The Winchelsea Lace School

The Lace School was established at the very end of the nineteenth century by Mrs Skinner of ‘Periteau’

The Winchelsea Lace School

In 1898 a lace making school was set up in premises on the corner of the High Street and Castle Street in what later became the Little Shop. It is probable that the Huguenots, when they came to this country, from France to escape religious persecution during the 16th century brought the art of lace making with them.


About six or eight girls attended Lace Classes where they learned to make beautiful fine lace with little wooden bobbins on big round cushions on their laps.


This lace industry had been well established and successful in Winchelsea many years earlier and the revival proved popular among the local girls who attended to learn the skills of lace-making with little wooden bobbins on a big round cushion on their laps. Further examples of Winchelsea lace are on show in the Court Hall Museum.

Lace School 4

The Towns of Winchelsea and Monségur

A plan of Monségur showing how similar its shape is to that of New Winchelsea

New Winchelsea & Monségur

Because of its topography the bastide which compares best with New Winchelsea is Monségur in the Gironde. Monségur is smaller but its configuration is remarkably similar.

In his book on ‘England in the 13th Century’ Maurice Powicke describes the bastides as ‘settlements of houses laid out in plots of fixed length and breadth, arranged in streets, and surrounded by ditch and earthen walls’

  • The bastide of Monségur was founded 750 years ago in 1265. Twenty three years later in 1288 the town of Winchelsea was founded by Edward I following the disaster that swept away the old town of Winchelsea.
  • New Winchelsea was built on the hill of Iham which followed the example of ‘bastides’ which were built as a unit rather than developing over time and were laid out on a regular grid pattern.
  • The king interested himself in the building to encourage and protect the wine trade with Gascony.
  • There are similarities not only in the layout but that new Winchelsea was similarly defended and had similar facilities and responsibilities. The name Monségur means ‘hill where you are safe’

1292 Reconstruction of the Rent Rolls into The Medieval Map

The original Rent Roll has survived in the Public Record Office in London

A marvellous reconstruction in map form

This was undertaken by the Winchelsea Historian W MacLean Homan who wrote many authoritative texts on the medieval history of the town of Winchelsea. From the original rent rolls he created a marvellous reconstruction in map form of New Winchelsea in precise detail as laid out by Edward I.

The reconstruction lists each the designated tenant, the size of his plot and the rent which he would have been paid to the King’s bailiff.

Other works also detail in map form the location of the town’s medieval wine cellars.
The maps and associated papers of WM Homan are archived at ESRO (a copy of the map exists in Winchelsea Museum).

  1. Working papers (including plans) relating to the layout of Winchelsea in 1292; with a copy of the Rental AMS2402 [n.d.]
  2. Rental of Winchelsea in 1292 AMS2491, 2492 [n.d.]

extract of the rent roll of 1292

(In 1992 the records of Winchelsea Corporation state that copies were available for £72.40 – the Corporation did not purchase a copy).

The list of names is translated in WD Cooper’s ‘Winchelsea’ published in 1850 pp.44-53.

A Gun from the Warship Anne

The Winchelsea 6’ 5” Finbanker Iron Saker probably from the warship Anne lost in 1690

A Gun from the Warship Anne

In April 2009 a gun was seen at the Winchelsea Museum by Jacqui Stanford, Chair of the Shipwreck Museum, Hastings and English Heritage appointed Licensee of the Anne.

The Shipwreck Museum has a particular interest as it is the owner of the Anne and, as the gun was clearly very old and reportedly found locally, she involved historians interested in the ship.

In March 2010 it was examined by the respected independent gun expert, Charles Trollope. He identified the gun as an iron Saker of 77 inches long with the remains of an “F” cast on the end of the right trunnion identifying it as being cast at the Finspong foundry in Sweden in the middle of the seventeenth century. He added that the guns were given the generic name “Finbankers” and were of high quality.

Anne - the Warship

Although the gun is not exactly the length given in the Anne’s 1690 gun list it is certainly near enough to qualify as one of her twelve seven foot long Sakers.

Ten of these were mounted on the quarterdeck and the remaining two on the forecastle.