Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Medieval Cellars of Winchelsea

On Sunday we went on an excellent tour of subterranean Winchelsea. The guide was a member of the Winchelsea Archaeological Society and did a really good job of explaining the history, geology and archaeology of the town and Cinque Port (or, more accurately, Ancient Town). We visited three medieval cellars, which were much larger than I had been expecting - when I saw the size of the group I thought we would have split into two groups but there was plenty of room underground. One of the houses above was for sale, if anyone is interested in acquiring a property with a cellar large enough to host some great parties. The guide thought that they were originally used as wine shops rather than purely for storage and advanced some convincing evidence to support this thesis. At the time of their construction the wine would have come from Gascony in the two great voyages from Bordeaux to English ports that took place each year; apparently because of its low alcohol content medieval wine had to be drunk within a year and couldn't be 'put down'. There are a number of these tours each year and more information can be found here. All photos by me.

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