Category:Fairlight

From Historical Hastings

Etymology[edit]

A record dating to 1220 gives a name of Farlegh associated with the village, with many subsequent changes to the spelling;

  • 1291: Farleigh
  • 1535: Fareley [1]
  • 1701: Fayrlight
  • 1738: Fareley [1]
  • 1823: Fairlight

Manor of Fairlight[edit]

A manor existed here prior to 1066, this being given by William the Conqueror to the Countess of Eu (her husband being the first Constable of Hastings Castle. During the 12th century, the manor was in the ownership of the Allard family.

This manor house formed the foundation of the present farmhouse at Stonelynk Farm. The residence known today as ‘Stonelynk Hall’ was originally the barn, built probably in the 14th century. About 1540 a Judge and Clerk attended the local assizes, held in the manor. A well provides the farmhouse with its own water supply. In the days of smuggling, contraband goods were landed at Fairlight, probably brought inland by an underground tunnel!

Marsham farm dates from 1290, built by Giles Fiennes. Waites Old Farm House (corner of Waites Lane & Meadow Way) is 16th century. Waites wood existed where Fairlight Village Hall and adjacent residences now stand.

Battery Hill: at the turn of the 20th century, a local gun battery is reputed to have practiced firing regularly from ‘The Mountain’. Fire was directed out to sea, this probably gives to the origin of the names: ‘Firehills’ and ‘Battery Hill’. Fairlight Place: built around 1550 at the head of Fairlight Glen, was visited by King Louis Phillipe and his Queen in 1849 after his escape from Paris.


Fairlight Hall, Martineau Lane, is imitation Tudor, built at the turn of the century, it is a private residence.

The present Parish Church of St Andrews was built in 1845 on the site of the former Church dating back to (approx) 1180. It is 535 feet above sea level. Built from locally quarried stone, the tower elevates to 82 feet from ground level. This is open to all during the summer months. The Silver Communion Cup and Paten cover date from 1697. A friend of Mendelssohn, Thomas Walmsley, a master of music and renowned organist, is buried in the Churchyard, also Richard D’Oyly Carte, producer of the Gilbert & Sullivan Operettas. It is a well know fact that the Church of St Andrews and the immediate area was purposely not bombed by the Germans during the last war, as this was a very distinctive Land Mark that guided their planes towards London and back home. It was mentioned on plans drawn up by the High Command in Germany as never to be touched, which have just been released!

Cliff[edit]

The cliffs in the Fairlight area are subject to erosion from the sea, but since around 1986 the village has had a very actively supported group (now know as the ‘Fairlight Cove Preservation Trust), which takes action to prevent further land loss. In 2007 a multi million pound scheme was adopted to reshape the cliffs, laying land drains to remove the water before it eroded any more of the cliffs; 56 wells were drilled to seize the water before it reached the cliffs. 2 years later the scheme proved itself successful.

Land Ownership[edit]

National Trust Land; 215 acres of cliff land (including Stumbletts Wood, Pett Level Road) were given to the National Trust in 1945; Old Marsham farm (170 acres adjoining) in 1958.

In 1951, Hastings was presented with 211 acres of cliff and country, including Fairlight Place and Farm, the Firehills, Fairlight and Ecclesbourne Glens, the Lovers seat and the Dripping well.

The Country Park (mostly in the Hastings area) consists of some 500 acres of cliff walks and unspoilt wooded country from East Hill Hastings, to the Firehills at Fairlight, including the Ecclesbourne and Fairlight Glens. A car park and tourist information centre along with toilets are situated just off the Fairlight Road, the entrance being some 50 yards west of Coastguards Lane and the Parish Church of St Andrews.



Images[edit]

  1. a b Hastings, past and present (Mary Matilda Howard) pg. 106 Google Books