Heritage Open Day at Winchelsea

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The medieval cellar at Blackfriars Barn

Every September, volunteers across England organise events to celebrate our history. Hidden places and new experiences were on offer in Winchelsea over the weekend of September 8 and 9.

The Blackfriars’ Cellar tours were very well attended and at the end of each tour, the guide recommended a visit to The Stables to look at a vast assemblage of 18th and 19th century pottery sherds which had been found in this particular cellar in 1976/77. The link between these two sites will be an ongoing project for at least another year, and anyone who is interested in local archaeology is welcome to visit the Stables on a Tuesday to talk to one of the team members of Winchelsea Archaeological Society (WAS).

The Stables is situated in Mill Road, Winchelsea, TN36 4HH. From Blackfriars’ Barn, if you look across the field to the right you can see the building at the end of the road. There is no website and it belongs to the National Trust.

A previous exhibition at the Museum

The Lower Court Hall and the Museum provided another site of historical interest. An exhibition named ‘Men and Women who have shaped Winchelsea’s Heritage’ gave visitors an insight into important periods of the town’s history whether a political event, a business venture, connected to the Arts or recent archaeological discoveries; much was covered and in some cases, linked together. For the residents, this was an opportunity to learn something new about the town and its past inhabitants. Home-made cakes were on sale and were delicious.

The final site was The Methodist Chapel and this small building is one of great charm with many of its original features, including the pulpit. It is rarely open to the public so to have the opportunity to go inside this little gem, where John Wesley preached in the 1780 and 90’s, was a treat.

I hope all those who came enjoyed themselves, and if it was not possible to come this time, please do come next year.

Image Credits: Rye News library , Kenneth Bird .

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