Archive for the ‘History’ Tag

Church of St Thomas the Martyr, Winchelsea   4 comments

Winchelsea is a small village in East Sussex with a fascinating history. A hint of it’s previous importance can be seen in the Church of St Thomas the Martyr, the only remaining one of three churches that the town once sustained. It was once the size of a small cathedral, however only the chancel remains. The reason for the deconstruction is not known for sure, raids by the French is one possible reason, or the church was downsized to reduce the tax burden when the community was impoverished.

Although the weather looks pleasant in these photos, it was so cold it was making my hands ache. I planned to spend more time here, but it’s hard to be creative when most of my thoughts were on returning to the warmth of the car.  There is so much to photograph in Winchelsea though and I will be back, but on a warmer day.

Hastings Pier, part 3   4 comments

Venturing further under the pier, the noise of the sea and my feet crunching on the pebbles increased as it was reflected back off of the metal work, decking and concrete. The sound of the traffic above was drowned out, and although busy with people on the promenade I felt as if I was in a completely different place. Perhaps that’s one of the best things about taking photographs, is that in the quest to find a different angle or shot you end up in the places few other people go.

Of the photos I took that day I prefer this one the most. What do you think?

Hastings Pier, part 2   5 comments

In it’s heyday the pier played host to some of the great music acts including the Rolling Stones, Jimmy Hendrix and Pink Floyd. It has also featured on some more recent music videos including Ash’s “Tracers” and Kingmaker’s “Queen Jane”.

These pictures show the damage caused by the fire to the top surface, and the intricate ironwork that makes up it’s structure. Although taken at midday, there was sufficient mist to create some nice sunrays through the gaps in the wood work.

Hastings Pier   1 comment

I spent a bit of time photographing the pier last week, so my next few posts will have this as the subject. I have posted a view of the pier previously and described it’s fate, you can view this post here.

Eugenius Birch designed Hastings Pier, one of fourteen he built which include the West Pier, Brighton, Eastbourne and Margate. It took two years and about £1.5 million in todays money to construct the 910 feet long (277 meters) structure. When the pier opened on 5th August 1872 it was raining. The local dignatories at the opening included the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Earl Granville and Thomas Brassey. The pier was described as being ‘the peerless pier’ or ‘the palace on the sea’.

A second pier, the St Leonard Pier, was opened along Hastings seafront at St Leonards (oddly enough) in 1891, opposite the Royal Victoria hotel. It survived a couple of German bombs during the 2nd World War, but was damaged beyond repair during subsequent storms and demolished in 1951.

The Harbour Arm   6 comments

Along with the Pier the Harbour Arm is the other major feature of Hastings beach front. It has featured in some of my posts already and will again. During construction in the 1890’s engineers found that the sea bed where the harbour arm ends changed from stable sandstone and gravel to the unstable mud of an old river bed. Faced with sprialling costs the project was abandoned. Although not completed the arm has helped build the long shingle beach that stretches between it and the pier. To see the difference 120 years makes compare this picture to this one here. That’s what longshore drift does.

Bodiam Castle   6 comments

Bodiam Castle, built in 1395 is another reminder that the landscape in East Sussex used to be much different. It was built to protect from French raids up the River Rother, when the river was navigable up to that point. It is a lovely ruin and has been photographed beautifully by many people, as a Google image search reveals.I didn’t want to take a generic photography of the castle, so I’m pleased that the Google search, at least on search page 1, doesn’t have a similar photograph! Do they work as a composition though? Your opinions would be welcome!


The East Hill, Hastings   Leave a comment

Hastings Old Town lies between two hills. The one in the west is called the ‘West Hill’, and the one in the east is called, well I expect the title of this post gave it away. Although I’ve been on the East Hill many times in my life, I’ve never really thought about it’s history, despite there being the remains of an Iron Age fort sat right on top of it. Whilst researching something interesting to write about the East Hill, I found this 2008 survey by English Heritage which provided me with far more information than I expected. Needless to say nothing world changing has ever occured there, but the hill has been used in various ways across the centuries.

The picture above shows the beacon which is lit every October during Hastings Week by the Hastings Borough Bonfire Society. I stands on a barely noticable mound, which apparently was once the site of a round barrow. According to the survey this place was used for burials in Iron Age times. Occasionally bones are found on the beach below after parts of the hill slip into the sea.

The view above has been photographed for over 100 years. It is interesting to make the comparison between the two photographs and see the changes that time brings.

As the sun rose, the windows of houses began to reflect it which I have tried to capture here. You can just make out the shadow of the East Hill in the lower right part of the picture.

Here is the Iron Age fort. It has probably had many uses in it’s time, but it is now used for barbeques and underage drinking sessions. You can get a better idea of how the fort is laid out from the overhead picture found in the English Heritage survey on page 9.

Armistice Day 11/11/11   Leave a comment

A photo of the St Julien Memorial, Belgium

Of course Armistice Day is not just about conflicts of the past, but those still happening. This website, provides almost real time updates of every casualty suffered by the Coalition forces in Afghanistan. It makes sobering reading, especially when you add the estimated 14,000 to 34,000 civilian deaths to that toll.

A Soldier’s Winter

What is this cold?
Where is this white
Is this real, or just a fleeting moment of life, of my life

I see no longer the greens and reds,
Where have the autumn leaves gone?
This must be the first signs of a new winter?

I see trees, I see sky, I see clouds,
All winter white,
Can I reach upward to touch the falling flake?
I try but never seem to connect,

And as I lay there staring at the sky
is my body cold ?
As I lay I hope I am not forgotten
But here I am alone.
I close my eyes and try to think of home
is this really happening to me?

This isn’t real this is only a dream
I never have felt this way before, cold, weak and exposed,
but strangely at ease
With a tear I draw my parting breath
I’m looking down on my body below

I understand now this is winter….this is my winter

Chris, a soldier serving in Afghanistan

Poem found on

Posted November 11, 2011 by Kieron Pelling in Other, Photography

Tagged with , , , ,

Fairfield Church, Romney Marsh   2 comments

Fairview Church sits in the middle of a field, in the middle of Romney Marsh. In 1595 there used to be a village here named Fayrefelde but it has long gone. According to it’s rumored that the church was originally built in 1200’s after a traveller (or the Archbishop of Canterbury) fell into a dyke and nearly drowned, but was saved after praying to Thomas a Becket.  It was rebuilt using some of the original timbers in 1913.

The morning these photographs were taken was overcast, damp and windy. The original colour photographs were a bit flat and dull as a result so I thought these would look better in black & white.

The church has no boundary or gravestones. Services are no longer held there, but it is still maintained by the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Trust.

The Battle of Hastings, 14th October 1066   Leave a comment

The Battle of Hastings was fought on this day in 1066. This site provides a comprehensive overview of this pivotal point in English history. For those with less time here is the wikipedia page! Finally here is an entertaining game about the battle, that unsuprisingly contains mild 2d blood and violence.

This picture was taken on the slope of Senlac Field looking up towards Battle Abbey, built where King Harold fell.

%d bloggers like this: