Beyond the ruin of St John’s Hospital and down Wickham Rock Lane is the New Gate, built in the 13th century.
Beside it is the town ditch which, cutting off the peninsula from the mainland and encircling the whole eastern side as a water channel, was an effective part of Winchelsea’s defences.
It was through this gate that the French are said to have gained entry in 1380, perhaps by treachery. This was probably the most serious of all their incursions into Winchelsea. Under the Admiral of France, John de Vienne, they not only sacked this town but also are said also to have burnt Hastings. Appledore, Rye and Portsmouth. The House of Commons petitioned the King for some remedy “because if those towns (Rye and Winchelsea) were taken, which God forbid. the whole country would be destroyed”