Winchelsea village voice

Winchelsea’s Secret Gardens are open tomorrow (Saturday) from 1 to 5.30 pm for the National Gardens Scheme charities.

The cost is £5 and a map will be provided at the first garden visited. Throughout the afternoon teas and a place to sit will be available in the New Hall. For this event the charities to benefit are: Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Help the Hospices. During your tour, just across the road from the New Hall is the historic Methodist Chapel which will be open to visitors from 2 to 5 pm.

St Thomas’s Church has a Said Eucharist at 8 am on Sunday 1st July. This will be followed by the 10.30 am Choral Eucharist service with the Junior Choir.

The Patient’s Participation Group are meeting on Monday 2nd July at 2 pm in Ferry Road Health Centre Rye. All are invited to come along to hear a talk by the Community Diabetes Dietician on, Healthy Eating and Nutrition for people with Diabetes.

On Monday 2nd July Winchelsea Moving Pictures will be showing, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. This will be at the usual time of 7 for 7.30 pm in the New Hall. The film is a 2012 British comedy-drama about a varied group of people who decide to make a new life in a retirement hotel in India. It is directed by John Madden and the cast includes Judi Dench, Dev Patel, Ronald Pickup and Maggie Smith.

There is a second opportunity to see Winchelsea’s Secret Gardens on Wednesday 4th July from 2 to 5.30 pm. Proceeds from the NGS charity on this occasion will go towards the Memorial Hospital, Rye.

If you can spare an hour or so to help clean the church for the Patronal Festival meet at the Church at 2 pm on Thursday 5th July. Bring with you soft brooms and brushes, old carpet beaters and dusters; a vax or Henry vacuum cleaner would also be useful.

Winchelsea Literary Society is hosting the song-writer and folk singer, Jeremy Taylor on Friday 6th July at 7 for 7.30 pm in the Court Hall. Jeremy will be singing (in French) and talking about (in English) the songs of Jacques Brel. Many popular folk, rock, jazz and pop musicians from Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Joan Baez to Nina Simone and Cyndi Lauper have been influenced by the Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel. It is free for members of WLS and for their friends, £5 per person. Any additional donations to the Society, to help to defray the artist’s expenses in coming from France, would be appreciated.

This year’s Patronal Festival celebrates the Diamond Jubilee with a return visit from the Pegasus chamber choir next weekend. They will be giving a concert of music for royal occasions entitled: Happy and Glorious, on Saturday 7th July at 7.30 pm in St Thomas’s Church. The concert will feature Handel’s Zadok the Priest and Parry’s I was Glad and during the interval there will be a bar. Tickets are £10 from Winchelsea Post Office and the proceeds are in aid of church funds. Don’t forget that on Sunday 8th July the Choral Eucharist at St Thomas’s Church will be sung by the Pegasus choir.

An outing to Charleston the country home of the Bloomsbury Group and Monk’s House the nearby home of Leonard and Virginia Woolf has been arranged by Winchelsea Literary Society for Wednesday 18th July. Tickets are now available from Winchelsea Post Office (Mornings) and the cost is £23 (cheques to ‘Winchelsea Literary Society’). This includes admission to Charleston and a private group tour. The admission to Monk’s House is free to National Trust members and £4.85 to non-NT members. You will travel on a 29-seater coach which will leave the Bus Shelter by the Town Sign at 9.30 am prompt and will return at approximately 5 pm. We hope for good weather and suggest you bring a picnic lunch.

Icklesham Parish Council, during its meeting of 11th June debated whether or not to turn off the footlights in the town at midnight. Winchelsea has 17 footlights which unlike street lights only light the footway not the road. Usually the District or County Council foots the bill but in Winchelsea IPC has to pay. If the lights were turned off at midnight there would be an annual saving of £700 a year and this was proposed to residents last year in the form of a questionnaire. Almost 30% of households returned the completed questionnaires and most were in favour of turning the lights off at midnight. However as a few Councillors did not support the lights being turned off the matter will need to be reviewed at the next council meeting.

Nathalie Cohen from the National Trust gave a stimulating talk at the church last Saturday on, Churches in a Maritime Landscape. Using the projector Nathalie showed various maps of the reclaimed land of the Romney Marshes during the medieval period. It was surprising to find that there were at least 17 churches built in that small area of marshland from the 11th century, of which 14 are still standing. Also remarkable is that many of them would have been built over the water table or on sand using timber framework. One reason for the large number of churches may have been the population expansion at the time although few skeletal remains have been discovered on the marshes. This may be because the churchyards were used to contain the burials in layers but as they are not open to excavation we cannot be sure. The recent discovery of the ship graffiti in Blackfriars Barn came into the discussion and was compared to examples of similar graffiti in fenland churches in Norwich. Since finding the graffiti in Blackfriars Barn more ship graffiti has been found on the pillars in St Thomas’s Church which has led to further interest. Whether the graffiti signifies a prayer to those in peril on the sea or a plan for the Battle of Winchelsea in 1350 or something else entirely we have yet to find out. In the meantime there is opportunity to see the graffiti as Winchelsea Archaeological Society has arranged an open day at Blackfriars Barn, the date of which is Saturday 8th September (2012).

Cindi Cogswell, 31 Highfords, Icklesham