Hastings of Bygone days and the Present

From Historical Hastings

A Guidebook written by Henry Cousins in 1920. The book ran to two editions; the second of which is below. ISBN: 9789332862449 Download PDF version.

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Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present

Second Edition

Henry Cousins

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[ - ]F. P. GARDINER 58 WITHROW AVE. TORONTO, - - ONT. [ - ] [ - ]Presented to the library of the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO by A. Huestis [ - ]HASTINGS:

of Bygone Days - and the Present.

(Second Edition) Revised. 1920. [ - ]


The public appreciation of the first edition of "Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present" which rendered necessary the announcement "Out of Print," in 1919, was naturally gratifying to the Author and Compiler, who spent three years in its production. Insistant applications for the work were made to the publishers, who decided that a second edition, corrected and revised, was called for. The work was sent to all parts of the world where natives of Hastings had settled, while the encomiums of the Press on the first edition were most flattering and encouraging.

I desire to tender my thanks and appreciation for their kindly help to Mr. J. A. Ray, F.S.A., in revising the chapters on "Ancient Hastings"; to my friend Mr. James Castello, for his revision of the List of Old Guide Books of Hastings (of which he possesses a unique collection); to Mr. Thomas Parkin, M.A., F.R.H.S., for allowing me " the run of " and loans from his valuable local collections and library of books and views of the town; to my old friend Mr. Alfred Bryant of Enfield, an old Hastinger (now nearing his ninetieth year), for his help in the compilation of the Chronological Table of Events, from his notes collected and preserved through his long life; and to others who in any way have rendered their help.

HENRY COUSINS. [ - ] [ - ]

The Author

Cousins Portrait.png
[ - ]


Of Bygone Days and the Present.

Profusely Illustrated by Views reproduced from Original and Rare Old Prints, Engravings, Oil Paintings, Water Colours, Photos, etc., specially for this Work, side by side with views of the present day.


Lecturer on Hastings "Past and Present."


HASTINGS. Published by F. J. Parsons, Ltd., Observer Office, Claremont,



[ - ] [ - ]


Many descriptive Guides to Hastings (by which it must be understood to include St. Leonards) have been published at intervals since Mr. Stell issued his first known Guide from his library in Cobourg Place, written by himself under the nom de plume of "By an Inhabitant," in 1794,[1] when the Old Town was already attracting visitors from London and elsewhere to enjoy the sea breezes, and the recuperative properties of the salubrious air of its hills and valleys. This was followed by Barry's Guide, 1797, and Powell's, 1819, both of which passed through several editions, and Stockdale's, 1817. All these early Guides contained a few illustrations and maps of the locality. It was not until Mr. W. G. Moss published his excellent Guide in 1824 (the letterpress of which Mr. Dawson, in his exhaustive and learned work on Hastings Castle, recently published, informs us was written by Mr. Herbert, the Librarian of the Guildhall Library) that any extensive effort was made by way of illustrations of any number or merit. Mr. Moss was a draughtsman to his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, and the series of excellent engravings from his original drawings with which his History of Hastings is embellished is a proof of the admirable work of that period. This was followed by many others of a later date, by Ross, 1835 - then in 1855 was issued that carefully compiled and interesting handbook on "Hastings Past and Present," by Miss Mary Matilda Howard, an authoress of repute, and published by Diplock; and in 1867 the late Mr. T. H. Cole published his "Antiquities of Hastings," with maps and plans of the Castle, the Battlefield, &c, bestowing the utmost care and great research in its preparation.

While Moss's and Cole's works are frequently quoted by modern antiquarians, no attempt of a comprehensive character has been made of giving a pictorial History of the town prior to and since its rise from a small place of about 3,000 inhabitants in 1800, to the second largest fashionable health resort on the Sussex Coast, with its three miles of magnificent Sea Promenade.

It was not until the writer had compiled his popular Lecture entitled "Hastings Past and Present," which has been delivered in collaboration with Mr. C. W. Banks on twenty occasions during the past twelve years, that a work of this kind had suggested itself, but during this period it was frequently urged that a reproduction of pictures illustrating Old Hastings and its rise to its present position, with descriptive letterpress in book form, would [ 6 ]be appreciated by hundreds of Hastingers in all parts of the world, to remind them of their native place in bygone times and by those who are still amongst us. This was made possible by the valuable assistance of the Publishers, with the cordial help and encouragement received from the leading Members of the Museum Committee and others possessing rare pictures of Old Hastings, and who placed their collections at the disposal of the writer for the purpose of reproduction in this work, and further by the aid of photography and the modern methods of reproduction and printing which rendered this possible.

In the belief that the History of Ancient Hastings has been sufficiently treated by early writers and is at the disposal in the Public Library of those wishing to consult them, this work is more particularly confined to the period from its rise to eminence, which commenced in the latter half of the 18th century.

The writer desires to tender his grateful thanks to and appreciation for the encouragement received from Mr. W. V. Crake, B.A., Mr. Thomas Parkin, M.A., F.R.Hist.S., Mr. M. Sullivan, A.R.C.A., Mr. W. Ruskin Butterfield (Curator of the Museum), the Hastings Corporation and Committee of the Museum, the Rev. W.Sayer-Milward, Mr. Charles Lane Sayer, London (the Editor of the "Collier Letters")[2], the Rev. H. C. B. Foyster, Mr. W. Brown, Mr. James Foster, Mr. Philip Cole, Mr. A. F. Wood, Mr. J. E. Savery (London), Mr. Geo. J. Wood, Dr. G. Vickerman Hewland, Mr. John Bray, Mr. Philip Tree, F.R.I.B.A., Councillor Joseph Adams, J. P., C.C. (Mayor of Rye), Mr. Edw. A. Notcutt, Mr. Chas, Dawson, F.S.A., F.G.S. (author of "The History of Hastings Castle"), Mr. Wm. Carless, M.A., J.P., Mr. J. R. Mitchell, Mr. Arthur Watson, Mr. A. R. Perrv, Mr. Fred. G. Langham, M.A., LL.B., Mr. Alfred Blackman,'J.P., Mr. J. E. Ray, Mr. Alfred Bryant (Enfield), Mr. A. G. Fidler (Enfield), Miss Clark, and others who have kindly placed their collections of Views at his disposal, or offered to assist in any way. My special thanks are due to Mr. C. Lane-Sayer for revising the proof of my extracts from the "Collier Letters" ;to Mr. Chas. Dawson for revising the proof of my chapter on "Roman, Saxon and Norman Hastings" ; to the Hon. Robert Marsham-Townshend, for revising my proof on "Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell" ; to Mr. T. Parkin, M.A., for revising the article on "Cricket," and his ready help in many other ways, and to the Controller of His Majesty's Stationery Office for his permission to use the Plan and Official Report on the Derelict Lands of Hastings, known as America Ground. HENRY COUSINS [ 7 ]



"St. Leonards,
"February 5th 1902.

"Dear Mr. Cousins,

" Carrying my memory back as I do to the Hastings of 80 years ago, I can but congratulate you on the success of your efforts to produce an entertainment as instructive as it is amusing. I was one among your crowded audience at Silverhill (accompanied by Mr. William Ransom and Mr. Fredk. Tree, senior, old Hastingers), and was pleased to find by the frequent plaudits how much the illustrated lecture was enjoyed; and also to see with my own eyes how truthfully the views of the Old Town and its neighbourhood were thrown upon the screen. It is, I know, thought by some persons that only a comparatively few are really interested in our local history of bygone times, but the pleasure evinced by the audience at your lecture, as well as the numerous applications (personal and by letter) to myself as an old man of the town, convince me that there is quite a numerous public desirous of knowing to some extent the marvellous strides of our borough from the past to the present. I noticed many views which dated before my time, but the majority came within my own knowledge, some of which made me feel to be again living in the past. I could have added a few personal experiences in corroboration of your excellent lecture, but which in some small measure (though unintentional) might have detracted from the merit of your evidently correct and painstaking production. I am of opinion that our townspeople are greatly indebted to you for such an entertainment.


(Local Historian.)

"Highlands Cottage,"

St. Leonards-on-Sea,

July 22nd, 1902.

"Dear Sir,

"Would you be disposed to act as Guide with explanatory remarks, to an excursion of Sussex Archaeologists to the old houses in All Saints Street and the Bourne, on the morning of the 13th August ?

"Yours truly, W. V. CRAKE."

Extract from the report of the above excursion from Hastings Observer of August 16th, 1902 : "After leaving St. Clement's Church, Mr. W. V. Crake introduced Mr. Henry Cousins and stated that he would point out and explain the old houses and other points of interest in the Old Town, of which Mr. Cousins had a vast knowledge, acquired as a student of local history and a lecturer on 'Hastings - Past and Present.'" [ 8 ]


References to Pre-Historic, British, Roman, Saxon, and Norman Hastings


I have already said in the preface to this work that my object has been to gather together a series of pictorial evidences of Old Hastings, so far as I have been enabled, and to set them side by side with views of the same localities of the present day, rather than to attempt to deal with its ancient history, a subject already covered by learned writers connected by birth or residence with the county of Sussex, whose several works are open to all who wish to consult them. To my local readers, our Reference Library at Claremont and the Hastings Museum will afford abundant and intensely interesting evidences of the antiquity and importance of Hastings, and the part played by its men and ships in the King's service in bygone days. Whether the town was a Roman station or not (upon which chroniclers differ), the contiguity of its hills to the mainland, the flat and marshy lands stretching to Beachy Head on the west, and to the Kentish hills on the east, the Forest Ridge on the north, and the haven formed by its hills and valleys, and other physical causes, have led some historians to the belief that Caesar in his Commentaries referred to the coast and people of our isle, represented by Sussex and Kent, and that he found the aborigines a more superior and intelligent people than those in the interior.

David Hume, in his History of England, briefly refers to this subject as follows : "All ancient writers agree in representing the first inhabitants of Britain as a tribe of the Gauls or Celtae who peopled the island from the neighbouring continent. Their language was the same, their manners, their government, their superstition, varied only by those small differences which time or a communication with the bordering nations must necessarily introduce. The Greek and Roman navigators or merchants (for there were scarcely any other travellers in those days) brought back the most shocking accounts of the ferocity of the people, which they magnified, as usual, in order to excite the admiration of their country [ 9 ]men. The south-east parts, however, of Britain, had already, before the age of Caesar, made the first, and most requisite step towards a civil government, and the Britons, by tillage and agriculture, had there increased to a great multitude (Caesar, lib. iv). The other inhabitants of the island still maintained themselves by pasture; they were clothed with skins of beasts; they dwelt in huts, which they reared in the forests and marshes with which the country was covered they shifted easily their habitation, when actuated either by the hopes of plunder or fear of an enemy; the convenience of feeding their cattle was even a sufficient motive for removing their seats; as they were ignorant of all the refinements of life, their wants and their possessions were equally scanty and limited. They were divided into small nations or tribes, and being a military people, whose sole property was their arms and their cattle, it was impossible, after they had acquired a relish of liberty, for their princes and chieftains to establish any despotic authority over them - hunting and fishing for their food, tilling the ground and fighting their enemies seemed their principal occupations. Their religion was governed by the Druids, who were their priests, and possessed great power over them. Directing their religious duties and presiding over the education of youth, a primitive kind of civil and criminal jurisdiction was exercised. No species of superstition was ever more terrible than that of the Druids. They practised their rites in dark groves or other secret recesses, and in order to throw a greater mystery over their religion, they communicated their doctrines only to the initiated, and strictly forbade the committing them to writing. Human sacrifices were practised among them; the spoils of war were devoted to their divinities. No idolatrous worship ever attained such an ascendant over mankind as that of the ancient Gauls and Britons and the Romans after their conquest, finding it impossible to reconcile those nations to the law and institutions of their masters, while it maintained its authority, were at last obliged to abolish it by penal statutes; a violence which had never before been practised by those tolerating conquerors."

Such were the aborigines described by Hume who inhabited Britain at the time of the Roman invasion. Numerous relics of the earlier or prehistoric age have been brought to light by one of our townsmen, Mr. W. J. Lewis Abbott, F.G.S., who has collected specimens of their implements, tools, rude pottery, domestic articles, bones, shells, ornaments, weapons, etc., forming a wonderful collection representative of the habits of these early settlers found on the dust heaps or the kitchen-middens of Hastings, and the rocks and fissures of the district. Mr. Lewis Abbott has written and lectured much upon this interesting and unique subject, and few will forget his marvellous exhibit in the local Museum some years ago and his wonderful accounts of the old hunter-fishermen whose [ 10 ]"settlements were here under the lee of the high cliffs and rocks of our shores."


The Roman invasion of Britain is said to have commenced with the landing of Caesar in 55 B.C.

