Skull and Crossbones

Walking the High Weald

SMUGGLER’S GRAVE: Burwash lay on a known smugglers route from Pevensey Bay to Hawkhurst and Groombridge and Burwash was a haven for smugglers.

If caught for this capital crime, the penalty was hanging with further damnation on being refused burial in Church Consecrated Ground. The smugglers were mostly heroes with the local villagers and a compromise was reached with The Revenue that allowed them to be buried in the graveyard with their headstones carved with the skull and cross bones.

No names were allowed but the smugglers emblems are still plain to see.

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

From History Walks, Talks and Books

More than just footsteps on a Path.

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

FOLLIES

Walking the High Weald:

‘Mad Jack’ Fuller wasn’t mad, just a little colourful but his eccentricities and his legacies are plain for all to see. Without Mad Jack, Sussex and this walk would be poorer for it was he that saved Bodiam Castle from demolition.  

Brightling really is Mad Jack Fuller’s village. he inherited the family mansion and estate in 1777, on his 20th birthday. An M.P. for East Sussex, his reputation for being outspoken and eccentric finally put him at loggerheads with the House and he stood down in 1812. His biography ‘Fuller of Sussex, A Georgian Squire’ by Geoff Hutchinson contains much more detail for those interested in Mad Jack’s life. 

Although a patron of the arts and a public benefactor (he provided the Belle Tout lighthouse at East Dean) he is best known for the many follies that he built around Brightling after leaving politics.

Fuller died a bachelor in 1834 and is commemorated by a tablet on the south wall of the Nave of St Thomas a Becket Church.

Regrettably, one of Mad Jack’s less favourable actions attributed to him, or so the story goes, was to move the pub, The Green Man, ½ a mile away from the village centre to stop the Vicar’s congregation from holding their own service at a rather different altar. It later became known as Jack Fullers but subsequently closed, much to the chagrin of walkers who now have to walk to Robertsbridge to quench their thirst.  

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

From History Walks, Talks and Books

More than just footsteps on a Path.

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

Tranquil

TRANQUIL: The mill pond is still in the sunshine, black and languid except for a black duck, paddling ferociously to keep up on the off chance that there is some bread going – I’ll keep my sandwiches for later thank you.

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

From History Walks, Talks and Books

More than just footsteps on a Path.

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

Danger

Walking the High Weald

Danger:

Nothing less than a flying dragon is said to haunt the pond of Angley Wood but, on certain – or uncertain – nights of the year, it wings its flight over the park and pays a visit to the big lake yonder. But he always returns to the Mill Pond and it is said to pay special attention of a vicious kind to young men and women who have jilted their lovers.

A legend with a moral is this.

But a winged dragon! A dragon of the ordinary kind is bad enough. But a flying dragon! Augh!

‘A Saunter though Kent with Pen and Pencil’:

Sir Charles Igglesden, published in 1906.

Mr Sackett Tomlin, was a tobacco importer who bought Angley Park in 1869 and demolished the mansion to build a new one ‘of no special architectural merit’ (Igglesden). On his death in 1876, the property passed to his son, Edward Locke Tomlin, who lived there until 1929 when the estate was broken up and the dragon finally flew away – or did he?

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

From History Walks, Talks and Books

More than just footsteps on a Path.

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

Walking the High Weald

Peace

A walk away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world with four great National Trust properties as its cornerstones, country pubs hidden away and legends galore to feed your imagination.

With no coarse gorse to scratch your legs or towering mountains to sap your strength, Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House offers step by step instructions for both the beginner and the more experienced walker to enjoy walking the High Weald.  

From History Walks, Talks and Books

More than just footsteps on a Path.

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

Virtual Walks – Walking the High Weald 2: Sissinghurst Castle to Scotney Castle

Dreams of Summer Walks

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Sissinghurst Castle is the second of our castles but this ‘castle’ is attributed to whim and whimsey as it never saw a battle or defend anything more than its ‘far from pleasant situation, low in a wet clayey soil, without prospect, and enveloped with large tracts of surrounding woodland.’ (Edward Hasted 1798). Today it is one of the most visited gardens in England and the National Trust tearooms provide a welcome relief after Hemsted Wood.

Cranbrook, at the centre of the woollen trade, heralds the start of climbs up to ridges, descents to the valleys and the streams and rivers that once provided the power for the Wealden iron furnaces. Avoiding the vengeful dragon that lurks in Angley Wood, the path leads up to Goudhurst with its stories of the infamous Hawkhurst smuggling gang.

History Walks: Virtual Walks from Your Doorstep

Virtual Walks are taken from

Walking the High Weald – Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House.

History Walks Talks and Books

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Enjoy the walk but please do not travel any distances to do the walk.
Due to the Coronavirus situation, follow the Government guidelines of social distancing and going out once a day for a local walk for physical and mental health benefits only.

Next Talk – Walking the High Weald

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

12th March 2020

Look Inside

3 Castles Colemans Hatch WIThis 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

20th February 2020

Look Inside

2020 3 Castles Probus Hastings

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

A Little Something for 2020

This 50 mile circular walk in the High Weald AONB links

Four great National Trust properties:

Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s.

LOOK INSIDE

Secret Santa 3Cs

SHOP

and get 20% with this code during January 2020

202020

“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.

History Walks Talks and Books

more than just footsteps on a path

Temptation: The Woodcock Flies Again

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Temptation, that desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise. It can also suggest that it can be a thing that attracts or tempts someone suggesting enticement, seduction, a draw or a pull or equally an invitation.

And that to me sums up The Woodcock, a walk leaders’ nightmare, the pub that no one wants to leave.

But it closed in 2018 and appeared doomed, never to fly again but like a phoenix it has arisen again and it re-opened its doors in April 2019.

On 1066 Harold’s Way, there are still 6 miles to walk to Bodiam Castle, uphill and down dale and across the Kent Ditch. King Harold and his men walked this stretch but The Woodcock wasn’t open then. And when planning Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House, I made sure that the route passed The Woodcock after all, I get to choose the route.

The good and righteous of Iden Green realised what a draw the pub would be and banished it a mile away from the village, down a narrow country lane that led to Dingleden but the villagers I spoke to know the back way – just 5 minutes down this path and on the route of 1066 Harold’s Way, and I followed their admission.

The 2019 version of The Woodcock has been refreshed rather than altered beyond recognition. A couple of walls have disappeared, some of the nooks and crannies have gone, the new bar is sleek and bright, the fire is lit and the floors levelled ready for the success that eluded the Woodcock of old.

Once it felt like an old and comfortable pair of slippers where the slightly dark atmosphere and the warmth of the fire and the conviviality of old men at the bar promised times past until Greene King’s accountants became the owners.

Mind your heads, the beams are low there’s a fire lit and on warm days, there is a garden to enjoy. It is a free house again and beers are Cellar Head Amber, Long Man Best, Harveys Best, all on handpump and well kept.

There is still an old world feel but it is without ornamentation and just a little of that old warmth that catered for the mind, body and spirit has gone – perhaps a wider market beckons for The Woodcock although a television was being screwed to the wall as I left!

But, lunchtime on an Autumn day, sitting around the fire, talking amongst friends, it will still prove hard to leave and continue the walk to Bodiam Castle.

Beer Notes will be published in 2019 as a ‘must have’ accompaniment for the discerning walker on ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ – the long distance walk from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey and Hastings Castle inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings 1066. The Woodcock  will be No 49 in Beer Notes

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

CAMRA WhatPub

The Woodcock