Sunday, 8 June 2008

Prayer to St Martha

When I did my long-distance walk through France in the early '90's (1990's, not 1890's!) I began to follow the medieval practice of asking the intercession of St Martha for a good Inn for the night. Leaving aside the whole theological debate about saints as intermediaries, it seemed that the prayer was always answered, and I was led to numerous pleasant hostelries for the night.

I have just driven down to the south-coast for a meeting tomorrow with friends with whom I used to work in a small off-licence in Brighton through the 70's. I had missed lunch, and so I was looking for a place to eat on the journey down. Having crossed the Thames on the Dartford bridge, I headed down through Tunbridge Wells, and fleetingly wondered about stopping at the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet on the exit from the town, but instead decided to drive past that emporium of grease and uttered my prayer to St. Martha for a good Inn where I might find a repast that would satisfy.

Just north of Lewes the sign for the Old Ship caught my eye, and its board advertising food until 9.30 p.m. I swung into its car park, and a short while later was enjoying roast lamb and veg, followed by home-made banoffee pie and cream. Washed down with a glass of apple and blueberry, it was a welcome break in the journey, and very definitely a "good Inn".

If you ever pass that way, I recommend it.


  1. In one sense, it seems that your story clears up the theological debate about saints as intermediaries.

  2. I'm not likely to pass that way, but reading about your dinner made my mouth water. I'm going to look for some food, now.

  3. If this is the Old Ship in Ringmer (and it looks like it!) then I called in there a long time ago and had a pint and a very disappointing sandwich. These were the days when pub food was still in the Dark Ages, and it's wonderful to see that the place is still there and now serving good food!

    Sancta Martha, ora pro nobis.

  4. Yes, RR, it's the same one. No sandwiches in sight on the menu now, just a very good list of home-cooked dishes.