Thursday August 14, 2014
After delicious breakfast, we headed to Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s home. Churchill was the Prime Minister of England two times, most notably during WWII. Churchill saved England from the Nazi’s. Churchill and his wife, Clementine had five children. Unfortunately, one of them, Marigold, died before age of 3. We saw many of his paintings, and marveled at his huge house and grounds. He had a heated swimming pool that took two days to heat up to the bath temperature that Churchill liked!
Next we drove to Hastings to see where the Battle of Hastings took place in 1066. I got to stand where King Harold supposedly was shot in the eye and died. This is the battle that the French King, William the Conquer, fought and beat Harold’s army. This battle changed the course of history. The French conquerers brought with them the class system, new laws, system of government, and a new language. After William won, he built an Abbey on the spot where the battle was. The alter was the spot where Harold died. Over the years, a gorgeous monastery and Abbey thrived at the former battlefield. However it all ended when the place was torn down after King Henry VIII formed the Church of England, when he wanted to marry Anne Bolyne.
There was a lot to do for kids at the Battle of Hastings. My brothers and I got to try archery, and also sword fighting! There was also a great self-guided audio tour of the grounds. Another odd highlight was an odd man with a huge mohawk hairdo that was at least 10” tall, died rainbow colors. He was dressed very preppy so I think he couldn’t decide what he wanted to be.
It was still fairly early in the day, so then we drove to a the town of Rye. Rye is known for its cobbled stone streets that in my opinion are not hard to walk on. A huge storm in 1287 diverted the river so that it met the sea at Rye, so that the land filled in. For more than 300 years, it was a bustling port on the English Channel. Then in the 1500s, the harbor began to fill up with silt, and now the town is 2 miles inland! Our guidebook told us that some of the old streets in Rye have looked the same since the 1400s. We also saw a beautiful clock on the top of a building that is the oldest working clock in England.