Pictures of Fletching
This is an old village, it was mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is almost, but not quite, as old as Ashdown Forest which lies close-by. The village grew out of a Saxon settlement, near the spot of one of the entrances to Sheffield Park, now owned by the National Trust. By the 13th-century the village was noted for the supply of Arrowheads and it is thought that Bows and Arrows from Fletching were used at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
Simon de Montfort assembled his troops here in 1264, when he prepared to fight King Henry III in the Battle of Lewes. On the eve of the battle de Montfort attended mass in the church of St.Andrew and St.Mary the Virgin when his troops received a blessing prior to the commencement of attack. Henry lost, his son, who was to become Edward Ist, was taken prisoner and Simon de Montfort went on to found an assembly of representatives which was to prove the basis for our present democratic rule, the Houses of Parliament.
The beautiful church is an endless source of fascination and houses many treasures including fine monuments and brasses. The church contains a mausoleum of the Sheffield family and it is said that some of the knights who died in the battle of 1264 are buried beneath the nave of the church. Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is also said to be buried in the church. Gibbon was a regular visitor to Sheffield Park, home of his friend John Baker Holroyd MP who was to become Earl of Sheffield. The gardens surrounding the house were initially laid out by Capability Brown, they are a vista of sheer enchantment and well worth a visit.
A saunter around the village reveals delightful old stone houses and cottages fronted by pretty gardens that in springtime are a riot of colourful flowers and plants. Of the houses that front onto the main village street, two have a timbered upper storey and are beleived to be of 19th-century build by Norman Shaw, architect of the old, New Scotland Yard,they are handsome properties with delightful gabled windows.
The countryside beyond the town is pleasant and appealing. The Blue Bell Railway runs nearby and just a short distance away is the Ouse Valley Viaduct. Uckfield is the closest large town, and the vast Sussex Heritage Coast lies a few miles to the south of Fletching. This is a lovely area that is well worth exploring.
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