A message from Brother David Hiley, Vice-President of Eastbourne Circle

(Message previously published in CATENA). (Message & Photos published with the kind permission of David Hiley).


"Ladies why not come and join us on Saturday 14th May 2022 during The GB National Conference in Eastbourne, on one of our organised three ladies’ tours? The choice hasn`t been easy as there are so many wonderful places to visit both in our lovely resort and in the surrounding areas of East and West Sussex and Kent. In fact, why not consider extending your stay, not only to visit some of these amazing attractions, but to also join us on Thursday 12th May for Mass, and a dinner with ladies after our Circle Meeting in the View Hotel.


The three tours we have chosen are each very different:

Tour A: is to the irresistible market town of Arundel to visit the Castle and Catholic Cathedral, where the coach will be met by Brothers and ladies of Arundel Circle who will be your hosts.

There are nearly 1,000 years of history at this great castle, situated in magnificent grounds overlooking the River Arun in West Sussex and built at the end of the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel. Arundel Castle is one of England’s longest inhabited houses, and has belonged to the Howard family, the Duke of Norfolk since the 11th Century.

The Duke of Norfolk’s collections are lavish and include art by Canaletto, Gainsborough, Mijtens and van Dyke, as well as antique furniture and tapestries. Well worth a visit is St Nicholas` Church/Fitzalan Chapel, a very unusual Perpendicular Gothic church and the gardens

The Cathedral, is a wonderful Catholic Church, honouring St. Mary the Virgin and St. Philip Howard, full of the most amazing sculptures and memorials.

The Cathedral is not old (1873) but follows traditional designs and looks so much like the Cathedrals of Notre Dame or Mont Saint Michel.

Special features to look out for are stations of the cross, the tomb of St. Philip the Martyr, the stunning altars, fabulous stained-glass windows, especially the circular west window, two 12th century large carvings of the ‘Raising of Lazarus’, the tapestry and altar drapes and finally the 16th century paintings of the Kings of England and Wales.

Tour B: is to The Royal Pavilion, an exotic palace in the centre of Brighton with a colourful history. The Pavilion is one of the most fantastic extravagant, eccentric buildings in Europe. Built, in the Indo-Saracenenic Style prevalent in India for most of the 19th Century, as a seaside retreat- It dramatically represents the personality of its creator King George IV.

The current appearance of the Pavilion, with its domes and minarets, is the work of the architect, John Nash who extended the building in 1815. William IV, and Queen Victoria also used the Pavilion, but Victoria decreed Osborne House should be the royal seaside retreat, and so the Pavilion was sold to the city of Brighton in 1850 for £53,000.

One of our Eastbourne ladies will be your host, and you will be able to wander around the many fabulous rooms at your own pace including: -

The Music Room, lit with its nine lotus-shaped chandeliers; the Italian composer Rossini performed here in 1823. The elaborate Banqueting Room is highly theatrical in style, and the impressive table setting, fit for a King, displays many exquisite pieces of silver.

Other rooms to visit are The Great Kitchen, Royal Bedrooms, The Saloon, Reception Rooms, Indian Military Hospital gallery, and the Prince Regent Art Gallery.

Tour C: Charleston Farm House and Berwick Church.

Enjoy a scenic ride along the South Downs to the Farmhouse.

In 1916, whilst war raged in Europe, the post-impressionist artist Duncan Grant, a conscientious objector, moved to this calm corner of Sussex to run a fruit farm with his partner Bunny Garnett. With them came painter, designer and fellow Bloomsbury Group member Vanessa Bell, who later gave birth to Grant`s child. Charleston Farmhouse, the house and garden that Grant ended up renting for over 60 years, was not just a home; Grant and Bell saw it as a canvas for their work, a meeting place for their artistic and literary friends and a backdrop for an experimental way of life in which relationships were fluid and intertwined. The art critic Clive Bell, Vanessa`s estranged husband, and Virginia Wolf, her sister, stayed for long periods.

The house is now a museum in which Grant and Bell`s earthly, free-flowing decorative touches are immaculately preserved: walls, doors and furnishings are embellished with paint and mantelpieces are crammed with lovingly collected objects.

There is a café and gift shop to end your visit.

On our return to Eastbourne, we will stop off to see the Bloomsbury paintings in Berwick Church, which are a unique and complete example of the decoration of the interior of a Grade 1 listed parish church in the UK by 20th century artists, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, and Quentin Bell."

Arundel Castle

Ladies' Tours - Catenian National Conference 2022 - Eastbourne

Brighton Royal Pavillion
Charleston Farmhouse