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A walk within Winchelsea

If you have walked down Barrack Square, retrace your steps to the High Street and cross over to Rookery Lane. If you did not bother to visit Barrack Square, turn left as you come up the High Street from the Look Out.

Rookery Lane is a very pleasant and peaceful walk. On the left is Rookery Field, the name of which is derived from the fact that the trees on the other side of the field house a colony of about 350 rooks’ nests, the largest in Sussex. At the far end of this field, beyond the wall and the trees, you might be able to see the remains of part of the chapel of the monastery of the Grey Friars (Franciscans). Pevsner thought the ruins of the choir were one of the most impressive Franciscan remains in England. Unfortunately, this is as close as you can get to the ruins as the site has been closed to the public since the Greyfriars estate was sold off in 1995 by East Sussex County Council. The peculiar handling of the sale by the County Council (which has been involved in other contentious property deals) has left bitter feelings in Winchelsea. It is also a matter of concern that the ruins of the chapel have been classed by English Heritage as a national monument at risk.

At the end of Rookery Lane, follow the road as it turns sharp right into Back Lane and then continue as far as the first crossroads. Friars Road goes off to the left and St Thomas's Street to the right. On the corner with St Thomas's Street is Glebe. This is a late 14th century house. It was here that Sir John Millais stayed while painting in Winchelsea. The house also features in the novel Denis Duval written but not finished by Millais’s friend William Makepeace Thackeray about a young man of Huguenot descent. Glebe seems to have been used as the home of the hero's friend, Dr Barnard, the Rector. Denis was modelled on Millais. The story revolves around Denis’s determination to join the Royal Navy against his grandfather’s wish that Denis should join his band of smugglers (referred to as the "Mackerel Fishery").

Walk through Rookery Lane and Back Lane to Glebe

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4 Rookery Lane to Glebe

Greyfriars Chapel
Greyfriars Chapel

Glebe House