A Little Something for 2020

3Cs Scotney

Explore the history and the industrial past of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on a walk between the four great National Trust properties; Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s.

Re-walked, revised and updated for 2019, the guidebook takes you on a journey through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty across Kent and East Sussex

“It’s a highly original work and the well-written guidebook is full of interesting historical information including smugglers’ tales, rebellions, industry and murders.” Walk, the magazine of The Ramblers, March 2016.

From History Walks, Talks and Books – More than just footsteps on a Path.

For more information visit: www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Next Talk– Walking the High Weald

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

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Look Inside http://online.pubhtml5.com/uslz/gnfe/

This talk is an engaging account of a walk between four National Trust properties; Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s, that explores the history and the industrial past of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in this part of Kent and East Sussex.

And such a varied landscape brings together tales to tell of Mad Jack Fuller and Bloody Baker, Admiral ‘Foulweather Jack’ Norris, and Captain Swing. There are tales of smugglers and Mechanical riots, Napoleon’s horse, aliens in Robertsbridge and, of course, that ‘vengeful dragon’ in Angley Wood.  Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House will take you on a picturesque and enjoyable tour of the High Weald – without getting mud on your boots.

From History Walks, Talks and Books – More than just footsteps on a Path.

For more information visit: www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Next Talk– Walking the High Weald

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

2019 3 Cs Polegate

Look Inside http://online.pubhtml5.com/uslz/gnfe/

This talk is an engaging account of a walk between four National Trust properties; Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s, that explores the history and the industrial past of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in this part of Kent and East Sussex.

And such a varied landscape brings together tales to tell of Mad Jack Fuller and Bloody Baker, Admiral ‘Foulweather Jack’ Norris, and Captain Swing. There are tales of smugglers and Mechanical riots, Napoleon’s horse, aliens in Robertsbridge and, of course, that ‘vengeful dragon’ in Angley Wood.  Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House will take you on a picturesque and enjoyable tour of the High Weald – without getting mud on your boots.

From History Walks, Talks and Books – More than just footsteps on a Path.

For more information visit: www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Talking the Walk

3 Castles Cranbrook U3A

This talk is an engaging account of a walk between four National Trust properties; Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s, that explores the history and the industrial past of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in this part of Kent and East Sussex.

Three Castles is an opportunity to take the time to explore the castles and houses and towns and villages along the route. It follows man’s ingenuity and progress and a changing industry from agriculture to iron, to sheep, to the woollen trade, smuggling, hopfields and back to agriculture.

There is a soul to the High Weald; one that reflects the passions and industry of man and also the tensions of war and rebellion. It is now a very pastoral picture with only occasional reminders of the noise, smoke and fire of the iron industry. The ironmasters and the rich woollen trade are survived by their architecture at Sissinghurst, Cranbrook and Burwash and Brightling. The derelict hoppickers cottages, next to the River Teise in Lamberhurst, provide a startling contrast to the rich and landed.

And such a varied landscape brings together tales to tell of Mad Jack Fuller and Bloody Baker, Admiral ‘Foulweather Jack’ Norris, and Captain Swing. There are tales of smugglers and Mechanical riots, Napoleon’s horse, aliens in Robertsbridge and, of course, that ‘vengeful dragon’ in Angley Wood.

For information on this and other talks visit:        www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Drinking History

Walking 1066 Harold’s Way

 

The George Southwark

 

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A cold evening and the courtyard outside the galleried George is beginning to fill up with Friday drinkers let loose from the office. Inside it is busy and soon to get busier.

Once, there were similar medieval inns in the alleyways that lined the road from London Bridge and a haven for travellers, thieves and gambling.

First recorded around 1543, this ‘new’ building dates from 1667 after being destroyed by fire and rebuilt exactly to the same plan as before allowing 21st century drinkers to experience that touch of history as Dickens did before.

The first room is the best of all the small rooms and bars that lie end on end stretching long and thin from the main road.

Set underneath the galleried first floor is a room that was most likely two rooms at one time, each with its own fire place. Black walls, black beams, lacquered with years of paint, black fireplaces, window seats, inglenooks and a wood burner that provides that hint of wood smoke for that true medieval experience.

The Parliament Clock remains from 1797 and there are still one or two dark wood tables and benches. In 1976, there were wooden floor boards, original and left bare, but these have disappeared and the room looks higher than I remember 40 years ago.

