Having managed to tear ourselves away from our second home in France, we had our Christmas dinner last night, probably the first time that anybody has eaten their Christmas dinner on St Patrick's Day. And we didn't eat cabbage and whatever, nor was roast turkey on the menu. But I suppose I should admit that it wasn't really Christmas dinner that we ate, but our Christmas present from my elder son. He had given us a voucher for a meal at a pub some 30 minutes away, a pub that has received some very good reviews for its food. And, in our opinion, those reviews are very well deserved. I had an absolutely delicious starter of Welsh goats' cheese and caramelised onion tart on rocket while the Old Bat ate whitebait. My main course was pan-fried guinea fowl served with mashed sweet potato, puy lentils and mange tout and the OB had Sussex lamb cutlets with roasted new potatoes and beetroot. When we asked, the young lady who served us told us that the lamb came from Romney Marsh, which explained its magnificent flavour. And we both chose Baileys panna cotta topped with chocolate for desert.
I only have the vaguest memory of ever having driven through the village once before. Litlington is a small place with the pub where we ate - the Plough and Harrow - dating from the 17th century and tea gardens.
What I had never known until this morning when I looked up the village on the 'net is that Mrs Fitzherbert lived in the village. It was she who married Prinny, who was to become Prince Regent (and later King George IV) and the man behind Brighton's Royal Pavilion. The couple married in the village church and their names were recorded as Mr and Mrs Payne. The marriage was, of course, illegal as Prinny had not obtained the consent of the King and, in any case, Mrs Fitzherbert was (I believe) a Catholic.
According to one source, Litlington is one of those Saxon fortified hill villages probably settled by
Aelle after 477AD. The name is derived from Wlitu(white) el(people) ington(fortified village on a hill) so becomes
'The white fortified village on the hill'. Originally these ingtons were located at the
top of the hills as defensive positions but moved lower down into the more productive
lowlands once the area was under Saxon control. The white village probably refers to the
chalk land surrounding the village.