It’s got lots of history and some literary connections too. By the end of the 12th century it was described as an ‘Antient Town, worthy of veneration’ and it became one of the Cinque Ports in the 14th century. This meant that it had to supply ships and seamen for the defence of the Realm. Parts of the town still have a medieval look, with cobbled streets and narrow passages.
Here are some of our photos (click on them for a bigger picture) from our last visit in 2006. First the Parish Church of St Mary’s which is almost 900 years old, damaged by fire in 1377 by French invaders. It has the oldest working church turret clock in the country dating from 1561-2.
We climbed the tower – the view is spectacular (but I can’t find our photos!)
One of the highlights of our visit was Lamb House, a brick-fronted Georgian house in West Street once the home of Henry James, later E F Benson, and then Rumer Godden, now owned by the National Trust.
Lamb House as it is today dates from 1722 or 1723 with some minor alterations made by Henry James and the addition of bathrooms by the National Trust. James lived there from 1898 until the autumn of 1914. There is a beautiful walled garden – I’m particularly fond of walled gardens – where in the summer James used to dictate his novels in the little Georgian pavilion that was later bombed in 1940. There is not a lot to see in the house with just three rooms open to the public but some of his furniture and books are on display.
E F Benson lived there until his death in 1940 and wrote many of his Mapp and Lucia novels there. Rumer Godden also lived there from 1968 to 1973. But nothing of their time here remains, as far as I could see.
We also walked round the harbour
and then along the shore line, which is a Nature Reserve with bird-watching hides.
The Nature Reserve extends as far as Winchelsea Beach, a huge shingle bank, 2 miles down the coast.
For more Favourite Places visit Margot’s blog Joyfully Retired where she regularly features her favourite places.