The Forest entrance and President Kennedy
The area was originally Saxon and appears to have been common ground.
The Normans created the Ashdown Forest as an area where Forest law applied, this law
was designed to protect the venison and the vert i.e. the animals of the hunt and
the foliage that they consumed. Forest law also prescribed harsh punishment for
anyone who committed any of a range of offences within these areas.
Chelwood Gate was one of the entrances into the Ashdown Forest through
which John of Gaunt (1340 - 1399) the third surviving son of King Edward III
would have entered the forest from his hunting lodge.
Harold Macmillan the Prime Minister and head of the Treasury from 1957 t0 1963
lived here at Birch Grove, the Macmillan family home. Birch Grove was started in
1923 and completed in 1926 by Harolds father - head of the family publishing firm.
The village was quite famous as in 1963 President Kennedy came to visit Prime
Minister Macmillan at Birch Grove, a memorial to this can be found on the
Wych Cross road.
The village has the usual local service provided by a small village.
To the south of the village views can be seen to Chactonbury Ring to the west
and the South Downs towards Beachy Head to the east.