Wednesday, 7 November 2012

An Interrupted Wedding in 1588

In Dell Quay to the southwest of Chichester is a shingle foreshore and a small harbour where some yachts and other pleasure boats are usually to be seen. This quiet spot was once, like Bosham, a busy port. In the medieval period the river up to Chichester silted up so much that ships could no longer reach the town. They loaded and unloaded their cargoes here instead.

Leave Dell Quay by the only road. At a T-junction turn right along the A286 to pass through Birdham, then continue along the B2179 to pass through West Wittering and then into East Wittering. At a T-junction turn left to join the B2198, then take the first right. Just after this lane turns sharp left, turn right to follow a twisting lane to Sidlesham. After about 2 miles you will need to turn sharp right along a lane signposted to Sidlesham.

Arriving in Sidlesham you should cross over the B2145 to enter a short lane that leads to the little church, scene of a dramatic wedding in 1588. On 4 August the local villagers gathered here to celebrate the wedding of a local farmer's daughter to a sturdy local yeoman. Ever since the spring of 1587 the local men had been practicing military drilling in anticipation of an expected Spanish invasion, and the groom was a sergeant in the local militia. His comrades turned up to the wedding to wish him well. The service had just begun when the ominous sound of distant gunfire was heard. The officer, eager not to interrupt the wedding, ordered the men to stay in the church. Just as the service ended, a horseman came clattering up. It was the lookout who had been stationed on Selsey Bill. Breathlessly he reported that the vast Spanish Armada was in battle with the English fleet off the Bill. The men grabbed their weapons, fell in and marched off for Bognor. The groom went with them. All were grateful when the great Armada stood out to sea, heading southwest. The young groom could return to the arms of his new wife.

from "Teashop and Pub Drives in Sussex" by Rupert Matthews.
Buy your copy HERE

Book Description

15 April 2010
If there are two marvellous things about England that can be found nowhere else on earth, they are pubs and tearooms. Both types have their fans but together they sum up so much about England that is special and unique. And Sussex had some of the finest in the kingdom. With seventeen drives designed to start with a light lunch, then afterwards, a leisurely drive through the beautifiul Sussex countryside. Finally stopping off for afternoon tea. What better way to spend an afternoon!

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