The late Mr. T. H. Cole, M.A., in his Antiquities of Hastings, asserts that "some of the ships that fought Caesar hailed from our own old port, for Caesar tells us the Britons used iron, and that iron was found near the coast. Now it is only in the cliffs and valleys adjoining Hastings that it is to be met with, and on either side of our Priory valley the ancient ironworks can yet be pointed out. (See Cole's Map.) This harbour, then, in particular, would be in great demand for transporting this metal to the other parts of Britain and to Gaul. It would be of necessity a great emporium, where cargoes of iron would be exchanged for the copper which Caesar tells us was imported. The ships that frequented this haven must have formed no inconsiderable part of the British armament that went to the aid of their allies in Gaul. These allies, when hard pressed, took refuge in towns placed at the extremities of the lofty cliffs overlooking the harbours in which their ships found shelter." There is evidence of an old cemetery (13th century) on the East Hill; and near the open triangular space the late Mr. Thos. Ross discovered a burial place. Bodies were found lying in charcoal, and beside each what appeared to be iron rivets and large-headed nails. The iron rivets are characteristic of the iron region. But the existence of a Roman town therein is mere conjecture. Then the author quotes Professor Airy, late Astronomer Royal, according to whom "it was from our Hastings hills that the Triumvir saw the native forces in armed array. Be that as it may, Caesar describes the place he reached as a narrow inlet of the sea, shut in by heights, from which weapons could be discharged upon the shore beneath, a description which would tally well with our old haven. "Mr. Cole quotes other authorities indicating that the town was of Roman origin, including Mr. Bradley's Ptolemaic Measurements of the South Coast Journ. Brit. Arch. A. Vol. 37, part 3, p. 227.- "In the list of places on the South Coast of Britain occur the Portus Novus, one degree west of the Promontory of Kent, which may be identified either with the North or South Foreland," and Mr. Bradley observes, "after due allowance for the difference between Ptolemy's degrees of longitude and our own this indicates the precise longitude of Hastings. Now it is well known that Hastings did once possess an excellent harbour. The fact that this has now disappeared seems to shew that it was an artificial harbour, constructed in defiance of the natural unfitness of the site, exactly, in fact, what the term Portus Novus (New Port) would naturally be [ 11 ]supposed to imply." By quoting other longitudinal calculations, Mr. Cole winds up his argument thus: "1st, actual examination of the locality shews the former existence of a harbour here, a fact in agreement with both tradition and history. 2nd, the encampment and vestiges of ironworks prove the harbour to have been known to the Romans. 3rd, a Roman harbour called Portus Novus was situated at this very part of the Coast. These three considerations put together seem to lead inevitably to the conclusion that Hastings was a Roman Port, and that Portus Novus was the name of Roman Hastings."

Mr. Dawson, in his "Hastings Castle," has the following reference to Roman Hastings: "At what time iron-ore was first worked in Sussex for smelting, is a question which we cannot answer at present for want of evidence ; but it is almost certain that the passage in Caesar's Commentaries of the Gallic War, which states that iron is found in the maritime districts, related to the iron found near the Sussex Shores. If so, this would go to prove that the art of smelting iron was practised in Sussex before the first Roman Invasion, although earlier remains have not been positively identified in the cinder-heaps which abound in the vicinity of Hastings. The magnificent gold hoard discovered in 1863 at Mountfield, testified that Hastings was, at all events, near some important centre of the Celtic tribes. It is quite certain that iron-ore was extensively worked in Sussex during the time of the Roman occupation of Britain. Roman and Romano-British remains are common in the cinder-heaps of Beauport, near Hastings." So far as the Author is able to ascertain there is not sufficient evidence to shew that any considerable settlement existed at Hastings itself during Roman times. The reported discoveries of remains dating from this period are so extremely rare and doubtful, taking into account the large amount of excavation which has been carried out at Hastings for building purposes during recent years, that it is impossible to conceive that anything like a fair-sized settlement could have existed without leaving some more definite mark of its presence.

It is, of course, possible to suppose, as some have done, that for a Roman oppidum (city or town) flourished south of the supposed shore, on land now submerged; but even had this been the case, one would have surely found more evidences of its existence on the immediately adjoining land. On the other hand, it is quite within the bounds of possibility, owing to the "Eastward drift," that there may have been no port on the site of Hastings during the Roman occupation. The supposed traces of Roman entrenchments (found by Ross) upon the East Hill must be considered, for the present at all events, very much open to question. Traces of Roman occupation have never been known to occur in or about the Castle or West Hill.

Much importance must be attached to the testimony of the author of "The History of Hastings Castle."[a] [ 12 ]


The Roman occupation of Britain extended for over four-and-a half centuries, and upon the fall of Rome their legions began to evacuate the country. Haydn's Dictionary of Dates states "that the Romans gradually withdrew from Britain from 402-436."

Prior to their departure their powers had begun to wane and they had frequently to repel the attacks of those bold sea-rovers known as the Saxons, who eventually established themselves in 477 under the Saxon AELLA who founded the kingdom of the South Saxons or Sussex, although the Britons made strenuous attempts to check their advance, and it is supposed their great stand was made on the Sussex Shore culminating in the siege of Andredecester now recognised by historians to be the Pevensey now known to us. The Kingdom of the South Saxons probably included that part of the shore upon which Hastings is founded. The earliest reference to Hastings is contained in the Chronicle of Simeon of Durham, written in the 12th century, who compiled his record from earlier Saxon documents: that in 771 Offa, King of the Merceans, subdued by force of arms the Race of the Hastingi. From this race or tribe some writers claim our town received its name, while others state it was derived from a Danish Pirate of that name whose followers overran this part of the coast about 893. The former belief is supported by Sharon Turner in his History of the Anglo-Saxons, while the latter is given on the authority of Camden. The former claims the more credence, as it was discovered that the town was known as a port a century before the Viking Hastings flourished. Cole, in quoting from Taylor's Words and Places, says, "The Hastings, the noblest race of the Goths, seem to have held the eastern part of Sussex (known since the Conquest under the name of the rape of Hastings) as an independent community. Portus Novus falling into their hands after its adandonment by the Romans, became their capital, and thus acquired the name of Hastings by which it has ever since been known." And in the Charter granted by the Abbey of St. Denis in 790, Hastings is described as a Seaport. Dawson further states that "The earliest direct and unquestionably genuine reference to Hastings is that in the law of Athelstan, where a moneyer is appointed to the Mint at Hastings." This would point to the importance of Hastings as early as 924. This Mint is said to have been (as was usual) within the precincts of a fortress, and leads to the supposed existence of a Castle here before the Conquest. One of the earliest masters of the Hastings Mint was named Bridd according to Ruding in his work on coinage. Cole suggests him as an ancestor of the present family of Breeds (which family can certainly claim a long ancestry here). Another local writer has ventured an opinion that Bridd's descendants are represented by the local family of Brett or Britt on the ground that double D is pronounced like th. Might not Bridd have been a Welshman? There [ 13 ]are coins existing of several reigns struck at this Mint bearing the name of Bridd and sometimes Brid. For all the known recorded evidences relating to Saxon Hastings, readers should refer to Dawson's History of Hastings Castle. Only peeps of it can be found and these are interestingly dealt with. The best known history of the Old Town commences with the Norman Conquest, after which the Conqueror took steps to make himself acquainted with the country over which he reigned. He ordered a Castle to be dug, on the site of the ruins of which now crown the heights of the West Hill, and the Domesday record which he had compiled remains a monument of his sagacity as a ruler. Dawson mentions the probability of the town of Hastings being destroyed at the time of the Norman Invasion in 1066. The "New Burg" of Domesday not improbably refers to the beginning of the new town of Hastings to the eastward, where it now stands, "in the valley of the Bourne," which forms part of the present Manor of Brede, and was presented to the Abbey of Fecamp of which mention is made elsewhere in this work.


For two centuries prior to the Norman Conquest the country was in an unsettled state. It was overrun by the Danes when, in 871, King Alfred, after many vicissitudes, vanquished this warlike people and framed a code of laws, formed an army and navy, surveyed and subdivided the country and promoted education. In the following reign (Athelstan) the Mint was established within the fortress at Hastings. Edward the Confessor restored the Saxon dynasty in 1042 and from the Abbey of Fecamp received the important grant of Rye, Winchelsea, and the Bourne Valley in Hastings already alluded to. In 1050 the famous Godwin Earl of Wessex was engaged in naval warfare in which Hastings played her part, first against and then on his side. It was in the reign of the Confessor that Hastings was joined with Dover, Sandwich, Hythe, and Romney in the famous and privileged community of the Cinque Ports, the institution of which and the honours conferred upon the Cinque Ports in recognition of their provision of the Navy of England, have been kept alive to the present day although their ancient rights are now recognised by courtesy only and their attendance at the Coronation of King Edward VII. and George V. is but a shadow of their former privilege. Edward the Confessor died on the eve of Epiphany, 1066, when Harold was crowned King of England. Then followed that great event which changed the destinies of our country, the conquest of Britain by William of Normandy, which has made Hastings so familiar to the whole civilised world, and deprived Harold of his life and crown. The circumstances attending the invasion are matter of the chronicles of the time, and appertain to the general history of the period, [ 14 ]that it is almost irrelevant to repeat them here. Freeman's History of the Norman Conquest has superseded all modern accounts and is deeply interesting. The Conqueror's Legions landed on the flats of Pevensey, and in the formation of his plans of attack is said to have made Hastings his headquarters. To commemorate his victory the monks who attended William encouraged him to erect a monastery on the site where Harold fell and dedicate it to Saint Martin of Tours. Battle Abbey is the monument of the event. The chroniclers of the time mention that a large tract of country around Hastings was devastated by William's troops. The Conqueror, after the battle, ordered the construction of a wooden fortress at Hastings and the digging of a trench, a forerunner of the more lasting building of stone, the ruins of which still exist on the West Hill, the commander, according to Dawson, being Humphrey of Tilleul, one of his vassals. The conquest of England was accomplished after nearly twenty years of constant strife and bloodshed, during which period the faithful followers of the Conqueror were rewarded by grants of lands and estates confiscated from their Saxon owners to the victors. When the country became subservient to the new conditions in 1085-6, William ordered a general survey of England, a complete census of the people, their lands and possessions known as Domesday Book, the extraordinary detail of which has been looked upon as a marvel of lucidity. It was intended to be a register to determine the right in the tenure of estates, "to discover the quantity of every man's fees and to fix his homage, that is the question of military aid he was bound to furnish." From it the question of whether lands be ancient demesne or not, is sometimes still decided. Camden says "This Domesday Book was the tax book of King William." The taxes were levied according to this survey till the reign of Henry VIII., when, at the Reformation, a fresh survey was taken. The chief interest in the Conquest is the change that it is always said to have exercised in the character of the institutions of England. It is asserted that the feudal system existed before the arrival of the Normans, but was more rigidly applied after the Conquest, and Hume speaks of the division of the kingdom into so many knight's fiefs, into so many baronies, and the complete reorganisation of the whole constitution.

Dawson states "The Castle of Hastings was probably strongly garrisoned in 1085, when the Danes under Cnut were expected to' invade England. And in speaking of the Domesday record mentions a striking omission of Hastings Castle or Town. That probably beneath the shadow of Hastings Castle in the valley to the East there had sprung up one of those Norman boroughs so frequently founded and fostered by the new Lords, consisting of a colony of tradesmen and craftsmen as an adjunct to the new garrison colony. Such may have been the 'New Burg' which according [ 15 ]to Domesday was founded on the lands of the Abbot of Fecamp and the 'Nove Hasting' of the Ripe Rolls."

Thus we get the first peeps at the Hastings of the present time. Count Robert of Eu was the first Lord of the Castlery of Hastings which remained in his family for many years, and who founded the Collegiate Church of St. Mary-in-the-Castle, Hastings, within its walls, some remains of which still exist.

At the death of William I. William Rufus, his second son, was appointed his successor to the Throne of England, and during his reign he occupied the Castle and held his Court there, and summoned the Bishops and Lords to do homage to their new King. By all accounts his court was corrupt and immoral. Archbishop Anselm admonished Rufus without effect, which led to a bitter feud between them. While his elder brother, Robert of Normandy, disputed by arms his right to the throne, Rufus assembled at Hastings an army for the purpose of crossing to Normandy ; but the enterprise was abandoned and the quarrel subsided. During this reign Hastings was prominent as the centre of naval and military activity. A revolt of the Norman nobles who supported Robert's cause against Rufus, during which the Castles of Pevensey and Hastings were attacked and defended, while a fleet of warships guarded the coast and prevented the landing of a powerful army from Normandy sent by Duke Robert. The men of Hastings in their ships took an active part in attacking the advance of Robert's army, and it is recorded that "William's cruisers slew many of them on their passage to England, sank others at sea, so that no one could tell the number that perished." The History of Hastings Castle is the History of Hastings, and I commend readers to Mr. Charles Dawson's History of Hastings Castle, in which a connected account of the Castle and the Church of St. Mary-in-the Castle from its foundation in 1066 to the suppression of Monasteries 1547, will be found. Students of local history are under the deepest obligation to Mr. Dawson for his incomparable work, which should be in the library of all lovers of Hastings.

The Castle had been for centuries prior to the Dissolution in ruins, and at the death of Henry VIII., the Castle and Rape of Hastings was in the possession of the Earl of Huntingdon's family, so far as the Castle itself, but the Collegiate buildings had been granted to Sir Anthony Browne. Mr. Dawson gives us extracts from the original indenture of the sale of the Rape and Castle of Hastings to Thomas Pelham, Esq., in the 33rd of Elizabeth's reign (1591) whose descendant, the Earl of Chichester, is the present owner. What the civil and social life of its inhabitants was at this early period is obscure. Piracy on the high seas was rife, and doubtless export and import smuggling was the occupation of its bold and lawless sea rovers for centuries and continued till well into the 19th century, as recorded by Mr. Durrant Cooper, and later by Mr. John Banks in his "Smugglers and Smuggling." [ 16 ]
1291 Map of Hastings P. F. M. Cole.png

By permission of Mr. P. F. M. Cole Augmented Map of Hastings.

