Monday, 14 November 2016

Pevensey to Beachy Head walk...

Recently, taking advantage of good weather, my brother, Dan, and I ventured out on the decent value Family Dayrider bus ticket (Stagecoach, covering East Sussex and Kent), that costs £12 for 2 adults (and 3 children or 1 adult and 4 children), and we visited 3 Norman churches, including 2 we'd never visited before. Of course, this image is of Pevensey Castle, which was built at the beginning of the 13th century within the 3rd century walls of the original Roman defences; the Normans knew how to take advantage of an already existing fortification!

In Pevensey itself, after having a surprise chat with a friend, Alan, who had dropped off his van with a local mechanic, we visited the Grade I listed St Nicholas Church, built around the same time as the castle, on the site of a Saxon church, which in those days overlooked the sea, as did the castle. St Nicholas is the patron saint of seafarers, and this early Norman church is considered the most unspoilt church of the time, as in few alterations, particularly from the Victorians! See the website for further information.

After walking through the castle fortifications, we came to Westham, another ancient parish, to the immediate west of the castle, with another Norman church...

Though having more alterations over the centuries than St Nicholas, St Mary's Church in Westham was the first Norman church built in England. Another Grade I listed building, constructed 1080-90: see website, but not too much information about the history of the church, which is a shame... there's a job needs doing! 

From Pevensey, we walked down to the seafront and headed westwards toward Eastbourne, on the way through the modern Sovereign Harbour, we saw 2 grey seals lounging on the beach, apparently, not a care in the world! Following a touch of our packed-lunch, we carried on into Eastbourne, and uphill to the Old Town and St Mary's...

Actually, this is St Mary the Virgin church, our third Norman church of the day, built circa 1180, though enlarged in the 14th century, and with considerable restoration under the Victorians in the 19th century. Plenty of further information at the website of this church.

Oh yes, and before we wandered off to Beachy Head, we had a couple of pints of Harveys at one of the oldest pubs in the country, The Lamb Inn (website), which dates from 1180.

Then we walked across to Beachy Head, coming back into the town to catch our bus back to Hastings, a good day out, 3 lovely Norman churches and well worth doing!

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