the Community Hall at 12 for 12.30pm. The lunch is both appetising and varied and is an opportunity to support the community. A contribution to charity is all that is asked in return. If you are planning on attending please contact 227168 as the caterers need to know numbers.

Cindi Cogswell

31 Highfords, Icklesham