Hastings Castle 1800.png

(Lent by Museum Committee) Hastings Castle, . 1800.--The Gun Garden, shewing the Lime Kilns and the Condemned Hole on the Beach near Beach Cottages. [ 17 ]===NOTES. ON THE MAP OF HASTINGS.--Page 16.===

The map reproduced on the opposite page, was used by the late Mr. Cole to illustrate his theory and contention that a Roman Settlement existed on or near the site of our town, and that the submerged town was some distance south of White Rock, and west of the Castle and Priory. By following the key, the reader will be able to locate the churches and other places known to have existed, but long since disappeared, through inundation of the sea and other causes. The Churches dedicated to St. Leonard, St. Margaret, and St. Michael, mentioned in Pope Nicholas' Register, together with the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen are shown west of the Priory and Haven ; the Church of St. Andrew and the Collegiate Chapel of St. Mary-in-the Castle, East of the Priory and Haven ; and St. George's on the East Hill, of which all traces, I believe, have disappeared, while the ruins of others have been brought to light in comparatively modern times. All Saints and St. Clement's Churches still remain in the Bourne Valley. The number of Churches would point to the former existence of a considerable community within what is now the western part of modern Hastings. The old Churches of St. Leonard, St. Margaret, and St. Michael, are mentioned by the Bishop of Chichester in his register 1440, as "having suffered from the depredations of the sea in the last hundred years and they had no longer any churches." a St. Leonards Church is said by Mr. Durrant Cooper to have stood upon the site of the Wesleyan Church, Norman Road, St. Leonards. The late Alderman Robert Deudney remembered that in removing some of the cliff at the rear of 50, Eversfield Place, the ruins of St. Margaret's Church were discovered. Some of the ruins of St. Michael's Church were found upon the site of the Coastguard Station above Claremont, when the cliffs were removed for building operations, about 1834.

{Horsfield's Sussex, Vol. /., p. 543.) St. Andrew's Church is called in Pope Nicholas' Register, "S. Andrew before the Castle." The word before may have some significance, as the site of this was in close proximity to the drawbridge of the castle, on the north-west side, or in front of the entrance, and near the site of the present Castle-Down Terrace. Horsfield, p. 452, says : "The ruins of St. Andrew's Church stood within 15 years (1819). The site was sold and desecrated to building purposes, in violation of the dead, and the patronage of the rectory, although vested in the Corporation by royal grant, and confirmed by Act of Parliament." St. George's Church. This Church marked on the map on the East Hill, is not reported in the register of Pope Nicholas, 1291, or the Chichester Register. The late Mr. Thomas Ross said :- [ 18 ]"I have seen a map of Sussex in Chichester Cathedral, of ancient date, on which was depicted a tower. I obtained the permission of the Countess Waldegrave and her tenant, Mr. Waters, to make excavations on the East Hill. The building appears to have stood east and west, if I may judge by a wall opened up by me for about one hundred feet, which terminated at the western end in an angular bend towards the cliff. I cut trenches across the Hill within the wall, and came upon a cist or coffin of Caen stone.

Also several bodies, very perfect, on layers of charcoal, and some iron rivets and large headed nails. I am sorry to say I was disappointed not having found anything to throw light upon the probable date of the wall, etc.,'" Suss. Arch. Coll., vol. IX., p. 366. It is to be. noted that Ross makes no mention of a church. Dawson, in his History of Hastings Castle, briefly refers to Ross's remarks, and ventures the opinion "that from the discovery of human skeletons, there might have been a 13th century cemetery there."

Horsfield's Sussex, vol. I., p. 452, states : "There is an old burying ground still partly enclosed (1834), but used only as a grazing ground, on the top of the East Hill in All Saints' Parish. It is called St. George's for which I have had nc satisfactory reason or authority given, and am further at a loss to assign a name to it. as the small decay benefices already recited were all on the western side of the town.

From old deeds of 1713 I have had the opportunity of perusing, it is clear the East Hill was known and commonly mentioned in some of these deeds of the 17th and 18th centuries as St. George's Hill. Although Horsfield confesses ignorance as to the origin of the old burial ground discovered there, the best account is given by T. H. Cole, Antiquities of Hastings, 1884, p. 143 : "The enclosure (on East Hill) is far too small to be a (Roman) Camp ; it is, in fact, the churchyard of the ancient and forgotten Church once dedicated to St. George, the whole Hill having been known as St. George's, and the right of way to the Hill being due to its having been on the high road to the Church, and should be religiously preserved. As late as 1579, we read that Thomas Lam had one messuage called St. George's, and lands and tenements, amounting to 60 acres, called St. George's Hill, in the port of Hastings, worth £20 a year. Mr. Rainolds, the Town Clerk, paid nine shillings a year for St. George's Hill, in 1656. The enclosure now used as a garden is attached to the living of All Saints, and on its southern side a few stones in a portion of the wall still commemorate the precise site of the Church ; near the extreme western point of the East Hill once stood an ancient round tower or Pharos. When that fell into decay the Tower of St. George's would form an admirable sea mark for mariners making for Hastings Harbour. The Church seems to have been destroyed with the rest of the town by the French in 1378, and never rebuilt." One of the librarians of the British Museum has expressed his opinion that Cole's account is the best he could find. Letter from British Museum, April 18th, 1901. [ 19 ]

Key to the Map.

No. 1. All Saints' Church.

No. 2. Court House (mentioned as the prison erected by the Abbot of Fecamp), giving the name to Courthouse Street, stood on the present site of the Police and Fire Station at the bottom of Courthouse Street, and facing Bourne Street.

No. 3. Hospital Chapel. - St. Mary Magdalen Hospital Chapel, a view of the ruins of which is shown elsewhere, and formerly stood near De Cham Avenue. . No. 4. Hundred. Or the Hundred Place. The site of this is shown in the Corporation Map of 1746. It was an open place with an entrance in High Street, near Mr. Stanger's Shop (No. 57) and Winding Street or Lane, where the election of M.P.'s, Mayors and Jurats, was carried out for centuries. (See Moss's guide, 1824.)

No. 5. Lady's Parlour. Part of the Castle Ward outside the walls and the inner' ditch or trench.

No. 6. Warrior's Gate. Norman Road, near the site of the present Warrior's Gate Hotel, so called as having some connection with the assembly of warriors before the Battle of Hastings.

No. 7. Priory. On the banks of the old Haven. The Priory of the Holy Trinity which existed in the 12th Century, 1191 (Richard I.) and destroyed by the sea about 1430.

No. 8. The Watergate. This stood at the north end of Bourne Street, and is more fully described in connection with the Bourne Stream and Bourne Street and the remains are there shewn.

No. 9. The College. This refers to the College and Chapel of St. Mary-in-the-Castle within the Castle Walls.

No. 10. Roman Iron Works. On the Banks of the old Haven. The site would seem to correspond with that of part of the Alexandra Park, near the Spa Gate, as some distance above it is shown the tributary stream running through Pond Bay Bridge, Ore Lane.

No. 11. Embankments. Off White Rock spoken of in connection with the submerged town.

No. 12. Town Wall and Towers. The Old Town was formerly walled in from the East End of [[George Street to the bottom of All Saints' Street and the Towers are shewn in the Map.

No. 13. Watershed between the Bourne and Priory Valleys. The Market Cross, Gensing Manor, Ore Manor, Old Roar, Hole Farm. The Old Pier (Elizabeth's Reign), Roman Camp, and Pharos (or lighthouse) are also shown. The Haven, which Mr. T. H. Cole claims to be the Portus Novus (or new Port) of the Romans. This Haven is [ 20 ]also shewn in the Corporation Map of 1746. John of Gaunt's House (1380), Lord of the Rape of Hastings (Edwd. III.). He is said to have occupied a Religious House at a spot near Ore Place. The three rivers or streams, namely : The Asten, at Bulverhythe, The Priory Brook, sometimes called Old Roar Stream, and the Bourne Stream, are shown ;the two latter as running into the Sea at the site of the Elizabethan Pier.[3].


This view of the old Castle has been chosen as the earliest one at my disposal, and lent by the Museum Committee. It was presented to the Museum by Miss Wood, of St. Leonards, and shows the projecting position of the Cliff called the Gun Garden," now destroyed, and now represented by Castle Gardens and Castle Street, and possibly Caroline Place. The rough road from the suburbs (now George Street) to the Priory. The old building on the right is believed to be The Condemned Hole, at the back of Beach Terrace, where smuggling craft captured by the Preventive Service were taken and destroyed. The buildings on the left are Lime Kilns which were owned by the Breeds family, and marks the site of part of the east side of Wellington Square and Castle Hill Road. The field now used as the Garden in Wellington Square was called the Priory Field. Several views of this locality are shown. Mr. Charles Dawson on the Frontispiece of his History of Hastings Castle gives an earlier view of the Castle dated 1750, taken from the same locality, showing the Gun Garden, and the remains of the ancient Harbour, and what would appear to be the Priory Water, but without the Lime Kilns, which probably did not then exist.

Mr. Dawson has suggested to me that I should include in this work a copy of the descriptive tablets he has so thoughtfully placed upon the ruins of the Castle, which are a great assistance to Antiquarians and the public visiting the Castle, and I append them here. On approaching the entrance and just before reaching the gates on the left hand is :-

No. 1. Site of the Drawbridge over the Moat now filled up. And Barbican Gate.

No. 2. Site of Eastern Tower of Gateway, with entrance to Dungeon,, on left of present entrance gate, outside it.

No. 3. Site of Main Gatehouse, probably towered on each side. Foundations remain.

No. 4. Hastings Castle ("Haestinga Caester" of the Anglo-Saxons).

[A General Description.]

Dismantled by Harold, 1066. [ 21 ]Restored by William I., 1066.

Considerably added to, and Keep built by Henry II., 1172.

Restored by Henry III., 1225.

Ruined by neglect and by the sea after 14th and 15th Centuries.

There was an inner and outer dry Moat running around the Castle, except, perhaps, on the sea side ; also an inner and outer Ward, the latter being on the east side of the Castle, separated from it by the inner Moat.

No. 5. Carved Stones discovered among the ruins of the Church.

No. 6. The Collegiate Church, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary (in and after the time of Edward I., known as the Royal Free Chapel). Built by Robert, Count of Eu, 1070.

Burnt 1216. Rebuilt 1225.

Fell into decay in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Dissolved and finally ruined, 1547.

No. 7. Chancel Arch, date 1225.

No. 8. Choir of Collegiate Church.

No. 9. Second Chancel Arch. Foundation alone remains.

No. 10. Chancel of Collegiate Church.

No. 11. Site of Central Tower with spire. Stairway to the Turret.

No. 12. Sedelia. (Seats for the Canons officiating at the Altar.)

No. 13. Mural Arcade. (Seats for the Canons.)

No. 14. Nave of Collegiate Church. (Part of the Wall rebuilt 1824).

No. 15. Pillar Piscina. (Or Holy Water Stoup).

No. 16. Site of Font.

No. i7- Narthex, or Vestibule, with chambers for reception of Pilgrims.

No. 18. Sally Port. (Entrance on outside now blocked.)

No. 19. North-west Tower of Church

No. 20. Site of Dean and Canon's Houses.

No. 21. Portion of Rampart Walk on the Wall.

No. 22. Traces of Machiolation. [Openings for pouring boiling lead, etc., upon the enemy.]

No. 23. Site of South West Tower of Church. (The Castle formerly extended further south, and this portion was destroyed by the sea, chiefly in the 14th and 15th Centuries.)

No. 24. Site of the Norman Keep (Rectangular) built bv Henry II.,1172.

No. 25. Eastern Curtain of the Wall of Castle. (Built bv Henry III., 1225.)

No. 26. The South or Watch Tower. (Remains of window slits.)

No. 27. Mural Passage (commencing South Tower and Gateway.)

No. 28. Remains of Gateway Tower's, with Portcullis. (A Wooden Bridge was built over the inner Moat from the inner Ward to the outer Ward, 1225.) [ 22 ]No. 29. The Castle Mount. Site of the Anglo-Saxon or the earlier Norman Keep. (This Mound is probably that shown in the Bayeaux Tapestry.) By keeping to the right on entering the gate the visitor should have no difficulty, in the absence of a guide, in identifying the portions of the ruins described on these tablets, and will find the pleasure of his visit enhanced by studying them.

No. 30. The outer earthwork, commonly known as "The Lady's Parlour," divided from the Castle Ramparts by the inner Moat, and formerly reached by a bridge over the moat on the North Eastern Side (see No. 28).

A.D. Chief Events in the History of the Castle.

924. Athelstan established a Mint probably Within the Saxon fortress.

1066. Dismantled by Harold.

1066. Restored by William I.

1070. The Collegiate Church in the Castle established by Robert, Count of Eu.

1087-9. William II. held his Court in the Castle.

1094. Rufus and Archbishop Anselm at the Castle.

1155. Thomas a Becket appointed Dean of the King's Free Chapel in the Castle.

1172. Henry II. made extensive additions and built the Keep.

1216. Largely destroyed by King John during his troublous reign.

1225. Castle restored by Henry III.

1320. Priests of the Church of St. Mary-in-the-Castle denounced for gross immorality.

1330. Decay of the Royal Free Chapel. Grants for repair. Ed. III.

1337. Chapel further decayed. French capture the Castle and plunder it.

1342. Hastings Rape and Castle granted to John of Gaunt.

1377. Town of Hastings burnt Richard II. Castle exempt from repair.

1410. Henry IV. Further decay of Chapel. Canons and Vicars rebuked for neglect.

1412. Rape of Hastings granted to Sir John Pelham.

1428. Rape of Hastings forfeited by Sir John Pelham.

1446. Rape granted to Sir Thomas Hoo, a descendant from Eu family.

1448. Hoo created Lord Hastings with the Honour of Hastings and Castle.

1547. Finally ruined and Church dissolved.

During the 14th and 15th Centuries the Castle was ruined by neglect and the ravages of the Sea.

