Croft Chapel

From Historical Hastings
Croft Chapel
General information
AddressCroft Road
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This was the first 'Dissenting' place of worship established in the town.


Original Wooden Chapel

Owing to the stigma of being associated with the Independent or Seperatist religious movements it was impossible to get a builder to construct a chapel for the Congregational Church members in Hastings. In 1805 a piece of land in The Croft was given as a meeting site for these worshippers. A wooden building was paid for by a consortium of London 'dissenters', constructed in London and transported by sea to Hastings and constructed on this site.[1]


15 Dec 1684: Foffment Robert Phipps of Hastings, jurat and Thomas Carswell of same; shoemaker
17-18 May 1743: Lease and release Thomas Carswell of Hastings, gent, Anne Lucas (only dau and child of Robert Lucas of Hastings)
1 Nov 1800 Indenture said William Gill and Anne his wife (formerly Anne Carswell, dau of Thomas Carswell) 15 Aug 1810: Release y William Gill


Bath Stone building

The chapel was reconstructed during 1876/77 by the firm of C. and E. Harman. The new building having been designed by the architect T. Elworthy of St Leonards provided accommodation for a congregation of 450 adults - nearly double that of the previous structure. The structure was laid out over three floors, each floor lit by pairs of windows with circular windows on the top floor. Construction was of Bath Stone with pale yellow, pressed bricks providing contrast to the red kiln bricks used on the walls. A clock was fitted to the east side of the tower, this being donated by T. Elworthy. Five exits were provided to avoid crushing when the congregation either entered or exited the building, irrespective of which floor they occupied.[2]


1808 1816 Richard Simmonds died 27 Dec aet37
1817 31 Aug 1817 Morley Clack died after a week 31 Aug aet 23
1819 1855 William Davis[3] died 19 Jan in 67th year[4]
1855 George Stewart
1858/9 Ransom Cooper Left Suddenly (? scandal or disgrace)
1860 1862 Evan Bevan
1863 1873 Halley Stewart
1873 Charles? R. Howell
1883 1884 W. C. Parks
1885 1889
1901 1903 George Botting
1904 J. Opie
1905 1907 R. V. Brown

Photography Studio[edit]

After the chapel fell into disuse, a local photographer, G. Ivan Barnett utilised the building, both as a photography studio and also as a set for 'The Fall of the House of Usher' for which he was the principle cinematographer.


The building was finally demolished in 1972 and private housing now occupies the site.[5]



  1. Hastings Survey of Times Past and Present (Anthony Belt F.L.S.) 1937 pg.144 ESCC Library
  2. Hastings & St Leonards Observer 05 May 1877 pg. 6
  3. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 3 Chap.40
  4. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 5 Chap. 54
  5. Family