A timeline of the history of Winchelsea
1017-30 Canute grants the manor
of Rameslie, including Old Winchelsea and Rye, to the abbey
of Fecamp in Normandy.
1086 The Domesday Book mentions a Novus Burgus
in the manor of Rameslie (Old Winchelsea?)
1190 Winchelsea and Rye
join the Cinque Port Confederation as Ancient Towns.
1191 Winchelsea receives a charter confirming
the liberties granted by Henry II.
1204 Old Winchelsea recorded
in the Pipe Roll as a port second only to London and Southampton
in the South East.
1233 The start of half a century of exceptional
storms in the Channel.
1247 Henry III recovers Old Winchelsea and
Rye from the abbey of Fecamp.
1250 A great storm causes serious damage
to Old Winchelsea and breaches the shingle bank on which is
1264 Winchelsea is represented in parliament.
1266 Prince Edward storms Winchelsea in pursuit
of Simon de Montford.
1271 "The quay on the south side of
the church of St Thomas carried away by the floods and tempests
of the sea, and a great part of the said church fallen."
1278 Royal Charter confirming the customary
rights and obligations of the Cinque Port Confederation.
1280 Old Winchelsea is for the most part
1280 Edward I issues instructions to Ralph
of Sandwich for the transfer of Winchelsea to a new site on
the hill of Iham.
1283 Edward I instructs his commissioners
to lay out the new town
1287 A great storm finally overwhelms Old
1288 The Bishop of Ely, representing the
king, grants full title to New Winchelsea to its residents.
1291 Robert de Winchelsea (the greatest churchman
of his age) is made Archibishop of Canterbury.
1294 Gervase Alard elected mayor of New Winchelsea
becoming the first recorded mayor.
1297 Edward I escapes death while inspecting
work on the defences of New Winchelsea when his horse bolts
and carries him down the side of the hill.
1297 At Winchelsea, en route to France, the
King is confronted by his Barons with a charter reaffirming
the Magna Carta.
1306 Gervase Alard is appointed
Admiral of the Western Fleet.
1307 Edward II is crowned by Robert of Winchelsea.
1321 30 Winchelsea ships attack Southampton
and burn 15 of its ships.
1326 The French attack Winchelsea and destroy
a quarter of its houses.
1330 Defences of New Winchelsea finished
with the completion of the New Gate.
1337 Hundred Years War.
1349 The Black Death reaches Winchelsea.
1350 At the Battle of Winchelsea, Edward
III and the Black Prince defeat a Castillian fleet in Rye
1359 The French sack Winchelsea. Massacre
at St Giles Church.
1360 The French sack Winchelsea again.
1366 Winchelsea starts to send two MP s to
1377 The Abbott of Battle, Hamo of Offington,
defends Winchelsea against French attack, but Rye is burnt.
1380 The French and Castilians sack Winchelsea.
The walls are damaged and the Pipewell Gate destroyed.
1400 The Pipewell Gate is
rebuilt by the Mayor, John Helde.
1413 St Giles Chuch is struck by lightning
and burnt down.
1414 Work starts on a new town wall and ditch.
1415 Work stops on the new defences following
peace with France.
1449 Last attack by the French on Winchelsea
1512-14 Sir Edward Guldeford
builds a tower and bridge for the defence of the Camber.
1538 Dissolution of the Grey Friars and Black
Friars monasteries, and other religious houses in Winchelsea.
1539-43 Henry VIII builds Camber Castle on
the site of Sir Edward Guldeford s tower.
1540 St Giles Church is decommissioned.
1573 Queen Elizabeth I visits Winchelsea
and calls it Little London .
1623 Mayor of Winchelsea Paul
Wymond imprisoned for electoral misconduct.
1637 Camber Castle is decommissioned as the
sea has receded.
1652 John Evelyn describes Winchelsea as
a "few despicable hovells and cottages".
1700 Mayor of Winchelsea
Edward Marten imprisoned for electoral misconduct.
1761 Arnold Nesbitt establishes a cambric
factory in Winchelsa.
1766 The start of a series of legal disputes
over the election of Freemen called the Winchelsea Causes.
1787 A new harbour (Smeatons Harbour) opens
and closes at Winchelsea Beach.
1790 Under an ash tree in German Street,
John Wesley preaches his last outdoor sermon.
1794 Winchelsea is garrisioned at the outbreak
of war with France.
1796 Winchelsea Cricket Club is founded by
officers of the Cinque Port Volunteers.
1804-09 Royal Military Canal
1805 Construction begins of Martello Towers.
1832 Winchelsea loses its two parliamentary
seats under the Reform Act.
1850 William Durrant Cooper publishes his
seminal work on Winchelsea.
1851 Mr Dawes builds the Town Well.
1854 John Everett Millais paints The Random
Shot and The Blind Girl in Winchelsea.
1886 Winchelsea s Corporation loses its civil
and juducial authority under an Act of 1883
and Winchelsea is reluctantly incorporated into Icklesham
1896 Ellen Terry buys a house in Winchelsea.
1901 Ford Maddox Ford moves
1928 The loss of the lifeboat Mary Stamford
and 17 crew.
1940 Winchelsea is garrisoned.
1942-43 Winchelsea is bombed twice and strafed
once by German planes.
1966 After articles in the international
press that he is employed to look out for the French, Look
Out keeper Fred Curd is dismissed by the Corporation, who
are not amused.
1970 Winchelsea features in the national
press as the Clochemerle of England over a dispute on where
to site public toilets.
1987 St Leonards windmill is destroyed by
the Great Storm.