1591. The Honour of the Castle purchased by Sir Thomas Pelham, whose descendant, the Earl of Chichester, is still the owner.

[ 23 ]
Images from Page 29 of Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png
[ 24 ]


"The five great ports on the Coast of Sussex and Kent lying -- opposite to France Hastings, Dover, Hythe, Sandwich, and -- Romney were of considerable importance during the Anglo-Saxon period ; and in a charter of Edward I. we find a reference to a previous document granted them by Edward the Confessor. But it was subsequent to the Battle of Hastings that the Conqueror, in order that he might wield the resources of the seaports with greater vigour, constituted this whole line of coast into a jurisdiction entirely separate from the counties of Sussex and Kent, and erected it into a sort of County palatine, under a Warden or Guardian, the seat of whose administration was at Dover Castle. The Warden, whose office corresponded to that of the ancient Count of the Saxon Coast, exercised jurisdiction, civil, military, and naval, uniting in his single person the functions of sheriff, custos rotulorum, lord-lieutenant, and admiral. Privileges equal to those originally bestowed on the Cinque Ports were subsequently extended to the so-called ancient towns of Winchelsea and Rye ; and all the seven municipal towns except Winchelsea had subordinate ports and towns attached to them, which were called limbs or members. In place of the Saxon terms of aldermen and freemen, those of jurats and barons were introduced, and the latter term has always been applied to the representatives of the Cinque Ports in Parliament.

Their chief function in early times was to furnish such shipping as was required for the purposes of the State, the Crown having possessed no permanent navy previous to the reign of Henry VII. In the time of Edward I. they were bound to provide no less than fifty-seven ships, fully equipped and manned at their cost limited to fifteen days, and if extended beyond fifteen days, then after at the cost of the Crown. The ports in return for their services enjoyed many privileges, such as exemptions from tax and tallage, the right to make their own by-laws, etc., and curious rights over the affairs of Yarmouth during the great herring fair which lasted forty days.

In consequence of the warlike navy which they were thus compelled to maintain, the Cinque Ports became so confident and audacious as not only to undertake piratical expeditions, but even to make war and form confederacies as independent states. Previous to the Revolution of 1688 (James II.) the lord-wardens nominated one and sometimes both of the parliamentary representatives for each of the Cinque Ports ; but in 1689 (William III.) an Act was passed to 'declare the right and freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament for the Cinque Ports.' The Acts of 1832 and 1885 reduced the number of members sent to Parliament by the Cinque [ 25 ]Ports from sixteen to three, and the Municipal Reform Act has broken up the ancient organisation of the ports, and assimilated their internal arrangements to those of other English Municipalities. The ancient Courts of Shepway and Brotherhood and Guestling are still occasionally held, but their powers scarcely extend beyond matters of form. The Lord Warden's jurisdiction, in relation to civil suits and proceedings, was abolished in 1835. His official residence is Walmer Castle, a structure of Henry VIII.'s time, and here, as Warden, the Duke of Wellington lived every autumn from 1829 till his death there in 1852." Chambers' Ency. Ref. Burrows' Cinque Ports (1888).

In dealing with "Hastings of By-gone Days" it is proper that we should hear what the earlier chroniclers have to say of this ancient community which have contributed so much to our maritime supremacy and formed the cradle of those adventurous mariners of Hastings, and a race of hardy fishermen who place their services at the disposal of King and country whenever needed and called upon.

"From its earliest recorded history a hardy and daring race of mariners hailed from the Port of Hastings." Saxon Chronicle, 1050.

"A little before that, the men of 'Hastinga-Ceastre' and there-abouts, won two of his (Sweyn's) ships with their ships, and slew all the men, and brought the ships to Sandwich to the King." In this account we find the first mention of the mariners of Hastings as a distinct body in the King's service. Dawson.

Jeake's Charters of the Cinque Ports is the recognised authority on this subject, and from which the following extracts are taken. The author, Samuel Jeake, senior, was born at Rye in 1623, was Town Clerk for eleven years ; he lived in Mermaid Street, his house is preserved, and a tablet is placed upon it.

In his book the following appears : -" Advertisement. This Book was wrote in 1678, and had then the Approbation of the Lord Chief Justice North ; but the Author soon after dying, it was not printed, and perhaps never had been, if the late Lord Chief Baron Gilbert had not seen the MSS. and thought it would be useful to the World. No considerable alterations have happened in the Limits of the Ports since that time, except the Incorporation of Deal." It was published in 1728. The original in Latin, is translated into English, and the two are set side by side.

"The records, charters, and proceedings of the Cinque Ports are kept at New Romney, in a book called the Black Book, access to which is somewhat difficult. From this Jeake drew his materials for his very elaborate and valuable History of the Cinque Ports, written in the early part of the last century, a very scarce tract at this time, and rarely, indeed, now to be met with." Moss, 1824.

The Mariners of Hastings are again mentioned by Henry of Huntingdon, 1088 "When the Duke Robert of Normandy (elder brother of William II.) was preparing a powerful army in Normandy [ 26 ]for the invasion of England, sent on a vanguard to the support of Odo at Pevensey. But the English who guarded the sea, amongst the chief of whom we may reckon the Hastings Buscarls (crews of the Busses or Transports) attacked the fleet of this advanced force, and an immense number of the enemy were either put to the sword or drowned." Dawson.

The following is an extract from the Charter of Edward I. "Edward, by the Grace of God, etc., greeting. We have seen a certain Certificate before us, into the Chancery by the Treasurer, the Barons of our Exchequer, at our command late sent, specifying the Royal Services yearly due, from the Cinque Ports with their members, if need be, among other things, in these words, etc" . . .

"Hastings is an head Port, whose members are, viz., Winchelsea, Rye, the Lowey of Pevensey, and Bulverhythe, in the County of Sussex, Beaksborne, and Grenvele, in the County of Kent ; which Port, with its members aforesaid, ought to find twenty and one ships, and in every ship there ought to be twenty and one men, strong, apt, well-armed, and prepared for the services of the King ; so that the summons thereof be made of the part of the King 40 days before. And when the said ships and men in them being, shall come to the place to which they were summoned, they shall tarry there in the service of our Lord the King by 15 daies, at their own costs ; and if the King shall need their services after the aforesaid 15 daies, or will them there to tarry, the ships, with the men in them, being in the service of the King, shall be abiding at the costs of the King, as long as it shall please the King, viz., The Master shall take sixpence per day, and the Constable six pence per day, and everyone of the others shall take three pence per day.". . . .

Kent : Romney, the Head Port, Old Romney and Lydde, members of the same, shall find to the King five ships in form aforesaid. The Port of Hithe ought to find the King five ships in form aforesaid. Dover is an Head Port ; whose members are, viz., Faversham, Folkestone, and Margate, and the Port ought to find Twenty and one Ships.

Sandwich is an Head Port, whose members are Fordwich, Stonor, and Sarre, which with its members ought to find Five Ships in form aforesaid. The sum of the service of the Cinque Ports, 57 ships. And as to the Service in the Coronation, etc., it is contained in the same Booke thus : In the 20 yeare, of King Henry, son of King John, Queen Elianor, the daughter of Hugh, Earl of Provence being crowned at Westminster on Sunday before the purification of the Blessed Marie, among other things it is found thus: And a cloth foure square of purple silke by foure Staves Silvered over, borne up with foure little bells silver and gilt, over the King, going whither he would, did the Barons of the Cinque Ports assigned beare at every Staffe Foure, according to the diversity of the Ports, lest Port should be preferred to Port. Likewise the same, a Silke Cloth over the Queene going after the King ; which said clothes they did claime to be theirs of right and obtained them in Court. [ 27 ]. . . . "And the Barons of the Cinque Ports affirmed their Right of sitting at the King's Table the same day, at the right hand of our Lord the King and so they sate . . . . . These are the services which the Barons of the Cinque Ports owe to our Lord the King."

"Of these affairs, one of the principal was to receive the report of the Bailiff sent to Yarmouth and Dunwich in Norfolk and Suffolk every year at the time of the great Herring Fair, during the forty days of which the Cinque Ports claimed to have a jurisdiction superseding the local authorities. This privilege, like many another, seems to have survived the time in which it was needed, and to have become a burden and source of strife. Jeake gives the following account of its origin: "Hither" (to Yarmouth) "resort the fishermen of the ports, and other sea towns, every year in the fishing season, for herrings, who, by a wonderful and rare Providence, having their constant course once a year round this island, about the Autumnal Equinox, begin to keep their quarters on these coasts. And, to repress and prevent disorders arising among the multitude upon the sale and delivery of the herrings brought ashore there, for want of a settled government in that town, or, as hereafter noted, for want of a town built, the Ports used to send thither yearly, certain men as their bailiffs, that, during the time of this Herring Fair, they might abide there, and govern all the fishing season."

When, however, the town of Yarmouth sprang up, and had a magistracy of its own, they naturally disliked any interference with their government, and hence arose constant collisions which issued on one occasion in the murder of one of the Ports' Bailiffs, by a bailiff of Yarmouth, for which the execution of the homicide, Yarmouth had to pay a yearly tribute of herrings, or its equivalent in money. In 1858 the late Alderman T. Ross extracted from the Records of Hastings and published an interesting tract on this subject from which is taken the following : "At what time bailiffs were first sent to Yarmouth from the Cinque Ports is not known. Manship the historian of Yarmouth, 1619, says 'it is in my opinion very clear, that from the landing of Cerdicus in anno 495, now 1124 years past, the sand by defluxion of tides by little and little lift his head above waters, and in so short time after sundry fishermen, as well as this kingdom, viz., the five ports (being then the principal fishermen of England) resorted thither, where they continued in tents made for the purpose, by the space of forty days.'

"Edward the Confessor granted in his Charter to the Cinque Ports the right of Strond and Denne (right to land and sell, and to dry their nets on the land called Dennes) at Yarmouth, which right appears to have been infringed by Robt. Leasinge, Bishop of Norwich, who, in 1101, built a small chapel in the Dean or Dozone of Yarmouth, then being sand. But the very next year after the same was finished, the barons of the five ports coming thither, as usually they did, to fish there, they being then (as hath been before declared) the principal fishermen of England, did bring their priest with them, [ 28 ]who did remove, expel, and evil entreat the bishop's priest, there formerly placed, etc." wt This is the earliest account we have of the quarrels and jealousies that ever after existed between the men of the Ports and the men of Yarmouth, at times arising to a fearful height, as in 1296, when Edward I. passing into Flanders to aid the Earl against the French, was no sooner at land, but that through an old grudge betwixt the Portsmen and Yarmouth, they fell together and fought on the water in such earnest (notwithstanding the King commanded the contrary) that twenty-five ships of Yarmouth, and their partakers, were burned by the men of the Ports." Manship says that they killed 171 men, and destroyed goods to the value of £45,360.' " The number of bailiffs sent to Yarmouth in 1285, was ten (Laurence de Winfongers represented Hastings) which number was continued until 1347. In 1361 four only were commissioned by all the Ports, from Hastings., Winchelsea, Rye, and Romney.

The number continued to vary until 1555, when four were returned, and the year following three ; after which period the return was two bailiffs only, one to represent the West or Sussex Ports, Hastings, Winchelsea, Rye, the other, the East or Kent Ports, which number continued up to 1662, when the Ports ceased to send bailiffs to Yarmouth. The ceremony of their appointment is described in the old record called the Black Book, kept at New Romney.Jeake gives a very full description of this ancient privilege in the work, but sufficient has been recorded here to prove the importance of the powers granted to the five Cinque Ports and gives us an insight into the position held by Hastings of Bygone Days.


Jeake says, " Of the sort of ships, their build, their rig or tonnage little or no information is given to guide us, but the impress of the Seals of the Cinque Ports may afford some idea. For centuries their services were called into action for guarding the narrow seas from pirates infesting the coasts. King John (1215) in his retirement in the Isle of Wight was almost forsaken of all his kingdom after the Magna Charta was signed), save by the ships and mariners of the Cinque Ports which assisted him to recover all he had lost."

In Henry III. (1217), the ports armed forty ships under the command of Sir Hubert de Burgh, then Warden of the Ports, against Louis the French King's son, and utterly defeated the French Commander.

In Edward I. (1293-4) one hundred sail of the Ports Navy fought at sea a great French fleet, and although the enemy outnumbered them, they slew, took, and sunk so many that for a long time after the French ceased troubling.

In Edward III. (1336) the Navy of the Ports, together with other vessels under Geffery de Say, hindered the bringing of succour from foreign parts to the King's enemies in Scotland. [ 29 ]
Types of Ships of the Cinque Ports..png
[ 30 ]In Edward IV. (1475) the Cinque Ports Navy attended in the Downs for transporting the King and his army into France, embarking at Sandwich, and in 1491 (Henry VII.) found them engaged in a similar service, and brought the army back in the following year.