This is the bar in which to sit and drink that timeless pint before venturing on the Greenwich although after a visit The George, the walk may end early with a trip to Borough Market to round off the day. Greenwich can wait for another time.

Beers are Greene King with a special George Inn Ale on offer at 4% as well as GK IPA, GK Abbot Reserve 6.5%, Sambrook’s House Porter, Rocking Rudolph 4,2%.

IMG_20171117_172307547There were a few craft beers but my experiences of over-chilled pints and sterile taste are not something that I enjoy.

In the other bars, there are beams and pillars, stools and ledges and further along rooms with wood panelling, tables and chairs that has more a sense of Dickens than 1667.

Sit outside and in the early evening, the lights of The Shard reflect some future City of Dreams.

It is a tourist pub but one that is not a pastiche and one that should be visited at least once but is experienced at its best in the Parliament Bar.

77 Borough High Street, SE1 1NH Tel: 020 7407 2056

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The Vengeful Fire Breathing Dragon of Angley Wood.

Stories of the High Weald

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Thank you to the Friends of Dover Museum who gave me a warm welcome and who were happy to listen to my illustrated talk on Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House on Wednesday 8th June 2016 in the wonderful Silver Screen Cinema attached to the Museum.

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House is a 50 mile journey around the history and industry of the High Weald of Outstanding Natural Beauty with the four great National Trust properties of Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s being the cornerstones of the walk.

It is a story of agriculture to iron and back to agriculture and is inspired by stories of Castles, follies, smuggling, Captain Swing, the mechanical riots and that ‘vengeful fire breathing dragon’ that lives in Angley Wood.

Watch Out, Watch Out, There’s a Dragon About

 

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

The High Weald is no bleak moor guarded by grey granite hillsides that rise from the dark peat, a landscape with no trees to soften the horizon. It is a much softer countryside of rolling hills, rivers, woods and hedgerows; of ridges and valleys and a patchwork of smaller fields. Farms and oasthouses scatter the view from almost every vantage point and all are connected by ancient roads, Roman roads and sunken lanes.

This walk explores the industrial history of this Southern Weald and connects four of the most outstanding National Trust properties in the South-East. The National Trust owns and acts as guardians for Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s, which are the cornerstones of Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House.

a Bodiam Castle  b Sissinghurst Castle 

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From that most romantic Castle in all of England, rising from its moat, Three Castles sets out to admire the splendid but chequered history of Sissinghurst Castle, the fairy tale moated 14th century Scotney Castle with its tales of intrigue to the homely, sturdy Bateman’s built for the prosperous iron-master John Brittan but which later became the home of Rudyard Kipling.

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House is an opportunity to take the time to explore the castles and houses and towns and villages along the route. It follows man’s ingenuity and progress and the changing industry from agriculture to iron, to sheep, to the woollen trade, smuggling, hopfields and back to agriculture. There are smugglers’ tales, mechanical riots, furnace ponds and old iron workings, a vengeful dragon, hop-pickers and Napoleon’s horse. Leisurely bus journeys (if you can bear to leave the car at home) and the occasional pint in some hideaway pub – ‘so much of England is just around the corner’ said JB Priestley.

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House is a journey around the Weald with convenient access points at Tunbridge Wells and Hastings. The stations of South Eastern Trains cross the route in places and the ‘country bus’ serves as a reminder that almost all the walk is accessible albeit, at the behest of the ‘country bus’ timetable.

Three Castles         Enjoy Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

 

        Talks:   The Speaker’s List

Bodiam Castle

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Following the issue of the November 2014 issue of ‘1066 and Other Walks’( November Newsletter ),  I received this reply from George Bailey, General Manager, Bodiam Castle, National Trust:

“Thanks for the update. I wanted to make you aware of a change which has happened over the summer to our ticket entry process.

The ticket office is now located on the edge of the car park and visitors are requested to pay for admission to the castle and grounds.

This should not make a difference to your book if they are being routed along the public footpath network; staff are advised that the public has an absolute right to walk on the rights of way.

I thought you should be advised before you get any response from anyone testing the route or buying the book.”

Thank you George. Both 1066 Harold’s Way and Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House follow the Public Rights of Way and I hope that walkers will still be able to use the Bodiam Castle Cafe for much needed refreshments.

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