Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bonfire Tour, Day Ten: Lewes, East Sussex

To Rik's Discs to buy tickets for events hosted by the Lewes Live Literature Festival at Pelham House this weekend.
Waiting for the train to Eastbourne I hear announcements preparing folk for the big event - Bonfire night, Saturday November 4th. Apparently there will be a queuing system in place and the ticket booth, toilets and parking will close early. Extended waits are expected. Similar announcement is playing at the station when I arrive in Eastbourne.
To Curves for a workout then to the Arndale Centre to look around. Discover bonmarché, a shop geared towards women over 45, where I buy two long-sleeved tops for £10 and a pair of dress pants for £12.
I grab a Subway sandwich, coffee and cookie and eat lunch on the platform before boarding the return train to Lewes.
From the RockFM fm studio to Anne of Cleves House for a talk called "Who was Anne of Cleves?" given by local historian Helen Poole. The audience is chiefly composed of "Friends of Anne of Cleves House" who have just had their Annual General Meeting. The talk is engaging and the hour passes quickly. It has been a long time since I've heard a slide carousel in operation.
"Anne of Cleves (klēvz) , 1515 - 57, fourth queen consort of Henry VIII of England. The sister of William, duke of Cleves, one of the most powerful of the German Protestant princes, she was considered a desirable match for Henry by those English councilors, most notably Thomas Cromwell, who wished to ally England with the Schmalkaldic League. The marriage was agreed upon in 1539, and although Henry tried to break the contract after seeing his bride, they were married in Jan, 1540. Henry found Anne dull and unattractive, and the marriage was never consummated. This and the fact that Anne had previously contracted to marry the duke of Lorraine's son were used as grounds for divorce[annulment] in July, 1540. Anne gave her consent and, by agreement, lived the rest of her life in England. " Source:
There is no evidence that Anne ever set foot in Sussex and so never saw this house on Southover High Street that bears her name. It was called the Porched House until 1910 and was one of many properties (the list includes nine Sussex manors) that afforded her £4000 annual income.

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