In Henry VIII. (15 1 3) the Ports Navy carried the King's army from Sandwich and Dover into France, and again in 1542 and 1544

In Elizabeth (1588) the Ports at her command set out five serviceable ships and a pinnace for her Majesty's service for two months, but they served four months at their own costs. These ships were of 160 tons each, and were engaged against the Spanish Armada. It will be seen the ships were larger in this reign, and great strides had been made in their construction and in naval enterprise. The Portuguese had succeeded in rounding the Cape of Good Hope and the passage to the East Indies, and Columbus had discovered America. However, it must be borne in mind that previously to the reign of Henry VII. there was no state navy, the ships of the Cinque Ports constituted the principal one, and these together with others from different ports were in those early times found sufficient for the defence of the Kingdom. In the reign of Henry VIII. the Royal Navy consisted of about fourteen large ships, measuring from 150 to 180 tons each. Queen Elizabeth so increased her navy that she deservedly acquired the title of "Restorer of Naval Power and Sovereign of the Northern Seas." The use of cannon, too, was now introduced, supplied probably from the Sussex and Kentish iron foundries.

It does not appear that any war ship was fitted out by the Ports after the reign of Charles I. (1626), for when Jeake in his diary tells us "that on July 4th, 1690, the English fleet passed by Rye in sight of the town moving towards the Downs before the French who were not yet come in sight/' he makes no mention of any ships coming from these Ports. The last sea service performed by the Ports, by virtue of their charters, wT as during the last war some time between 1793 and 1 8 14, when there was a draught made cf seamen to serve in the navy" (Holloway's Rye, p. 63). On a careful survey being made of the different sea services enumerated by writers on the History of the Cinque Ports it will be found that their ships and navies were engaged in the most important events of our history, and up to the period when the advance in the building of larger ships and in naval construction, when their services began to decline. - What changes in the construction of war ships the present generation have seen in a century is aptly described in a "Word Picture," by W. H. Fitchitt, LL.D., in writing a description of the Naval Review of King George's Coronation at Spithead, -- June 24th, 1911. "And here are the Dreadnoughts ships of new type in war. Any one of them, as far as fighting power is concerned, could have 'taken on' both the fleets that contended at Trafalgar, have sailed through them without suffering harm, and overtaken and sunk every ship in the two fleets at pleasure." [ 31 ]

The Rights of the Barons to Attend Coronations.

Having dealt with the history of the Cinque' Ports from the earliest recorded times to the period when their services became less urgent, and until they were dispensed with altogether, their attendances at Coronations of the Sovereigns was a privilege greatly coveted, and in earlier times of which we have records was generally allotted to the highest in authority or social position in the Ports, Members of Parliament, or Mayors. Quaint accounts of the Coronation proceedings are related in the "Collier Letters."

Those representing Hastings and were Canopy-Bearers at the Coronation of George II. and Queen Caroline (1727) were - Over the King :- Sir William Ashburnham, of Broomham, M.P. ; Thomas Pelham, Esquire, M.P., of Stanmer ; and Edward Dyne, Esquire (Mayor 1726-7). Over the Queen : The Hon. Thomas Townsend, Esquire, M.P. ; James Pelham, Esquire, M.P. (M.P., 1741) ; and John Collier, Esquire. The attendance of these Barons was the occasion of the presentation of the large silver Punch Bowl to the Corporation, made from their shares of the silver from their canopies and now in the Hastings Museum. At the Coronation of George III. and Queen Charlotte, 1761, the Canopy Bearers were Over the King : Edward Milward, Esquire (Mayor) ; Sir William Ashburnham, M.P. ; and James Pelham, Esquire. Over the Queen : Rose Fuller, Esquire ; Luke Spencer Esquire ; and Richard Ridout, Esquire.

These were elected by the Mayer, Jurats, and Commonalty at Common Hall. Those elected provided their own robes, besides "a handsome treat given at the time of their election of twenty guineas." The Barons, for reasons I am unable to state, did not attend the Coronations of either William IV. or Queen Victoria. Their claim, however, was made for their attendance at the Coronation of King Edward VII. and Queen Alexandra, when the good offices of the Duke of Norfolk, the Earl Marshall, supported by Lord George Hamilton, were sought. A meeting assembled in Court of Brotherhood and Guestling to draw up their claim, which had been carefully prepared by Mr. Inderwick, K.C., and Sir Wollaston Knocker. This meeting took place at the Premier Cinque Port of Hastings, and the following is a copy presented to the Court of Claims, when their Petition was graciously granted.

"To the Right Honourable the Commissioners of our Lord King Edward VII., appointed to receive, hear, and determine the petitions and claims of all persons concerning services to be done or performed by. then at the ensuing Coronation of their Majesties. [ 32 ]
Barons of the Cinque Ports.png
[ 33 ]" The Petition of the Barons of the Cinque Ports sheweth :

-- "1. That your petitioners represent the Mayors, Aldermen, Jurats, Freemen, and burgesses of the Five Ports, to wit, Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover, and Sandwich, and the two Ancient Towns of Rye and Winchelsea, together with the Limbs and Members of the same Ports and Towns, to wit, the Corporate Towns of Deal, Faversham, Folkestone, Lydd, Margate, and Ramsgate, assembled in Court of Brotherhood and Guestling, at the Ancient Town and Port of Hastings.

-- "2. That the area subject to the jurisdiction of the said Ports and Towns also includes sundry Non-corporate Members or Limbs, is situate principally along the coasts of Kent and Sussex and is commensurate with that formerly commanded by the Court of the Saxon Shore, and that the population thereof is at the present day about 200,000 souls.

-- "3. That this district constitutes what has ever been known as the Gates of the Kingdom, being that portion of His Majesty's territory which has always been selected as the most available for invasion. That every hostile landing upon the soil of this country, whether by Romans, Danes, or Normans, was within the limits of the Cinque Ports, and that during the time of Napoleon I., and even during that of Napoleon III., the coast of Kent or Sussex was indicated as the spot likely to be attempted.

-- "4. That from the time of His Majesty's ancestor, King Edward the Confessor, for many centuries, the Cinque Ports formed the nucleus of the King's offensive and defensive power. Their ships and sailors guarded his coasts, and accompanied him in his foreign wars, and the Ports were liable to, and did, find both ships and men when the safety of the country required their aid. That the Barons of the Cinque Ports thus became, and have ever been, regarded as the founders of the King's Navy, and in recognition of services thus rendered to them and their ancestors the Kings and Queens of this realm have at their Coronation required of the Barons certain duties, and conferred upon them certain rights.

-- "5. That at the Coronation of the Kings of England and Queens Consort, the said Barons were, from time immemorial, accustomed to carry over the head of every of the said Kings and Queens a cloth, called a canopy, of gold or purple silk, borne upon four lances or staves, ornamented with silver-gilt bells ; that sixteen of the said Barons were appointed to each King's canopy, and that a similar canopy was borne over the head of the Queen Consort by other sixteen Barons of the said Ports. That the said Barons were accustomed to have and take the said canopy or canopies, staves and bells, for their own use, and to dine, on the day of the Coronation, at a table in the Great Hall (where the King or Queen was accustomed to dine), at the right hand of the King or Queen. [ 34 ]-- "6. That the said Barons, in pursuance of their right of personal attendance upon the Sovereign at his Coronation have, from time immemorial, armed and in their liveries, met him as he came forth of his chamber in the Palace of Westminster, and conducted him under their canopy from the said hall to Westminster

Barons of the Cinque Ports in their Robes.

Screenshot 2023-12-12 at 13-12-52 page40-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.pdf.jpg.png Photo by A. R. Perry, by permission.

Alderman Frederick Adolphus Langham, J. P.

(Ex-Mayor of Hastings).

Abbey, and in the Abbey through the nave as far as the entrance to the choir, where the said Barons remained until the conclusion of the service in the choir. [ 35 ]
-- "7. That when the King came forth of the Choir the said Barons conducted him under the said canopy down the nave and back to the Hall, where they quitted His Majesty at the foot of the steps leading to the raised platform upon which the Royal tables were set.

-- "8. That His Majesty having been pleased by His Royal Proclamation to dispense with the rights or services connected with the ceremonial heretofore performed in Westminster Hall, and with the Procession in which the Kings and Queens of this country have for many generations been wont to take part, your petitioners are deprived of the honour and privilege of bearing.

Pg41-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.pdf.jpg.png

Photo by F. J . Parsons, Ltd.

by permission.

Alderman Robert William Mitchell, M.A., J. P.

(Mayor of Hastings 1910-11).

(The Mayor in his Robes as a Baron of the Cinque Ports is the central figure, behind him is the Deputy-Mayor (Councillor E. H. Harden), in his robes, followed by the Corporation, marching to Christ Church, St. Leonards, attended by the Mace Bearers, and the Town Crier with his staff).

the said canopies over their Majesties, and of thus performing the most important function incident to their personal attendance upon the King and His Royal Consort.

-- "9. Your petitioners, however, humbly pray that His Majesty will be graciously pleased to take into consideration their former great services to the Kings and Queens of this country, and to assign to your petitioners, as s ich Barons as aforesaid, or to such [ 36 ]of them as may be thought convenient, a station within the Abbey, where they may remain, as of old, in attendance upon the King and Queen, and that in all other respects their antient rights and privileges at Coronations of Kings and Queens of this country may remain undisturbed. "And your petitioners will ever pray, etc.
"(Signed), Salisbury,
"Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
"(Countersigned) Wollaston Knocker,
"Solicitor of the Ports.
"28th October, 1901."

Alderman Frederick Adolphus Langham, the Mayor of Hastings, was chosen by the Corporation to represent the Premier Cinque Port of Hastings and whose portrait in the magnificent robes of a Baron is here given.

The Coronation proceedings to celebrate the event were carried out at Hastings with the greatest possible signs of rejoicing. The poor and the school children were regaled and amusement provided for their pleasure, old English sports and pastimes were indulged in at the Fishmarket and Bohemia, the Volunteer Forces of all arms, with their guns, the Coastguards, Naval Brigade, Boys' Brigade, Cadets from several of the private schools, the Scout Boys, Salvation Army, Friendly Societies, and other organisations joined in a grand procession through the streets to the West Hill, where a feu de joie was fired. The day passed off with great eclat and concluded with a Bonfire on the West Hill. All business was suspended for two days, the occasion being one to be remembered by young and old.

Again (unhappily far too soon, owing to the lamented death of King Edward the Peacemaker), the Barons of the Cinque Ports attended the Coronation of King George V. on June 22nd, 1911, when the Mayor, Alderman R. W. Mitchell, was chosen and attended the Coronation of His Majesty and Queen Mary. His portrait is also given. The photo for this block was taken at Christ Church, St. Leonards, when the Corporation attended the service, and was accompanied by Alderman F. A. Langham, Councillor Joseph Adams, Mayor of Rye (a native of Hastings), and his Deputy, Alderman Frank Jarrett, all in their robes as Barons of the Cinque Ports. The Coronation festivities similar to those carried out at the Coronation of King Edward were repeated amid scenes of loyalty and enthusiasm.

1920. The Mayor of Hastings (Councillor W. Perrins, J. P.), elected Speaker of the Cinque Ports and a Meeting of the Brotherhood and Guestling was held at Hastings during this year. [ 37 ]


The following quaint and interesting account of the Coronation proceedings is extracted literally from the private collection of the "Collier Letters," by permission of Mr. Charles Lane Sayer, a descendant of John Collier, whose daughter, Sarah, married Henry Sayer.

5th October, 1727 (The Coronation of George II. and Queen Caroline). Mr. Collier, from London, to his wife at Hastings :
" I have not been able to learn many particulars about our Coronation affair, but I think its agreed we are not to have Esquires. There is to be a meeting of the Barons {of Cinque Ports) next Monday night to settle who are to support {Canopy Bearers) over the King and Queen in p'ticular. I have made no progresse in my Robes, nor shall not till I see what Others provide."

(In a Postscript to this letter he says, "Candles are risen 2s. 6d. a Dozen, on account of the Vast Quantity bought up for the Coronation Illuminations. I need not tell you that if they fire the Guns, none of the Children should be out.")

7th October, 1727 (Mr. Collier, from London, to his wife).

"Nothing else is talked of but the Coronation. I am in a little Dilemma about my robeing, but Lord Ashburnham yesterday offered me a Shirt and Neckcloth for the Ceremony, and I accepted. To buy one I should be much vexed. It must be full bottomed, and will cost, in my Complexion, 15 Guineas. I have seen the Wardrobe, and Every Thing is Exquisitely fine and Magnificient. Mr. Dyne {Mayor elect of Hastings) Came to Town this day about noon, and I have been Plagu'd with him to get his Accoutremts, but of this take no notice, for I think I have by this Manag'd soe as to Support the Queen's Canopy, wch I would not upon any accot loose. Itt's vastly the Greatest Honor and Indeed the Queen manages everything in the World. . . . We have Scarlet Robes lin'd with Crimson Sattin, wastcoats of the same Sattin, breeches of the same cloath, Scarlet worsted Stockings, because Silk will not take soe good a dye, black velvet Shooes with red heels, black velvet Caps, white Gloves, of wch the Topps are faced with Crimson, we are to wear Swords, and as to Wiggs and Linen as Rich as each Baron pleases."

