This fort is believed to be the earlier of the two forts adjoining each end of the Town Wall. As with the West Fort, there was an area of open ground to the seaward side of both forts known as the Gun Garden.
In 1610, a shoemaker, Zealous Fuller purchased a house adjoining the gun garden of this fort from Thomas and Rachel Nicholl. Nicholl is described as a gunner and it may well be that he either bought or built the house himself when stationed at the fort. The building apparently was none to sturdy and within six months of his purchase, Fuller had to apply to the corporation for permission to shore it up.
Due to many of the old records having disappeared, little is known about the early defensive preparations of the town, but a return to a 1496 muster ordered by the Lord Warden (Cinque Ports) shows that Hastings had "30 archers well and sufficiently armed for war and 30 men with bills and other defences sufficiently harnessed, with 100 men not sufficiently armed".
“Hastings town is furnished with three Portugall bases of brasse, with four chambers of bras to each, one culverin of iron unmounted, two sacres, two minions[d], and one robinet[e] mounted, three quartre slinges stocked, and powdre and shott sufficient; the town is strongly seated, and easily to be fortified.”
17th Century Rebuild
In early the early 1690s, both the East and West Forts were rebuilt following a minor bombardment by the French. By 1715 the corporation had built a storehouse within the east fort and its military function appears to have ceased by 1734.
References & Notes
- Rampier: A Rampart
- Demiculverin: A medium cannon, slightly larger than a saker(sacre)
- Saker (sacre): A medium cannon
- Minion: A small cannon
- Robinet: A small cannon
- Historic Hastings (J. Manwaring Baines) 2nd ed. pg 190 ISBN: 0948869003 ISBN: 9780948869006
- Historic Hastings (J. Manwaring Baines) 2nd ed. pg 191 ISBN: 0948869003 ISBN: 9780948869006
- Internet Archive: Sussex Archæological Collections (vol. 11)
- Obviously referring to Bulverhythe
- Salzman, L.F. (ed), 1937, VCH Sussex Vol. 9 p. 4-5
- Hastings Town Wall (The Gatehouse Record), accessdate: 3 January 2021