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St Thomas

Winchelsea,

In 1288, after the old town was destroyed by the sea, Winchelsea was built as a new, planned, town. The church was given a large and prestigious plot within a very spacious churchyard. Quite what it looked like when complete we don't know, as the town was devastated in French raids several times in the 14th century, suffered terribly in the plagues of the same century, and then fell into further decay when the harbour silted up. What remains of St Thomas's today is the chancel, rebuilt tower and an intriguing jumble of ruins. The chancel is superb, and contains some of the finest tombs in England, hinting at what the church may have been like when it was complete. The architecture is from about 1300, while the five tombs date from a little later. They are memorials to members of the Alard family, who had founded chantry chapels here. The magnificent effigies lie beneath sumptuous carved canopies.

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St Thomas

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