Winchelsea

Winchelsea in East Sussex Town Guide

Winchelsea is a historic ancient town which stands two miles west of the town of Rye. It was founded in 1288 as a port town to replace Old Winchelsea, which was overwhlemed by the sea during the 13th century, and is a splendid example of a medieval planned town, with a grid pattern of streets.

Winchelsea, along with Rye, was one of the ‘Ancient Towns’ who joined the Cinque Port Confederation in the 12th century. During the Hundred Years War, the town was attacked by the French and Spanish, but its demise came with the gradual silting of its harbour. Winchelsea was still fairly prosperous in 1500 but by 1560, it had dwindled to a “settlement” of 60 households.

One of the founders of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, preached his last outdoor sermon in the town on the 7th October 1790, when he was aged 87.

Today, Winchelsea is an unspoilt small town of much character, well worth exploring, with delightful walks and fine views towards the coast. There is a pub and a motel, both providing accommodation and serving lunchtime and evening meals, and a small coffee shop. Visitors may be interested in the surviving town gates, the medieval Church of St Thomas and a small museum which is open daily during the summer months. In the churchyard is the grave of much-loved comedian Spike Milligan.

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Lester Magoogan

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Attractions and Activities

Rye Town Council

The Town Hall, which was built in 1741, was designed by Andrew Jelfe. The building is surmounted by a cupola, … more

St Mary's Church Tower

Climb the Church Tower for amazing views of Rye and the surrounding countryside! View the mechanism of the oldest working … more

1066 Country Walk

Enjoy the exhilarating 1066 Country Walk from or to Rye. The whole walk to Pevensey takes four days, allowing time … more

Accommodation

Jeake's House

Indulge in the unique atmosphere of Jeake’s House Hotel. Standing on one of the most beautiful cobbled streets of Rye, … more

The Gallivant

The Gallivant Restaurant With Rooms is across the road from the dunes and the beautiful sandy beach beyond. Inspired by … more

The Mermaid Inn

One of England’s oldest and loveliest inns, with Norman cellars dating from 1156, the Mermaid, rebuilt in 1420, offers tradition … more

Restaurants

The Ship Inn

In the centre of the small, charming town of Rye, the Ship is a modern take on the traditional English … more

The Mermaid Inn

One of England’s oldest and loveliest inns, with Norman cellars dating from 1156, the Mermaid, rebuilt in 1420, offers tradition … more

Haydens Coffee Shop

Fair trade and organic tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Freshly prepared breakfasts, lunches and cakes served in a warm friendly … more

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