Groombridge

The river Medway forms the county boundary and cuts right through Groombridge. A mighty clout from the cricket pitch would be Kent’s problem, not Sussex’s.

Old Groombridge lies in Kent but East Sussex can lay claim to a heroine in the community which has grown around the railway station. The late Julie Tullis was a member of the expedition which in 1985 made the maiden attempt to climb Mount Everest from the north east ridge. They were beaten back short of the summit by bad weather, but Julie was the first British woman on the world’s highest mountain.

How pre-war village children must have hoped for frosty days in winter. That was when Mr Mountain of Groombridge.

Place would allow all the local youngsters to come skating – or just plain sliding – on the frozen lake in his grounds. The picturesque moated mansion replaced a castle where Charles, Duke of Orleans, was held prisoner for 25 years. He had been found by Sir Richard Waller of Groombridge, buried under a pile of dead and wounded at the Battle of Agincourt, and taken hostage. The French nobleman didn’t fritter the quarter of a century he spent in this country before his ransom was paid. There is a tradition that he actually rebuilt Groombridge Place during his captivity and also the neighbouring church of Speldhurst in Kent where a stone bears his arms.