Places in the books

There are two main settings for most of the Books:
The first is Westling Harbour in the Romney Marshes, the second is Punchbowl Farm

Westling Harbour

Where it all began.
Westling Vicarage.  click to enlarge (File size=56KB) Tamzin Grey's vicarage home in Westling Harbour on the Sussex coast.
You can clearly see her bedroom windows looking out across the marsh, above the balcony over the front door.

To the right of this view is the small front at Westling, looking along to the William the Conqueror Inn.
On the right is the Harbour Mast around which young Diccon and Butterbeans Pope played, by the shingle on which Old Jim's Ferry Hut stood, and on the edge of the picture is the river Rother.
The front, Westling.
 Click to enlarge (File size=41KB)

The Shop in Westling.
 Click to enlarge (File size=32KB) Between the two lies the road to Dunsford and the short village street. On the opposite side of the road to the vicarage is Smiling Morn's shop.

Beside the road to Dunsford lies the Parish Church, where Tamzin's father preached to the fisherfolk of the village.

The Church, Westling Harbour
 (Click to enlarge File size=50KB)


But, surely Westling Harbour doesn't exist? It is as much a figment of the author's imagination as her stories.

And 'that's where her story really begins'.

Although Monica Edwards wrote fiction it was so strongly related to life and her own experiences that we should not be surprised to discover that the places do exist, exactly as described, although often under a different name.

All you need to do is substitute the name Rye for Dunsford and Rye Harbour for Westling and you're in the right place.

She may be forgiven the twinkle of mischief which converted the stately Winchelsea into Winklesea.

She and her family moved to Rye Harbour in the early 1920's, her father to become Vicar. She loved the area, and came to know the fishermen and the marsh farmers well.
'If you wanted to find Monica,' an elderly resident told me, 'you looked around the net sheds, she'd be there working with the fishermen'

She would regularly worship in the little church she describes so well, roofed like an inverted ship. Church interior, Rye Harbour.
 Click to enlarge (File size=30KB)

The Martello Tower, Rye Harbour.
 Click to enlarge (File size=33KB) And, of course she explored the marshes beyond her front door and the coast path leading by the Martello Tower.

She became a regular visitor to Castle Farm, named after nearby Camber Castle (Cloudesley Castle in her books). Here she learned sheep shearing while others of her age were trapped in school.

I did this drawing from an aerial photograph taken in 1947. It shows the paths made by sheep, and young girls, as they wandered around freely in the ruins. It is now looked after by English Heritage and access is strictly controlled. The sheep wander no more.
Camber Castle 1947. Click to enlarge
Camber Castle from the air
1947

The original Castle Farm house was destroyed during the last war, but almost all the other places exist in their correct places and can be explored today almost as freely as when the young Monica tore around the Marshes herself. And after exploring, you can end with refreshment in the 'Conk'.


This page is part of the Monica Edwards Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.
Created by John Allsup
photographs and drawing copyright John Allsup
Created on 26 August 2001
updated March 2003