-12th October, 1727 (Mr. Collier to his wife describes the Coronation). " I can now with pleasure Inform you that our Coronation affair (I mean as to the fatigueing pt) is happily over. Tomorrow at 12 we divide our Canopy, and the Shares of the Hasting 6 Barons is to goe into a Punch bowle, in perpetuity of the Grand Solemnity. I mean only the staves, as to the Canopy, we shall divide it amongst our selves, Tho' itt's not of Great Value. The Punch Bowle was proposed by Colonel Pelham, and thought mightily well of by our [ 38 ]Great Duke (of Newcastle) soe I readily joyn'd, and we are to have our names, and the occasion, etc., engraven on it. I shan't enter into p'ticulars of the Procession and Ceremoniall, hopeing soon to have the pleasure of speaking it to you, but the whole was of the Greatest Splendour and Magnificence itt's possible to be thought of. I was at the Queen's Canopy, much to my satisfaction, and the procession was very agreeable, tho' vastly fatigueing. I din'd to-day at the Duke's by a p'ticular Invitation with my Bro. Co-Baron Dyne, who took his pipe according to custom after Dinner and I am just now come back . . . . . Mr. Pelham, Col11. Pelham, Mr. Pelham of Stanmer, Sr . W. Ashburnham, Sr. Wm. Gage, etc., Dined with us where w7e have been exceeding merry, and without Hard Drinking. I shall now take leave, etc.,"

(In a postcript). " I can't forbear telling you that the Queen was Exceedingly obligeing in the procession, and talked very much to our corner of the Staves, Vizt Pelham and Townshend (M.P. forHastings) and soe I came in for my share. Her Train was borne by 7 Ladies (3 of them the 3 Princesses), Dressed as fine as is possible to be thought of, and in coming back the 3 young Ladies, ag* whom we then were, put on the same obligeing airs, and were very merry."

(The Punch Bowl was duly made and is preserved in Hastings Museum, and Mr. Collier's Robes passed into the possession of the late Countess Waldegrave and existed in the Museum in 1862 ; where they are now I know not). . . . Footnote by Mr. C. L. Sayer : " The Barons of the Cinque Ports on this occasion fared better than their predecessors at the Coronation of Charles II., who, after the ceremony, had to engage in a sort of 'tug of war', with the King's footmen for the possession of their Canopy." (See " Pepys's Diary," under date April 23rd, 1661.) Mr. Milward, Mr. Collier's son-in-law, filled a similar position at the Coronation of George III., and his son, Edward Milward, the younger, at that of George IV.

Ref . Moss has the following minute as to the election of the Barons from -- -- the Town Records : Hasting. At an Assembly of the Mayor, Jurats, and the commonalty, of the said town and port, held at the Common Hall, the 23rd September, 1727 ; the following gentlemen were elected barons for the 1st port. To support the Canopies over their Magestys King George the Second, and Queen Caroline at their Coronation, appointed for the 4th October, 1727 ; and then by proclamation deferred till Wednesday the 11th of the said month ; and the said gentlemen attended the service, and were at the whole expense of their robes, &c, without any charge to the Corporation, besides the handsome treat at the time of their election of 20 gns. Canopy Bearers to the -- King Sir William Ashburnham, Bart., Thomas Pelham of Stanmer, Esq., -- -- Edward Dyne, Esq. To the Queen The Hon. Thos. Townsend, Esq., James Pelham, Esq., John Collier, Esq. These Barons presented the Corporation with the Silver Punch Bowl, weighing 164 ozs. 18 dwts., and holds four gallons. The same was made out of their shares and dividends of the silver, &c, belonging to the said canopies. ' ' (This Bowl, sometimes used by the Mayor at Banquets, is now in the Hastings Museum.) [ 39 ]


There are little or no records of the social or commercial life of Hastings during this long period. What few glimpses we have are gathered from old Charters, from the Corporation Records, and from the earlier writers, of which Horsfield, Durrant Cooper, and Ross are the exponents. The Castle had fallen into decay from the encroachments of the sea. The site of the town being very low, for it had a haven running up the Priory Valley, which had been inundated and laid waste, while the Castle Cliff was to a very large extent gradually destroyed, until a portion projecting out, probably as far as Caroline Place, called the Gun Garden, disappeared. Horsfield's History of Sussex relates that in 1544, in a charter of Henry VIII., its state is described as -- "by the flux and reflux of the sea, and by the conflagrations of our enemies, not only of lands and tenements, but also of inhabitants, reduced to waste, destruction and poverty".

We obtain a further glimpse of its decay in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. She issued her letters patent authorising a collection for a new harbour at Hastings, when the town was described as "much decayed, the traffic of Merchants thither forsaken, the fishing, by reason of the dangerous landing, but little used, the rich and wealthy men gone thence, and the poor men would gladly do the like if without offence to our laws they might be elsewhere received, whereby our people are likely to perish, and our said port likely to be subverted and become desolate."

About 1578, a harbour was built near the end of the old parade, but was destroyed by the sea. One, William Relf, of Ore, was the projector of a new harbour in the same reign, but the money collected was, it seems, fraudulently spent, and nothing was done. The remains of the Elizabethan pier are now covered by the beach. In 1586, the country being threatened with the invasion of the Spanish Armada, a return was ordered to be made of the ships and mariners belonging to the town. The number of Hastings ships was 20, of a burden from 12 to 42 tons, having 32 masters and 326 mariners. The names of the manners and ships of Hastings which were engaged in the destruction of the Armada are on record, and many of these ate still familiar at the present day. The records give the names of 106, amongst them are those of Wood, Bossom, Butler, Taught, Tanner, Daniels, Hide, Ball, Wingfield, and others.

A further survey of the defences of the coast of Sussex was made in 1587 by Sir Thomas Palmer and Sir Walter Covert, the two deputy lieutenants of the county, a copy of which is now in the British Museum (King's Library). Of Hastings it is reported 'that the town is strongly seated and easily to be fortified.' [ 40 ]In March, 1595, an attempt was made by the men from the Cobb of Lyme to rebuild the pier. The first winter storm blew away, and a new work was begun. The Corporation Records contain several entries relating to the rebuilding. The work was completed. "Behold," says the records, "when men were most secure and thought the work to be perpetual, on All Saints' Day, 1597, appeared the mighty force of God, and overthrew this large work in less than an hour, to the great terror and amazement of all beholders." The Corporation were left in debt and the designs seem to have been for the time abandoned. Another attempt was made in 1635 by an eminent Dutch Engineer, to make a fresh harbour at the Priory Stream, at an estimated cost of £220,000, but nothing came of the movement. It was during Elizabeth's reign, in 1588, that Hastings received its charter of incorporation, with a Mayor and Twelve Jurats. Up to this time the chief Magistrate had borne the title of Bailiff; the first Mayor chosen was Thomas Have.

So far as the provision of a harbour is concerned, although the plans were made in the first half of the last century, for an expensive one from the Priory to the East Cliffs, the enormous cost made it an impossibility. The last attempt was made about 1893, when was begun the harbour at the Fishmarket, the arm of which remains as a reminder of the fact that for the period of over 300 years there has been at least seven attempts at building a harbour, none of which have proved practical propositions.

A plan of the Elizabethan pier, and the new work of 1S97 is given on p. 94, Vol. XIV., "Suss. Arch. Coll." It must be remembered that upon the destruction by the sea of the Saxon town clustering around the Priory, of which accounts are preserved, the "New Burg," sprung up in the Bourne Valley which we now know as the Old Town, between the East and West Hills. Up to the beginning of the 17th century it was practically confined to this valley.

The Official Records of Hastings contain the following

" 1601 (October 4) Richard Life, jurat, and Sir Thomas Sherley, Knight, were chosen Barons to Parliament.

" 1602 (June 11). Election of Thomas Nicholl as bailiff of the Bourne with instructions to have diligent care for those that lay their filth above the full sea mark. (This refers to the Bourne Stream running through the town.)

"1603 (July 11). At a meeting of the Brotherhood and Guestling decided how the Barons were to be apparelled for the Coronation of Kin^ Edward IV." [ 41 ]


The connection of this "famous" man with Hastings is mentioned in every guide book known to collectors, but little is stated beyond the fact that he was famous as an Informer in the Popish Plot.

Lent by Mr. Thomas Parktn.

The Trial of Titus Oates 1684-5.

The Corporation records contain an entry on 3rd August, 1675. "This assembly are agreed that Mr. Maior shall be advised by the ports Counsell at the public charge of this Corporacion, whether His Majesty's writ out of the Crown Office in the King's Bench proceeded at the suite of Titus Otes, Clerk, to remove thither the indictment of purjurie late preferred in Session against him by Francis Norwood, and served at the last Session, shall be defended or returned. The Writ was obeyed and the indictment returned." Suss. Arch. Coll., Vol XIV. F. Norwood was Town Clerk.

The following is an extract from The Universal Magazine of 1760 : "The year 1684 was almost wholly spent in establishing the King's acquired absolute power. (Charles II.)" . . . "To [ 42 ]Page48-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.jpg [ 43 ]
facilitate the condemnation of those whose prosecutions were resolved, the King had made Sir George JefFeries, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench. He was a man fit for the purposes of the Court, without honour or conscience, impudent to the last degree, and ever ready to betray his duty, and in the interests of Justice and the Kingdom, to recommend himself to those who were in power."

..... "The Duke of York (brother of Charles II.) also brought his action for Scandalum Magnatum against Titus Oates, for directly calling him a Traitor. For this offence the Court gave the Duke of York a hundred thousand pounds damages. Shortly after, he was indicted for perjury, in relation to Father Ireland's being in London at the time Oates swore to at his trial. Not long after another indictment of perjury was preferred against him in relation to his being present at the supposed consult of the Jesuits at the White Horse Tavern in 1678. But these indictments not being tried this reign, Oates continued in prison. He escaped with life, though properly condemned to perpetual imprisonment as not being able to pay their exorbitant fines."

On May 10th, 1685 (James II.), Oates was tried upon the second indictment of perjury concerning Father Ireland. The Attorney General (Sir Robert Sawyer), made a speech declaring Oates was one of the greatest impostors that ever did appear upon the stage, either in this Kingdom or any other nation. It must be observed that this Attorney General had been one of the Council for the King in 1678, to support and improve Oates' evidence. Oates desired it might be observed, that the King's Council who were now against him, had been for him in the trials of the five Jesuits, and particularly the Attorney and Solicitor General ; That Lord Chief Justice Jefferies, before whom his cause was pleading, was amongst the King's Council in 1678, and did then declare, " That the verdict against the five Jesuits was a just verdict." Above forty witnesses were produced against him, nine of whom were Protestants, who swore that Father Ireland was in Staffordshire, when Oates was in London ; and he was also found guilty of this indictment.

What is most strange, some pretend, there is not the least appearance of injustice or partiality in the verdict against Oates ; but on the contrary, the partiality is evident in the verdict against the five Jesuits. But, at least, it cannot be denied that there was a great deal of passion in the sentence against Oates, and much more in the execution of the same. The sentence was as follows :

1. That he should pay a fine of one thousand marks upon each indictment.

2. That he should be stripped of all his canonical habits.

3. That he should stand in the Pillory before Westminster Hall Gate upon Monday next, for an hour's time, with a paper over his head (which he must first walk with round about to all the Courts in Westminster Hall), declaring his crime; and that upon his first indictment [ 44 ]4. That for the second indictment, he should, upon Tuesday stand in the Pillory at the Royal Exchange in London, for an hour, with the same inscription.

5. On Wednesday he should be whipped from Aldgate to Newgate.

6. On Friday he should be whipped from Newgate to Tyburn.

7. And for annual commemorations, upon every 24th of April, as long as he should live, he was to stand in the Pillory at Tyburn, just opposite to the gallows for an hour.

Page 50-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.pdf.jpg.png

By J. S. Munn.

Lent by Rev. H. C. B. Foyster.

Another View of Titus Oates' House, probable date 1800.

8. That, upon every 9th of August, he was to stand in the Pillory at Westminster Hall Gate because he had sworn that Ireland was in town between the 8th and 12th of August ; the like on every 10th of August at Charing Cross, and over against the Temple gate every 11th of [ 45 ]August ; and upon every 2nd of September he was to do the same at the Royal Exchange. All this he was to do every year during his life, and be committed a close prisoner as long as he lived. After pronouncing this sentence, Jefferies added, that, if it had been in his power, Oates should have been condemned to die.

It must be observed that standing in the Pillory, which in other countries only exposes to shame, is in England something more ; for it is permitted to pelt those that stand there with dirt and all sorts of nastiness ; and it often happens that the mob abuse the

Age51-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.pdf..png
F. J . Parsons, Ltd.

Top of High Street and All Saints Street, 1920, with Market Cross and Drinking Fountain.

(The Old Building is the former site of Titus Oates House, with All Saints Church on the left.)

liberty, and throw rotten eggs, and even stones, at the prisoner. What was considered most barbarous in this sentence was the ordering a man to be whipped twice in three days. Some charitable persons used their endeavours to beg off part of this wretched man's punishment and made application to the Queen, entreating her to intercede for him, at least with the second scourging. But all intercession was in vain, the sentence was executed with all imaginable rigour and barbarity. In a word, his escaping with life was looked upon as something miraculous." Note. Moss's History of Hastings, 1824, says : " That Oates might have dwelt in the town seems highly probable, from the [ 46 ]situation he held of officiating minister of All Saints' Parish."

