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New Winchelsea Town Wall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Winceleseia; Winchenesel; Winchelsay; Wynchelse; Yhamme; Ihamme; The Strand Gate; North Gate; Pipewell Gate; Land Gate; Ferry Gate; New Gate

In the civil parish of Icklesham.
In the historic county of Sussex.
Modern Authority of East Sussex.
1974 county of East Sussex.
Medieval County of Sussex (Rape of Hastings).

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ904171
Latitude 50.92681° Longitude 0.70762°

New Winchelsea Town Wall has been described as a certain Urban Defence.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

The town wall of Winchesea is said to have been built circa 1415, of which there are uncertain remains, and a conjectural course. (PastScape)

The Strand Gate; One of the medieval gates of the town. Late C13. Four round turrets joined North and South by side walls and East and West by two archways, each having a portcullis groove. Above the arches was a solid portion which had stone vaulting, now fallen away. Parapet over. Loop windows. (Listed Building Report)
The Pipewell or Land Gate; The second of the medieval gates of the town, also at one time called the Ferry Gate. Rebuilt in the early C15 after the French had burned the town in 1380. Stone rubble. Two four-centred archways with the lower portion of a square tower over, though the centre of the roof above the archways has fallen in. (Listed Building Report)
The New Gate; Ruin of the third of the medieval gates of the town which one stretched as far as this point. Late C13. Stone rubble. High four-centred archway with splayed flanking portions containing recesses. (Listed Building Report)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1415 June 5 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Comments

Piece of wall and three gates survive of a walled model town founded 1283. Much of circuit of defence may never have got beyond a ditch and bank. Murage first granted 1295. The licence to crenellate issued by Henry V in c.1415 was to permit a smaller line of defence to be fortified. The 'toothing' in the three extant gates suggest the wall, if constructed, was thin (40-50cm). However as this wall was probably for much of its length a revetment of the hillside such thinness may not have been an issue. The wall could have looked impressive particularly from the seaward side. It is likely, despite the comment in PastScape, to have dated from the late C13.
A fourth gate is now lost. There is reportedly one short section of wall surviving by a path to a spring, where it revets the hillside but the otherwise complete lack of any sign of remains is noticeable. However, in later years Rye did make considerable efforts to save its harbour and much stone and rubble, robbed from Winchelsea, may have been used in these works.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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