Monday 12 March 2012

Visit to Lewes

I recently visited a friend who is now living in her childhood home in Lewes

Lewes is a lovely town in East Sussex nestled into the South Downs (actually some chalky hills) in the South of England.  It used to be a port when the river Ouse was still navigable and lost some of it's importance when the river finally silted up.  It is the county town of East Sussex but used to be county town for all of Sussex.

It has early beginnings and among it's earliest was when the town was granted to William de Warenne after the Norman Invasion by William the Conqueror.  Warrene built his castle there which still stands overlooking the town.

 Here are some lovely old buildings up by the castle, 

 including Lewes Grammar school

There was also a battle here in 1264 and in the 1500s 17 protestants were burnt at the stake in Lewes for their faith - and to this day the 5th of November Bonfire Night celebrations commemorate this as well as the Gunpowder Plot.  It is a huge event in the Lewes calendar and many people come to see the spectacle.

Thomas Paine is remembered in Lewes where he lived and worked for a few years as a tax collector before meeting Benjamin Franklin, emmigrating to the American colonies , and becoming one of the Founding Fathers of the US.  He later went to France and became involved in the French Revolution and wrote the Rights of Man, his defence of the French Revolution!    Maybe it was just as well he didn't stay long in Lewes - if he had he may well have been executed!

Don't get the wrong idea about Lewes now!  It does not seem the hotbed of revolutionary ideas it once was.  I like going there because it is such a pretty and interesting historical town, has shops that are individual, has nice places to eat and of course boasts a great patchwork shop!  And now my friend lives there too!

I love the architecture of this town with its knapped flint buildings, sourced locally from the chalky downs, it's timber framed buildings and it's cobbled streets - you know this town is on the downs because everywhere you go is either down or if you are returning steeply back up!  You can get quite a work out here and need a stout pair of shoes!

But after walking up and down they do have a few great places to eat cake!  There is a lovely cafe in the Needlemakers - a crafty/arty little shopping mall - situated in an old candle factory! More info here!

And once in the Needlemakers it is but a few steps to the Patchwork Dog and Basket and last time I was there I met Freddie - a Scottie/Jack Russell cross - looking like a Yorkshire Terrier and the cutest little canine friend you could wish for - sorry no pic as my hands were full of fabric!

Further down the town is the local brewery Harvey's - when there I could smell the hops all over town!  And across the road is the locally famous Bill's where everyone meets for lunch, cakes and to buy fruit and veg!

Rounding up our visit with more architectural details...

This last gate is just beside the Meeting House for the Society of Friends or Quakers...

I think it has been around for some time!

Hope you liked the tour and Mary in particular liked my little neighbourhood corner of England!  Still trying to lure her over here!


  1. Lewis looks charming. The Needlemakers looks like a cool place to visit. Thanks for the tour as it was really enjoyable. Di xo

  2. thanks for taking us with you xx

  3. Love all the pictures!!
    I would so love to go through a castle.
    One day perhaps....

  4. Looks like a wonderful day out and the sort of place I love wandering round. And you got perfect weather for it as well.

  5. Oh my goodness! I do think in a former life I lived in a town just like this in the UK...or maybe it was a sweet little cottage....hmmm. Anyway I am sure this is the place I was meant to be :) We have a Lewes in the US!!! It is a beach town in Delaware and I have been there several times! I love that Lewes too....very old and historic....with a fabulous beach. Yay for Thomas Paine and Ben Franklin!!!! Thank you so much for the tour Nicky. The only thing better would have been trotting up and down the street with you :)

  6. Thank you for the guided tour SS. It looks a lovely place and I have heard do much about it as my friend's daughter lives in Lewes. She sells framed photo's in one of the cafe's there. Patchwork shop too, what could be better? We could do our own guide to the UK via the patchwork shops. I can be the reporter for the South West, you have the South Coast covered. Any takers for the North?

  7. Ooh, a tour and a history lesson to boot! Looks like a nice place to visit, although my inner child has never forgiven Sussex for the stone beaches inflicted upon it at Brighton at the age of 6... imagine telling your child you're going to the seaside and getting that!!!

  8. I was married in Lewes! In Anne of Cleves house, it was a beautiful, perfect day. Thank you for reminding me of it :-)

  9. Thanks for the tour - it looks lovely!!

  10. Loved your tour! This is exactly what I picture when I think of England. Probably not all like that, huh??!!

  11. Love all the pictures! Just proves there are some nice parts of England =D

  12. Isn't it funny how local places look so different when you see them through some-else's eyes!

  13. thankyou for the tour! Such a pretty town and all that history.(and a patchwork shop to boot!)

  14. I've been to Lewis years ago to visit family, but never went into the town, wish I had, it's o pretty!

  15. I used to play Hockey in Lewes when I was on teaching practice in those neck of the woods. I'm not sure I ever made it to the town tho. Thanks for pointing out all that I missed ;-)

  16. Thanks for sharing all of the great photos with us! What a nice combination-good food and a quilt shop :-)

  17. thanks for the great tour of Lewes :) love the statue and the gorgeous buildings and that gate is just fabulous !

  18. I love wandering through the streets of little towns and taking photos. Some great snaps there Nicky! Loved the tour!

  19. Hello there
    I just went to Lewes today and posted a very similar picture to your first one on my blog!!! then the lovely Di tipped me off about this post which I hadn't seen before. Your pics are fab and I really enjoyed reading a bit more about the town.
    Kind regards


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