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St John's College was founded in 1555 by the Master of the Merchant Taylors' Company in London, Sir Thomas White, using the premises of St Bernard's College, itself founded in 1437 by Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury, for Cistercian monks studying at Oxford University. The Cistercian college was suppressed in 1536. St John's was the first Oxford college to be founded by a merchant. Alumni include Archbishop Laud, Jane Austen's father, A E Housman, Robert Graves, Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin and former Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The buildings date from the 15th century. The Chapel was originally consecrated in 1530. The Library dates from the 16th century and holds over 200 medieval manuscripts, 20,000 books printed before 1850, several Middle Eastern manuscripts dating back to the 14th century, 200 modern manuscripts, and important collections of papers and books owned by figures such as Robert Graves, A E Housman and Spike Milligan.
Parts of the college are open to the public at particular times. Check the college website for details.
Arundel Castle, dating from 1068, has been the seat of the Duke of Norfolk, head of the powerful Howard family, for over 850 years. The Howards have been soldiers, sailors, poets - and plotters. The Duke of Norfolk is considered the premier duke of England and has the hereditary title of Earl Marshal of England, responsible for major state occasions - such as coronations. The castle was besieged twice in the Civil War (once by each side) and was greatly restored in Victorian times and looks like something from a Hollywood movie. It is famous for its artwork, furnishings, armoury and includes attractive gardens. Not to be missed is the medieval Fitzalan Chapel, the burial place of the Dukes of Norfolk.
Beachy Head is a famous chalk headland and landmark, immediately to the west of the town of Eastbourne. There are fine views and walks along the cliffs, approx 500 feet above sea level. There is parking nearby and at Birling Gap further along the coast. Beachy Head has an interesting history and was used as a listening and lookout post during WW2. The cliffs are, however, extremely dangerous and the area has a high death-rate, through a combination of foolish accident and, unfortunately, suicide. Beachy Head lighthouse began operating in 1902.
The post code below is for the nearby pub.
Pevensey Castle is steeped in history. It began life as a Roman fortress, one of several guarding 'the Saxon Shore' against pirates in the 3rd century AD, and its outer walls are still there. In 1066, William the Conqueror landed nearby - not in Normans Bay as many think, because the coastline was wholly different then. William constructed a pre-fabricated fort to secure his beachhead - almost certainly within the old Roman walls - before setting off to defeat the English at the Battle of Hastings. The Normans built a more permanent castle at Pevensey, added to and refurbished over the years, and undergoing four sieges, before finally declining in the 16th century. Joan of Navarre was imprisoned here for witchcraft by her step-son, Henry V. However, Pevensey sprang into use once more, in 1940, when pillboxes and other defences were cunningly constructed within the old ruins, to help defend Britain against the expected German invasion.
There's a great cafe just outside the castle and a nice looking pub too!
The Seven Sisters are famous chalk cliffs on England's south coast. Within Seven Sisters' Country Park are a series of trails, taking in local views and wildlife, and a variety of outdoor activities are undertaken too. A favourite walk is from the country park following the small Cuckmere River to the beach, or up onto the cliffs. To get the famous view, you need to visit Seaford Head, accessed through the town of Seaford.
Chanctonbury Ring is an Iron Age hillfort, constructed c6-400BC, though actually in use since Neolithic times. It was probably not a fort, nor ever occupied, but more likely a religious site or, possibly, animal enclosure. 2 Romano-British temples have been found on the hill (they are not visible). In 1760, Charles Goring of nearby Wiston House planted a ring of beech trees around the hill; these, or their descendents, are still there. The hill was used by the army during WW2. There are several other prehistoric sites nearby. Chanctonbury also has a number of legends associated with it - most notably variations of the story that the Devil appears if running seven times anti-clockwise (or backwards) round the hill, alleged links with witchcraft (young ladies sleeping out on the hill are more likely to conceive), UFOs as well as suggestions that the hill is haunted and claims that spending the night on it is an unpleasant experience. Nonetheless, there are great views from the top.
There isn't much left of Bramber Castle - a few sections of curtain wall, the remains of a tower, an overgrown motte, ditch, bits of masonry and an enormous section of gatehouse wall. It was built by the Norman, William de Braose, in 1073 to help control the locality and stayed in the family's hands for about 200 years. Bramber was still in use in the 15th century, but fell into disrepair and was in ruins by the time of the Civil War. Next door is St Nicholas' Church - which was originally the castle's chapel and is a little gem. The location is just on the edge of Bramber village.
The tiny church of St Nicholas at Bramber was originally the chapel of Bramber Castle, built by William de Braose in 1073 and eventually becoming Bramber's parish church. It is reputedly the oldest Norman church in the county. It was originally cruciform, but the transepts have long gone. There is a lovely 11th century chancel arch with decorated capitals and several other medieval features, including a 13th century font.
Anne of Cleves' House formed part of Anne’s annulment settlement from Henry VIII in 1540. Anne of Cleves was Henry's 4th wife - divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived. The house is a fine example of a late medieval timber-framed Sussex building, dating from the late 15th century with additions and improvements made over the next 200 years. Some of the rooms have been furnished in contemporary Tudor style. The house also contains the Museum of Lewes History and the Wealden Iron Gallery. There is a small garden, also inspired by the Tudor period, and a cafe. The house and museum is managed by the Sussex Archaeological Society.
The Battle of Lewes took place on 14 May 1264, the first major battle of the Second Barons' War. The prelude to this was widespread dissatisfaction with the manner of King Henry III's reign, particularly over issues such as taxation and inheritance. Matters came to a head and a rebel baronial faction led by Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester, took up arms against the king. De Montfort's force of about 5,000 approached Lewes, a royal stronghold with about 10,000 troops, from the downland to the north. The King's son, Prince Edward (later Edward I), rode out from Lewes Castle with heavy cavalry, engaged de Montfort's inexperienced left flank and chased it from the field. De Montfort, meanwhile, charged downhill at Henry's main army in the vicinity of Landport Bottom and won a decisive victory. Most of the fighting took place there, around the Black Horse pub on Western road, now a residential area and on the High Street. The king took refuge in Lewes Priory and was forced to surrender to de Monfort. Edward too was held captive - though later escaped. There is a link to a battlefield walk below. The address is for the Black Horse pub; walk from there up Spital Road, past the prison, and up onto the downs.