After breakfast, we traveled south by train from Maidstone, transferring trains at Tonbridge and ended in Hastings, Sussex, a south coastal resort city on the English Channel. It didn't take long to walk from the train station to our B&B a couple of blocks away, pulling our suitcases along behind us. As we arrived there in the morning, we had arranged to drop off our luggage early, and soon we were on our way to the visitor's information centre. There weren't as many options as we had hoped to travel to the nearby towns of Battle, where the battle of 1066 was fought, and Brede where Claudia's grandmother's family were from. It seems that buses are scheduled less frequently on weekends, and we didn't have a lot of time to spare.
The town was very crowded with holiday makers out enjoying the beautiful weather, the arcades and shops. We had to wait almost an hour for a local bus downtown, and took a slow and winding trip through the town and countryside, eventually getting off at the small village of Brede. We hopped off the bus right at the church where we hoped to find the cemetery and the Richardson gravestones. We entered the churchyard from the road, through the gate at the side of the church. Walking to the front of the church, we saw that it was perched on a hill, with the most amazing view of the green fields and valley below.
Many of the old gravestones were hard to read. Fortunately the church was unlocked and had some pamphlets for sale, so we bought several, including an index and map of the gravestones, and a list of those who had emigrated from Brede. Both included a few Richardson names, but some that should have been listed were missing. The cemetery map was a little hard to make out, but it helped when Terry noticed the weather vane with compass points on the top of the church steeple which got us oriented in the right direction. We soon found a couple of Richardson gravestones by the far fence in the shade of the church tower. We took photos of the stones, church yard, the inside of the church and of course the wonderful view, then headed across the road to the Red Lion Pub for a well earned pint.
We called a taxi from the pub (which had to come 6 miles from Hastings as there was no local service); the bus service was just not adequate for us. The taxi ride to Battle, passing a winery on the way, didn't take long. The Abbey at Battle
is a heritage site and we took our time to see most of the Abby, its grounds and the visitors centre. The 1066 battle field is just below the Abbey but we didn't take the longer walk around the perimeter.
It was after 5pm when we walked down to the train station where we caught the train back to Hastings. We walked down through the town to the beach area and walked on the course gravel beach to touch the water of the English Channel. We went to a coffee shop for a late dinner and then continued our walk along the almost deserted beach to the far end and back, past the fishing boats and carnival rides. There were two funicular trains that climbed the steep hills to the old castle and a lookout, but both trains were closed for the evening and we didn't have time or the energy to walk up the hill to look at the castle and the view.
The sun was setting, and people were started to arrive at the pubs and night spots, ready for a Saturday night of partying. We had a quick pint in a seaside pub before walking back to our Guest House. We finished up the evening by getting ready to travel to Salisbury the next day.
The next morning we walked down to the McDonald's restaurant for a fast breakfast before checking out and dragging our luggage up the hill to the train station. We caught the train to Salisbury via Brighton, and Clapham Station, leaving Hastings about 9:15am.