Note.- "Titus Oates, the ministerial informer, so notorious in the reign of Charles II., appears by an entry in the church books dated January 4th, 1673, to have been officiating minister in All Saints' Church. The entry of his Baptism in 1619 also appears in the register, although nearly illegible, and is presumptive proof that he was a native of Hastings. His father was Rector of All Saints, and having been chaplain to Colonel Pride, probably obtained the Church during the ascendancy of the Puritans. It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that Titus Oates was the discoverer as he said, the inventor, as the general voice of history has decided, of the so-called Popish Plot, and the means thereby of consigning Lord Stafford and fourteen ether persons to a violent death, in the reign of Charles II. After the accession of James II., Oates was convicted of perjury, and the sentence passed upon him was so savage and illegal, and, moreover, executed with such severity as to produce the belief that he was not intended to survive it. After the Revolution 111 1688, he was pardoned and admitted to a pension of £400 a year, being probably considered as a martyr to the Protestant cause. He died in 1705, in the communion of the Baptists, by whom, however, he seems to have been looked upon as a suspicious character." Diplock's Handbook to Hastings, 1846.

Miss Mary Matilda Howard, a writer of reputed ability, and the author of A Handbook for Hastings and St. Leonards (published by William Diplock, Hastings, 1866), was born in 1805 and resided in the town for many years, says (p. 48), lt On the left hand, a little way up the hill (Old London Road), at the southern extremity of the avenue, near a gate opening into a meadow (Torfield), is a building which occupies the site of the house once famous as the abode of Titus Oates, whose father was Rector of All Saints' in 1660. Titus Oates was in all probability born at Hastings, the entry of his baptism being in the Parish register of All Saints for 1619."

This house has been drawn by several artists there is one by S. Prout, 1815, in the Suss. Arch. Coll., vol. 14, p. 106 and it occupied the site now covered by stables and workshops at the north entrance to High Street, adjoining the wicket gate to Torfield at the bottom of Old London Road. The late Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward, to whom the property belonged, believed this to be so. It was once occupied by Mr. Edward Milward, and in the "Collier Letters," it is stated that Mr. John Collier owned the three houses, which were called the upper, lower, and middle houses, this house was probably referred to as the upper, the "Mansion", known as "Old Hastings House," the lower, and "Torfield House," the middle house. By collectors this house is generally referred to as Titus Oates' house, although in some of the guide books he is said to have lived in All Saints' Street. These give no reference as to the site. I have, however, communicated with the Editor of the [ 47 ]'Collier Letters," but he is unable to thrown any light upon the question. In the latter part of the 18th Century it was allowed to fall into decay and was finally demolished about 1820. Part of the original boundary wall still exists.

There may be some ground for the Rector of All Saints residing at this period in St. Clement's. First : The Churches were then both under one Rector. Second : There was no separate Rectory House in All Saints. Third : The position High Street was the home of the richer classes at that period, and All Saints' Street of the fishing population and small traders. Author.


Since the- publication of my 1st Edition of " Hastings of Bygone Days" I am indebted to my friend, Mr. Ben. Meadows, (a former Town Clerk) for pointing out a historical error in my allusion to the origin of the coal dues, in the interesting letter from his pen; which appeared in the Hastings Observer and which deserves a place in Hastings of Bygone Days. Author.

"To the Editor of the Observer.

"Sir,-- The following few facts and coincidences may interest some of your readers who are identified or associated with old Hastings, or who, having taken up their residence here, would like to know something of its ancient Municipal history. The first Mayor under the Charter granted to the town by Queen Elizabeth (1588) was Thomas Have, who at that time held the corresponding office of Bailiff. The first recorded Bailiff was A Will Haylman, who held office as long ago as 1196. A fact not, I believe, generally known is that the Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth was solemnly surrendered by the Corporation to King James II., but only with the advice of Counsel (a very wise precaution under the circumstances).

A fresh Charter was granted by the King (1685) which carefully preserved all the properties, rights, privileges, etc., theretofore granted. These Charters included the grant to the Corporation of the stonebeach.

The original Charter of Queen Elizabeth, notwithstanding the surrender, is still in the possession of the Corporation, but the great Seal has been detached a circumstance for which the formal surrender would perhaps account.

The first (or modern so termed) Mayor under this Charter was Sir Denny Ashburnham, Bart, (probably an ancestor of Sir William Ashburnham-Clement). Tie first Recorder was Colonel John [ 48 ]Strode. This gentleman, it would seem, had some influence at Court, as he was (as appears from the Corporation records) instrumental in procuring the new Charter in substitution for the previous one.

The first Town Clerk was Robert Norwood, and in the Recorder there was vested by the Charter of King James II. the power to appoint a successor to the Town Clerk in the event of his death or removal from office. The office of Clerk to the Corporation is, however, of much more ancient origin, as in what is called the Customal of Hastings, compiled in the reign of King Edward III., there is provision for the election annually by the Bailiff and Jurats assembled with the assent of the whole of the Commonalty of a Clerk. By virtue of this Customal the Bailiff acted as Coroner, and there is mention of a Sergeant, the forerunner, no doubt, of the Sergeant at Mace or Town Sergeant. I have not been able at present to ascertain who was the first independent Coroner.

The first Clerk of the Peace appointed on the grant to the borough of a separate Court of Quarter Sessions (1836), was Thomas Baker Baker, in whose office my father worked. The first Sergeant at Mace to the Mayor under King James' Charter was Richard Thresher, and the first Town Sergeant, James Redham. Messrs. Catt and Simmons, the present holders, have reason, therefore, to be proud of the antiquity of their respective offices.

The office of Borough Chamberlain is also an ancient one, as this officer is mentioned in the Corporation records of 1685, and possibly earlier. The last holder was the late much respected John Gibson. Perhaps it is a pity some appointment was not made on his death (it need only have been an honorary one) in order to maintain this link with the past.

In a return of Freemen and other persons made in the reign of King Edward III. we find "Gilbert Gabbe" (possibly an ancestor of one whose name is a household word to the present and last generation); "Robert Tottighe," a name which is preserved in connection with part of the Sayer-Milward Estate, as well as the following (modern spelling), Baker, Harding, Pelham, Reed, and Whicker.

A benevolence return of 36, Henry VIII. (1544) gives the names of the principal inhabitants, with the amounts of their contributions. Amongst these we find "John Love 20s.," "Edward Wood 20s., "Richard Standen 20s.," "Thomas Standen 20s." (This was my mother's maiden name.) In a list of ships belonging to Hastings there is included "The Peter Paulmeres," 36 tons; owner, "Henry Tought." And amongst the able men to take charge of these ships the following names (modern spelling is given in most instances) : Bossum, Butler, Crosskey, Hide, (John) Meadows, Palmer, Reed, Stace and Wood. [ 49 ]At a meeting of the Corporation held in 1618 the Mayor and Mr. Liffe were nominated to travel with Mr. Nicholas Eversfield to the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports to procure his aid towards obtaining fresh letters patent for re-building the Pier (or arm of the Haven or Harbour) which had fallen into a state of decay. (How history repeats itself !) An attempt was made in 1635 under the advice of an eminent Dutch engineer (apparently there was no Englishmen equal to the task) to make a fresh haven (or harbour) at the Priory Stream (just east of the present Queen's Hotel). His estimate including the cost of the pier was £220,000 (there seems to be something not quite unfamiliar with those figures), and needless to say the project fell through.

In 1615 a return was made to the Lord Warden of the "musters" in the town, which consisted of a trained band and general band with officers ; conceivably the forerunner of the Hastings Branch of the V.T.C. In this return we find the names of Melchior Rainolds (town) clerk and Thomas Rainolds (town) clerk. (The office was apparently then held jointly). Also the following (modern, spelling is given in several instances) : (John) Ball, Barham, Burt, Coussens, Dighton (so spelt in the original), Dyer, Gallop, Grover, Hayles, Mannington, (John) Meadows, Mills, Mitchell, Pelham, Randall, Shoesmith, Stace, Venables, Winter, (Thomas) Wood, and Young. There were two men named Thomas Wood, one a brewer and one a sailor. Part of the establishment consisted of 5 teams, one of which was furnished by Edward Sheather.

As a matter of finance it is recorded that in 1685 the Corporation decided in view of the debts of the town and of the heavy expenses to be incurred in attending the forthcoming Coronation to borrow £40 on the Town's Bond for 12 months with interest at 6 per cent. (Perhaps some reader may be able to say what that sum would represent in the present day). It is not recorded that the Finance Committee prepared an estimate of the expenditure, or that any economist either protested or moved an amendment. For some of the foregoing information I am indebted to the valuable paper (a print of which is in the Reference Library) contributed by the late William Durrant Cooper and Thomas Ross to the Sussex Archaeological Collection (Vol. XIV.) on "Hastings and its Municipal Institutions." When I first began to assist my father in the work of the Town Clerk's department in 1874, Mr. Ross was an Alderman (having previously served as Mayor on 5 occasions), and was actively engaged in securing what has proved to be such a boon for the town -- the Alexandra Park.

There is a note to the paper before referred to (evidently made by Mr. Ross), which was published in 1862, to the effect that the ancient method of convening an assembly of the inhabitants was by horn, and that it was put into use a few years previously when [ 50 ]the Gaol (then in or near Courthouse Street) was broken open to release women and boys imprisoned for selling fish on the Stade contrary to the new Market Act !

Reverting for a moment to the Bailiffs it is somewhat curious to note that on the Wekes' brass in St. Clement's Church (which my good friend the Rector was kind enough to shew me on the occasion of a recent visit) he is described as late Jurat (an office equivalent to that of Alderman), although only two years previous to his death he had held the higher office of Bailiff.

In connection with a subject which has recently engaged the attention of the Corporation the abolition of the Coal Duty, I am sure the author of that interesting work, "Hastings of By-gone Days, etc.," will forgive me for pointing out an error (a very general one, as I know from past experience), which occurs on page 260. It is there stated that the right to levy the coal dues was conferred on the Corporation by Queen Elizabeth's Charter. I am sorry to deprive this right of any of its assumed antiquity, but it is much more modern, and had its origin in a Statute passed in the first year of the reign of King George IV.

Yours truly,


The following other local names (some familiar at the present time) may be mentioned : Henry Carleton, Thomas Boyse, Edward Dyne, Benjamin Meadows, sen., Thomas Whales, Thomas Hyde, Michael Penbuckle, Mark Bayley (Son of Mark), William Bourne, jun., James Batchelor, Samuel Gillart, John Walls, Benjamin Meadows, jun., John Wingfield, Edward Milward (Mayor), John Collier, John Sparrow, Robert Gourley, George Broadbridge, John Sargent, Roger Harrison, Robert Thatcher, Richard Chambers, John Moore, Robert Bartholomew, Stephen Perigoe, Richard Hart, Benjamin Meadows, sen., Joseph Grayling, Henry Sargent, John Sargent (Son of Henry), Edward Sargent, Stephen Sargent, Thomas Moore, John Moore, Richard Hutcheson, John Oliver, William Shorter, John Chambers, Benjamin Stephens, Benjamin Meadows, Jun., Richard Lawrence, Jeffrey Glyde, John Broadbridge, John Crouch, George Fellows, Edward Hall, Mark Barry, Mark Bayley, Sen., William Bourne, Sen., Mark Bayley (Tide waiter), Thomas Bourne, Samuel Gyllert, Richard Caswall, Edward Webb, Thomas Gyles, John Casper, Mark Bailey, Jun., Thomas Caswell, James Batchelor, Samuel Moore, Phillip Stevenson, Sen., Robert Hussy, John Bossom, Phillip Stevenson, Jun., John Geery, John Hide, Thomas Curtis, John Whales John Philip, Robert Taught. [ 51 ]



JOHN COLLIER, ESQUIRE, Town Clerk and Mayor of Hastings, and Baron of the Cinque Ports.

I am enabled by the courtesy of Mr. Charles Lane Saver, the Editor of the Collier Letters compiled and printed in two volumes, embracing the correspondence of John Collier (for private use only), and his Family 1716-1780 to include in my "Hastings of Bygone Days," extracts from this "private collection," illustrating the social, political and commercial life of Hastings during the period covered by these interesting memoranda, and prior to the transition of this Old Cinque Port from a small fishing town of less than 3,000 inhabitants to the opening of its recognition as a health resort in the middle of the 18th Century. (Mr. Charles Lane Sayer, a brother of the late Rev. William Carlisle Sayer-Milward, of Hastings.)

Biographical Sketch.

Mr. John Collier was born at Eastbourne, in Sussex, in November, 1685, about 30 years after Oliver Cromwell became Protector, and the same year of the Accession of James II., and, therefore, would have been conversant with the history of those turbulent times, which included the period of that arch conspirator, Titus Oates, and the Popish plot, which created such a panic. Mr. Collier, who was trained and practised as a Solicitor, settled at Hastings early in life. He became Town Clerk, and afterwards Mayor (to which office he was elected first in 1719, and again in 1722, 1730, 1737 and 1741) ; A Baron of the Cinque Ports, and attended as such at the Coronation of George the Second ; one of the two joint Solicitors to the Cinque Ports, 1750 ; Surveyor General of the Riding Officers of the Customs for the County of Kent, 1756; Usher and Crier of the Court of King's Bench Judge ; Advocate and principal deputy of the Duke of Newcastle as Vice-Admiral of the coast of Sussex. In his private capacity, he was an attorney and solicitor, and steward of several manors, and also agent for the Sussex estates of Mr. Henry Pelham, Prime Minister to George II., and, according to tradition handed down by his family, also acted as banker to all the people round Hastings, there being then no bank in the town. The Town was one of the several boroughs in which the influence of the Duke of Newcastle,.

