Did Churchill once stay at this Alfriston hotel?

Wingrove House Hotel, Alfriston
Wingrove House Hotel, Alfriston

THE HISTORY of an Alfriston hotel and its link to a former prime minister will be unveiled at a book launch next month.

June Goodfield and Peter Robinson have penned the Wingrove and the Churchill Connection, which was commissioned by Neil Eckert, Wingrove House Hotel’s current owner.

The book uncovers the mysteries surrounding a spectacular house, set on the eastern edge of the new South Downs National Park.

Winston Churchill – who became prime minister in 1940 – and his wife Clementine had many friends in the Cuckmere Valley as well as strong connections in Seaford going back to the early years of the 20th century.

Shortly after World War Two, Ursula Heinz sent Churchill a sea otter pelt which Clementine converted into a collar for his winter coat and correspondence followed between the two ladies and Churchill’s daughter, Mary.

But legend claims more – that Churchill actually once stayed at Wingrove House.

On Friday September 9 the publication that focuses on Churchill’s connection with the Sussex village will be launched at Wingrove House Hotel.

Co-author June Goodfield said, “Peter and I were absolutely thrilled to be asked to delve into the history of Wingrove and unravel its connections to Churchill.

“Three years of intensive research has uncovered a wealth of previously unknown material, including some documents unrecorded in the established archives.

“Descendants of many of the previous owners were traced and all contributed valuable insights to a dramatic, lively story – at times scandalous, at others enlightening.

“In all cases these new facts have been set against the changing social background of the village over many generations and, best of all, we believe that Wingrove’s many mysteries may have been solved.”

Those interested in this historical drama are invited to attend a celebratory morning or lunch event, both of which include a signed copy of Wingrove and the Churchill Connection, the chance to meet the owner as well as Churchill’s grandson and an opportunity to visit the house where Winston Churchill likely once stayed.

To book a space at the Wingrove celebratory morning or lunch on Friday September 9, please contact: Dr G J Goodfield, The Manor House, Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5SY or call 870073.