Gun Garden

From Historical Hastings

This was an area that extended the West Hill and Hastings Castle seaward, but was levelled to provide Breeds Place and part of Wellington Square. Prior to clearance and levelling of the site, a flag was often flown from the most seaward point(known as 'The Mound'), together with it being used to provide gun 'salutes' on various occasions. The site was closed off to the public in 1824 prior to the clearance of the site, with an archaeological investigation being undertaken by William Herbert in association with William Moss, leading to a number of papers being published[1].

After purchasing the site from Sir Godfrey Webster around 1800, Edward Milward divided up the Gun Garden site into pieces, Henry Cousins relating the following in a column of the Hastings & St. Leonards Observer dated 10th November 1928[2]:- ". . .four of which can be traced, the combined superficial area of which approximates to about one acre they are as follows:-"

"A large piece on the southern side (sea side) with a frontage of 220 feet next to the road from Hastings to the Priory, and an average depth of 133 feet North to South; extending from Pelham Crescent to Castle Street. This was conveyed to Thomas Clarke, 15th May, 1823. Rather more than half of this piece, on its southern side, was sold by Thomas Clarke as ​building​ plots, on which ten houses forming Breeds Place were built; and completed, as indicated by the date in the panel on the two central houses (Nos. 5 and 6) in 1828. The Northern, or back half, was conveyed by Thomas Clarke to Boykett Breeds[a], 10th February, 1824, and was later conyeyed by the trustees of Thomas Breeds to James Lansdell, 26th February, 1851, and remained unbuilt on until 1892, when it formed a portion of the site on which the four blocks of residential flats named “Castle Gardens” were erected, the approach to which is by the private road along what is now the access road below the car-park in Castle Hill Road."

"A second piece was at the Western end, end, abutting to the piece above described, to Castle Lane, on part of which, Cavendish House now stands. It was conveyed by Edward Milward to Thomas Clarke on the 15th May, 1823; later by Clarke to Boykett Breeds, 10th February, 1824; and still later by the trustees of Thomas Breeds to James Lansdell, 26th February, 1851."

"A third piece extended from Cavendish House, up the Castle Lane (now Castle Hill Road) the full extent of the North-Western boundary of the “Gun Garden” site, with an approximate depth of 73 feet, more or less. This piece was divided by Edward Milward into ​building​ plots, four of which were conveyed to James Lansdell, 13th November, 1823."

"A fourth piece, three-sided and of a wedge-like shape, sandwiched in between the first and third pieces, and abutting on the East to the Castle, at or near to the Castle “ditch” or “fosse”, had a length of 170 feet on the southern side, 188 feet on the north-west side, and 109 feet on the Castle or eastern side. This was conveyed by Edward Milward to Thomas and Boykett Breeds, 15th September, 1824, and later was conveyed by the trustees of Thomas Breeds to James Lansdell, the younger, 26th February, 1851. It was described in the particulars of the auction sale, held on the 18th July, 1850, at the Swan Inn at which the plot was bought, as "The mound by the Flagstaff on the top of Castle Hill". A special narrow footpath to it from the Castle-lane up the cliff was reserved in the conveyance. The gradual removal of ‘The Mound,” the approximately central, and last portion of the “Gun Garden” site, as such, left, extended until 1892 when the site was finally cleared for the erection of Castle Gardens."



  1. This 'Boykett Breeds' appears to be the only such named Breeds in the relevant period.

References & Notes