Built between 1810 and 1830, the first owner was Reverend William Wallinger, curate of St Mary In The Castle between 1828 & 1834. The property was noted to have been vacant for a lengthy period in a newspaper article dating to 1904, with rumours of a previous occupant having committed suicide in the building, and apparently haunting the house. This reputation was undoubtedly enhanced by a family of spiritualists who took residence in the house at one point. The article rebuked this superstition quite forcefully. The ghost was reportedly that of Mrs. Siddons, a famous actress, who had visited the house in 1818. At the same time as the Curtis family were resident, much of the large garden was sold off for development; this development unfortunately caused some damage to the house.
The supposed haunting of the house was highlighted during a court case brought by the trustees of the late Thomas Newman regarding the eviction of Mr. H. E. Curtis (the aforementioned spiritualists) who was tenant between about 1904 and 1926. Curtis had reportedly sent photographic evidence of the house being haunted to a number of people in an effort to decrease the perceived value of the property. A policeman was posted at the house one night to assist in allaying the superstition. As stated above, the property was vacant prior to 1904 - the Curtis family being the first tenants in a number of years. In the final ruling, the Curtis family were evicted
The building remained a large detached villa until the 1930s when it was divided into flats. By the late 1960s/early 70s it was empty and would eventually become abandoned and derelict. The building remained, no more than a shell until demolition in June 1985.
References & Notes
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 18 June 1904 pg. 5
- British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 25 December 1926 Pg. 0009
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 21 October 1933 pg. 15
- Leigh Kennedy, Historical Hastings group