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

Church of the Holy Spirit

In the churchyard stands the memorial to the men of Rye Harbour who died when the Mary Stanford lifeboat sank … more

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve

The Rye Harbour Nature Reserve is approximately 1.4 miles south east of Rye, signposted off the A259. There is a … more

Camber Castle

Camber Castle lies between Rye and Winchelsea, and was originally located on a shingle spit which protected the approach to … more

Accommodation

Coldharbour Cottage

Coldharbour Cottage won the National Silver Award for the best Self Catering Cottage in 2010. The cottage itself has been … 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

Ockman Cottage

Our housekeeping company are ensuring all directors and staff are up to date with all the correct procedures concerning housekeeping … 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

Flackley Ash Hotel, Restaurant & Spa

Located in the Sussex countryside 4 miles from the historic town of Rye, Flackley Ash is a delightful Grade II … 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

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