Heritage Open Days weekend: All visits to historical sites are free on the national Heritage Open Days this September weekend. In Winchelsea tomorrow (Saturday) Wesley’s Methodist Chapel will be open from 10am to 5pm and light refreshments will be served. John Wesley visited the town in 1771 and did much of his preaching in the open air. In 1785 the Chapel was built where he also preached to the townsfolk and many original features are retained in this time-honoured building. On Saturday at 11am and Sunday at 11am and 2pm Blackfriars’ Barn Cellar will be open with guided tours by members of the Winchelsea Archaeological Society. This is an opportunity to visit the largest undercroft in the town and see the recently discovered marine etchings. St Thomas’ Church will be open on Saturday from 8am till 6pm with morning worship at 9.30 to 10am. The Church was founded in the late 13th century and houses nine outstanding stained glass windows produced by Douglas Strachan in the 1930’s. On Sunday the Church is open from10.30am till 6pm with a Holy Communion service between 10.30 and 12 noon. The Court Hall & Museum will be open on Sunday from 1.30 to 5pm and teas will be served. The Court Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Winchelsea and contains the town’s jail. Despite harsh restoration in the 16th century parts of it are as old as the town itself and date back 700 years. In the museum there will be an exhibition by Harry Furniss on Winchelsea in the 1914-18 war years.

Magna Carta 1215: During the Heritage weekend on Saturday September 12th St Thomas’ Church will host a talk on the Magna Carta sponsored by the Archaeological Society. This will be from 2 till 3.30pm at £4 for non-members and free for under 16s. The talk is given by David Carpenter Professor of Medieval History from Kings College, London. In the commentary of his book Magna Carta David Carpenter quotes the charter’s significance: “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.”

Keeping fit: This year’s Ride and Stride event will be on Saturday September 12th. The activity entails cycling or walking to local churches to raise money which is then split between the Sussex Historic Churches Trust and a Church of your choice. Every church in the Deanery is on the visiting list and includes St Thomas’, St Richard’s and the Methodist Chapel. If you would like to participate the person to contact is Sue T for sponsorship forms.

Historical Novel: Following the August summer break the Literary Society’s meetings resume on Friday September 18th at 7 for 7.30pm in the Court Hall. Novelist Sarah Moss will be asking ‘What Is The Historical Novel For? And giving some interesting answers. Sarah Moss is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and has written four novels from 2009-15. These are: Cold Earth, Bodies of Light, Night Waking and Signs for Lost Children and also co-authored Chocolate: A Global History.

Autumn show results: The Winchelsea Garden Society was delighted with the quality as well as the quantity of entries for the autumn flower show. Numbers were well up on last year and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying the impressive display of flowers, produce, handicrafts, and mouth watering cookery. Judging by the noise level there was plenty to chat about with the help of tea and coffee and the raffle proved to be very popular. Despite the summer not being the best in memory and the recent wind and rain congratulations should go to everyone involved for such high standards. The results are as follows: The Society’s challenge cup for flowers - Helen Macdonald; The Veness Award for Dahlias - John Dunk; The Challenge Cup for Floral Art - Alice Kenyon; The Cleveland Challenge Bowl for Vegetables and fruit – Tony Davis; The Armoury challenge Bowl for cookery - Celia King; The Society’s challenge Cup for Handicrafts -Sandra Mackenzie Smith; The Society’s Challenge Cup for the best exhibit in show -Helen Macdonald; Silver Cup for highest points in Children’s Classes – Alexander Redmond. Congratulations to all the winners for their superb displays.

Millennium Artefacts Society: A review of the Annual August Bank Holiday Week-end Art Exhibition is as follows: The Society reports its considerable gratitude to the Artists from Winchelsea and the surrounding district who exhibited over 120 pieces for pleasure and for sale. Most of the exhibits were paintings but photos, pottery and jewellery were also well represented. Three paintings came from pupils at St. Thomas’ School. Thirty five items were sold and this included an oil painting of The Pipewell Gate which was generously given to the Society by the artist in the hope that funds from its sale would be transferred to The Corporation for its ‘Pipewell Gate Restoration Fund’ (which benefitted by £400). Receipts from sales, hanging fees, donations and the sale of raffle tickets yielded nearly £1,800 after payments to the artists. The Society’s funds are pledged to the maintenance of the Town’s Millennium Artefacts and this year that has included re-gilding of the Town Sign. The First Raffle Prize, an oil painting of Brancaster Staithe in Norfolk by The Society’s Secretary, Trevor Aisher went to Mrs B. Cunliffe (of Tenterden). Secondly, a Food & Wine Hamper was won by Mrs. S. Norris (of Hastings); a Magnum of Crozes Hermitage was won by Mrs Casey (of Guestling) and Mrs Brenda Courtenay (of Winchelsea) won a year’s membership to The Towner Gallery in Eastbourne. The Society is so grateful to the donors of those prizes: each of which was won by a lady (and none by members of the committee!!). Lastly, the success is due to the many visitors to the Exhibition so grateful thanks to them all.

English Longbow: Next Saturday September 19th the Archaeological Society has arranged a talk on ‘The English Longbow’ at 3pm in the New Hall. Admission is £4 non-members and free to under 16s. The talk will be given by Mark Stretton and be followed by a longbow demonstration outside. Mark Stretton is the Chairman of the English Warbow Society whose members are respected archers with an interest in medieval history. Regarded as a super weapon the longbow dominated medieval combat and was used in battle by Plantagenet and Tudor armies of the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries to devastating effect.

Winchelsea Beach

Visit bird hide: A 2.5 mile circular walk of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve has been planned for Sunday September 13th at 10am. It is well worth the trip and a great opportunity to look at wildlife in the fields and ditches around Camber Castle and visit the bird hide at Castle Water now home to Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit, Water Rail and Cettis Warbler throughout the year. Please meet at Brede Lock for 10am to be finished by 1pm. You do not need to book and donations towards the Reserve would be appreciated.

Fellowship Lunch: Following the summer break the Fellowship Lunches return and the next one is on Friday September 25th at 12 for 12.30pm in the Community Hall. As always, for catering purposes, booking is essential and the number to contact is 01797 227168. The lunches consist of a variety of home-made dishes to suit all tastes and a donation is requested which will be in aid of a selected charity.

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