The Queen’s Head Sedlescombe

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The epitome of a beautiful English pub, tile hung, deep red bricks add the lustre of another age. Originally 15th century, there have been additions and extensions since Queen Elizabeth I’s time but the mellow brick walls remain and possibly the fireplace although those tiles are 19th century and ‘lie over the original beams and plaster for additional weather-proofing’ (Twenty Centuries in Sedlescombe by Beryl Lucey)

A hint of William Morris, creeper covered walls, brick paving and shrubs by the front door invite you to enter. Luckily, this is no pastiche for there is an attention to detail inside this now dining pub with a bar.

Times change, that country pub devoted to beer has long gone, thankfully in the case of The Queen’s Head for a few years ago the pub was doomed, dying on its feet, dark rooms, insipid beer and what food was available was advertised on fluorescent stickers pinned to the wall behind the bar.

Now food is the driver and excellent it is too with fish and chips and prime beef burgers amidst the risottos, sea bass duck breast and the ‘Specials Board’.  The fish platter shared was very good and despite the walk from Bodiam Castle I forwent beer for a chilled white wine and a pint of soda water on this hot day sat in the garden – very un-Rambler like.

It has that comfortable air inside with little rooms, old table and odd chairs, fires in winter and this particular July Thursday afternoon, a choir rehearsing in the back room.

Service too is very good, attentive without being demanding.

Increased trade has increased the quality of the beer with Harvey’s Best, Long Man Blonde, Sharpe’s Doom and Fuller’s Oliver Island on offer on my walking day.

Remember before you leave add a few coins to the collecting box on the bar – for the village geese – and be especially careful when you drive away to avoid the noisy birds.

I was walking 1066 Harold’s Way (Bodiam Castle to Battle Abbey via Sedlescombe) inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings.

 

It is the final section of this long-distance walk, from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey, and with just three miles to go it is worth stopping for a pint.

 

The Queen’s Head, The Green, Sedlescombe, East Sussex, TN33 0QA  Tel.  01424 870228

http://www.thequeensheadsedlescombe.com

CAMRA WhatPub

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A Last Few Goodbyes

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Rotherhithe, July 1620

Men women and children clamouring excitedly waiting to board ship, their usual demeanour forgotten in the face of persecution and the opportunity for a new beginning.

What few possessions they owned were already loaded and as the tide rose, the ship creaked and rocked in the water and a few goodbyes were made as the last of the 65 passengers boarded.

Rotherhithe was the Mayflower’s home port and she had been carrying wine from the continent but, curiously and unusual for a ship trading to London, there was no record of any voyages of Captain Jones’s Mayflower from 1616. Such a ship would not usually disappear from the records for such a long time and one wonders what cargo she had been running but in any event, Captain Jones found time to take these Pilgrims to the New World.

Other ships lined the wharves, loading and unloading cargo and the noise of men and carts and horses, oaths shouted, orders given and the smell of the Thames would almost be the last that these people would remember of their capital, although they would have a final stop at Plymouth before fleeing England.

Next to where the Mayflower lay was The Shippe, a beer house, ignored by the Brethren for they did not drink, but much enjoyed by sailors and traders. Deals were done in the small dark candlelit rooms, buying and selling who knows what in this remote wharf, downstream from London Bridge and the city. Beyond the few houses that made up Rotherhithe were streams and marshes that drained into the great river and it would not be until the end of the century that great man-made docks would begin to be built that would transform the riverside.

Eventually, after being rebuilt in the 18th and 20th centuries and renamed The Mayflower, the pub remains a lure for regulars and visitors and for walkers along the Thames Path and 1066 Harold’s Way.

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There are still small rooms, wooden floors and tables were the day’s events can be readily discussed but now the sunlight streams through the windows and those dark days can only be imagined.

Walk 1066 Harold’s Way to one of London’s great pubs and share in its history.

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

http://www.mayflowerpub.co.uk/

https://whatpub.com/pubs/SEL/10711/mayflower-rotherhithe

Walk Ten Miles, One Day A Month

Books

Walking 100 miles miles may appear a little daunting but breaking it down into easy bites makes it all the more achievable.

Put Walk 1, Westminster Abbey to Greenwich, in your diary for January and start your march to Battle.

That first section is along the Thames Path with some great pubs along the way and the train back to London at the finish.

Full walking and history notes are contained in the 1066 Harold’s Way guidebook to help you on your walk – available fro Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and other good bookshops or by mail order from History Walks.

Make 2017 your ‘1066 Harold’s Way’ year.

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Be part of the Legend

Route Map Poster

Imagine 1066, the Battle of Hastings and King Harold’s epic journey to his date with destiny.

Imagine being part of King Harold’s army, did it rain, was it dry? Three days of marching, the nights were drawing in, the noise, the fear and a battle to face – a camp at Rochester, a camp at Bodiam and a final climb to Caldbec Hill.

The 14th October 1066 is one of the most emotive dates in English history and Harold’s march to the Battle of Hastings is the stuff of legends.

You too can follow in King Harold’s footsteps, along his most likely route to the Battle of Hastings, by walking 1066 Harold’s Way, a walk that starts at Westminster Abbey and finishes at Battle Abbey, East Sussex.

You can be part of the legend of King Harold II.

Accessible by public transport, there is nothing to stop you sharing the experience of 1066 Harold’s Way, through London, Kent and East Sussex.

The guidebook for this 100mile long distance walk is readily available from Waterstones, Amazon, Foyles and other bookshops.

1066 Harold’s Way

True Warriors

The Final Adventure of Javier and Gavin

Finally Gavin and I have finished Harold’s Way.

The last day was longer than we expected and we finished in the dark and the pouring rain.

Javier

It was a valiant effort and I know what it is like having walked through hail, snow, rain and Sussex mud to get to Battle although I did not walk the last two stages in one go.

Certificates and passports have been sent.

Javier has to be congratulated in producing a vlog of their final walk and one of their whole adventure from Westminster Abbey to Battle.

Javier Gavin 9 and 10

Javier Gavin1066HW

Thanks for the films.

Advance Warning of Possible Congestion

 

What a weekend it will be, celebrating 950 years since the Battle of Hastings, 14th October 1066.

Battle re-enactments, civic ceremonies and a full programme of events organised by Concorde 1066 and English Heritage and the Normans have been invited too.

I wonder if they will be asked to camp on Telham Hill?

But the main event must be the opportunity to walk the final few miles of 1066 Harold’s Way from Bodiam Castle to Battle Abbey inspired by King Harold’s epic march from York.

In fact it seems that so many of you are ‘doing’ the walk that weekend that the footpaths are likely to be well trod, The Queens Head at Sedlescombe busy and with the Abbey Hotel normally packed with re-enactors, try The Kings Head on Mount Street or The Chequers at Lower Lake for a better pint to celebrate your march to Battle.

Enjoy the Walk

CLOG  Battle Ramblers 

Javier and Gavin  Battle 41 club

Links