Henry Pelham's brother, was paramount, and Mr. Collier being the Duke's Agent, he would naturally be the channel through which such Government patronage as found its way to Hastings would flow. The Duke seems first to have established his interest here [ 52 ]at the General Election of 1734, when his kinsman, Thomas Pelham, was returned, and it appears from the following extract from a letter from Henry Pelham to the Duke, written in view of the election, that Mr. Collier was even then considered all-powerful at Hastings: "As to Mr. Collyer, you can't do too much, for if I can judge, that Town (Hastings) absolutely depends upon him, and perhaps if he were cool, would leave you. I desire, therefore, vou will from me tell Sir Robert Walpole if he has a mind. to have two Whigs chosen at Hastings, he must provide handsomely for Collyer." It may very

Page58-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.pdf.jpg.png

[By permission of Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward.]

Portrait of John Collier, Esquire. From an Oil Painting at Fairlight Place.

reasonably be supposed, however, that Mr. Collier's position as the Duke's Agent, though originally due to his ascending in the Town, tended to confirm that ascendency. At the time of his death the borough had been represented for twenty years past by two undoubted nominees of the Duke his cousin (Colonel Pelham) and his secretary (Andrew Stone). Certainly their letters show the confidence they both felt in Mr. Collier. [ 53 ]Mr. Collier was twice married ; first to a Miss Elphick (an old Sussex name), by whom he had several children, one of whom, a daughter, married a Mr. Worge, of Battle. She died in 1714, and in 1717 he married Miss Mary Cranston, daughter of the Rev. James Cranston, Rector of All Saints and St. Clement's, Hastings, and by her he had eighteen children, thirteen of whom, including all A his sons, died in his lifetime. He died in Hastings in 1760.

A tablet to his memory is in St. Clement's Church. By his will, dated 26th May, 1758, Mr. Collier, after a legacy to Mrs. Worge above mentioned, and after making due provision for his second wife, left all his property (a considerable one for those days) to his five surviving daughters by the latter Cordelia, wife of General

Page59-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.pdf.jpg.png [Photo F. J. Parsons, Ltd.]

Old Hastings House, High Street, 1920.

Formerly the residence of John Collier, Esquire. The property of Mrs. W. C. Saver-Milward.

the Honourable James Murray ; Mary, wife of Edward Milward the elder ; Jane, who afterwards married William Green, of Lewes ; Sarah, who afterwards married Henry Sayer, great grandfather of Mr. Charles Lane Sayer, of London (the Editor of the Collier Letters), the late Rev. W. Carlisle Sayer-Milward, and the late Mr. Alfred Lane Sayer, both of Hastings ; and Henrietta, who married a Mr. Jackson.

Of these, Mrs. Murray, Mrs. Green, and Mrs. Jackson died without issue. Mrs. Collier died in 1768. There is abundant evidence in the correspondence that Mr. Collier was a man of excellent abilities and of a kindly nature, an affectionate husband and. father, and of [ 54 ]modest and unassuming manners, and he died thoroughly respected by everyone.

Mr. Collier lived in Old Hastings House (although he did not build it), at the North End of High Street, for many years, and which, after his death, was occupied by his widow until her death, then by his son-in-law, Mr. Edward Milward, the elder, after him by his son, Edward Milward, the younger, and after him by his widow, who, after his death, married William, eighth Earl of Waldegrave, but still continued to reside in the house, and surviving her second husband, died there on the 18th of April, 1873. This lady will be remembered by many still living as a great benefactor to Hastings, one of her acts being the gift of sufficient land to the Hastings Corporation to widen and make the present Queen's Road from the Gas Company's Offices to the old railway viaduct (or tunnel) instead of going through what is now the bottom of Stonefield Road; and also the handsome Drinking Fountain in Robertson Street. After her death, Old Hastings House was for many years let to Mr. Coventry Patmore, the poet. Afterwards it was occupied by the present owner, Mrs. W. C. Sayer-Milward.

In Mr. Collier's time it does not appear to have been called by any particular name letters being addressed to him in the old style : "at his house in Hasting." In the time of Mr. Edward Milward the younger, and his widow, and perhaps that of his father also, it was known as "The Mansion," but the owner, disliking the pretentious sound of the name, has changed it to "Old Hastings House."

Mr. Collier's Courtship. -- The "Collier Letters" open with one dated May 3rd, 17 16, from Mr. Collier at Hastings to Miss Mary Cranston, during their engagement, couched in affectionate terms, and the spelling is in the peculiar style of the period. The letters include those of other members of the family, and in one of this date the Rev. James Cranston, in writing to his - daughter, Mary, recites that "Mr. Collier is busy repairing his house, and I am no less busy this day in setting up my Furnace, and mending my old Brewhouse walls, so that you will see great alterations at your return."

Ordering the Trousseau. -- 11th July, 1717 Mr. Collier, from London, to Miss Cranston, Hastings. "I can now acquaint you of my haveing bought your cloathes, and flatter myselfe, Dear Misse will not think I have a dull fancy, for without vanity I think it very rich and handsom, there's 27 yds. at 11s. a yard the lineing is not soe light a blew as you directed, but I was advis'd to have it somewhat stronger coulour, as being much more fashionable ye Other Suite psues your Command, ye edging to match ye headdress they tell me must be 6 yds., and it is 9s. a yard, not set on fine musling, but fine Lawne, as is the head, being what they tell me is the fashion, and plaine white Ribbon and Girdle is what must be had. I this day bought the Sacred Pledge mark'd E.M.C. Your [ 55 ]my other affairs I shall doe as well as I can, and believe me, Dearest, not unmindfull of you or anything in Command from you." (The marriage of Mr. Collier and Miss Mary Cranston took place on 17th August, 1717, at the Lower Church St. Clement's.)

After the marriage, Mr. Collier's legal business in the Courts necessitated his frequent attendance in London during the Parliamentary and Court sittings. The letters passing between Mr. and Mrs. Collier are of an affectionate and at the same time interesting character.

On 10th February, 1718 Mr. Collier to his wife. "By yesterday's Post I recd my Father Cranston's Ire. and Mr. Pulteney's Inclosed. (Mr. John Pulteney was M.P. for Hastings in 1695-1706.) I have been the greatest pt of this Wet day attending on him at the Custom House about the affair. Thos. Holman is the person I have recommended and I believe will get the place. I desire Mr. Pulteney's letter to me may not be taken notice of, for I shall be plagu'd and Dunn'd to Death by petitioners. There is a necessity to make use of these people to get anything, but it goes plagueily agt Stomach." (This refers to some appointment and Thos. Holman was a cousin of Mrs. Collier's.)

On February 14th, 171 8 Mr. Collier writes to his wife. "Being to dine with the Speaker. (Sir Spencer Compton, afterwards Lord Wilmington) to-day and my return somewhat uncertaine, I choose to right this morning before I goe, for fear my late Tarrying or drinking a glasse should prevent my doeing it." (In these days of hard drinking this was perhaps prudent) " 26th November, 17 19 Mr. Collier from London to his wife. I recd your kind and Obligeing letter, and am mightily pleas'd with the account it brings me of your Welfare. In your next I desire you'l let me know whether any Hasting Vessell is comeing up, that I may send downe Christmas provision and other things. Your account of the Fidler is very agreeable, and I hope to have the happiness of a Tune in a very little time in Company with Mrs. Mayoresse of Hasting." (Mr. Collier was Mayor of Hastings for the first time this year)

6th February, 1724: The same. "I was at Lord Ashburnham's this morning and drank Tea with Lord and Lady, and the little Baby was brought in, and looks a Mighty Thriveing Child." (William, second Baron Ashburnham, created Earl of Ashburnham, in 1730, and died 1736.) "Sr m lodges there." (Sr Wm. Ashburnham, of Broomham, Guestling, then one of the members for Hastings is here alluded to) "I went to see him and find him full of Complaints and Longing for the Country. I was last night at the Playhouse, where was the Prince and Princesse, the latter of whom looks very old, and by her countenance one would be tempted to believe she had done with Children. This being Queen Anne's birthday, there has been prodigious ringing of bells." [ 56 ]9th February, 1724 The Same. "I have bought and sent down 200 of Raising for the Wine, but have bought noe Sevill Oranges, because I think they may be as Cheap bought in the Country, by Dr. Carleton, of a man that comes often to the Swan." (Dr. Carleton was a Medical Man and Mayor of Hastings 1714. The Swan Hotel, High Street, Hastings)

21st November, 1730 Mr. Collier in London to his wife at Hastings. - "I was at Lord Ashburnham's this Morning. He begg -- to have some baked herrings if you can get a large Pan. I desire you will send some by first Boat, directed to his house in St. James Square."

19th February, 1731 The Same. "I desire Nick may set out Munday morning with the horses, and lye at Sen'nocke (Sevenoaks), and sc;e come to London Tuesday forenoon. I hope to get our ffryday, and there is noe coach-day before." (It appears from this that coaches did not run from London every day on the Hastings road)

16th February, 1733 The Same. (This letter refers to the death of Mr. Collier's mother, who died at Hollington and was buried at St. Clement's, Hastings.) The Editor's note in reference is "I do not know what Mr. Collier's Mother's family name was. In the entry of Mr. Collier's baptism, in the register of St. Mary's, Eastbourne, he is described as the child of Peter and Sarah Collier. In another reference : " Mr. Collier's father was proprietor of the Lamb Inn, at Eastbourne."

21st February, 1733. Editor's reference (With the letters for this year are a quantity of Bills relating to the laying of pipes of elm wood for the purpose of conveying water from the Bourne Stream to Mr. Collier's and other houses. Probably the first attempt at supplying the inhabitants with a direct water supply.)

24th June, 1735 From Mr. Collier in London to Mrs. Collier at Hastings. "I hope the pipes are finished and that you have a supply of water to your satisfaction, notwithstanding the Villanous usage we have met with about the pipes.[4]"

3rd March, 1736 The Same. ". . . I find the Smuggling Trade goes on at a high rate, and soe there is accounts come from all parts, but more particularly Sussex and Kent. . . . The Bexhill Skirmish is in the Newes, but that makes the officers Heroes instead of Running away on the Smugglers attacking them."

29th November, 1737. The Same. (Mr. Collier's love for Hastings) "I am sorry you think Hastings so desolate a place, and you so often repeating it makes one Imagine you are unfortunate [ 57 ]in being there. For my part I should with Satisfaction Spend the remainder of my Days there without Seeing any other, and I can't at all agree wh you in the politeness of our Two Neighbouring Towns." (Battle and Rye, I suppose, are meant Editor.)

1st May, 1742. Mr. Collier from Hastings to Mrs. Collier in London. "Dame Arthur was about one a clock Whipp'd at the Carts Tayll round the Town, and had Some Strokes at every lanes End, but I find its thought she had-not half enough, but I inclined to mercy and compassion, and Considered the long time of her confinement in the Cold Weather."

1st June, 1742 Mr. Collier to Mrs. Collier from London, " T. Green and I went to see Mr. Garrick. The play was Richard the Third, King Richard by Garrick. The Justest, Finest Actor I ever saw." (Ranelagh and Vauxhall are also mentioned, and the celebrated Comick Dancer Signor Grimaldi Editor.)

In January, 1743 Miss Cordelia Collier to her Mother from Battle Abbey, where she was staying with Lady Webster requesting her Mother to acceed to her Ladyship's wish to keep her longer.

Same date. Miss Mary Collier at Battle to her Mother at Hastings " Hon. Madam, My Sister Worge begs ye favour of you to send three or four pickled Herrings tomorrow by Palmer to make Sollomungundy for ye Ball, which is next Monday, and the Captain talks of having bis Ball some time next week, and if he does, believe it will be a Friday, so hope you will be good as to let us stay till Saturday, but we hope to see my Papa at the Market (Battle) where we can We settle that. Our Ball at ye Abbey was very agreeable. We broke up between five and six in ye morning, and I staid and lay with my Sister Delia, which was much more comfortable than mounting ye hill after dancing. This evening we are all invited to spend at Miss Smith's, but ye gentlemen are gone to Mr. Nicholl's to dinner, so believe we shan't have their company . . . We stayd evening a Tuesday at ye Abbey, and My Lady is prodigious civil to us. Jenny joins with me in duty to my Papa and yourself."

[Cordelia, the eldest daughter, appears to have been at Battle Abbey, and Mary and Jane with their half-sister, Mrs. Worge. Editor.]

About this date letters were passing between the Duke of Newcastle and his brother, Mr. Pelham, then Prime Minister, and Mr. Collier, at Hastings, in reference to an intended invasion, and a French Fleet cruising on the British Coast, with instructions to employ proper persons to keep a look out for its movements and report their movements, and Mr. Collier's reply that " we had taken all precautions against surprise."

[It appears that there were some troops quartered at Hastings about this time, and were billetted on the inhabitants which was considered a great burden upon them.]

12th April, 1744 Mr. Collier, at Hastings, to Mrs. Collier, in London. "I must write something abt our Declaration of [ 58 ]War. Sunday afternoon the King's Order for declaration of war against the French, signified by the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, came hither by the proper Officer. They proclaim'd it at Rye a Saturday before their order arrived here, and we fir'd guns.

At our Club Sunday night resolv'd to do it yesterday at 2 in the afternoon, the Soldiers to be under Arms. Having settled preliminarys, met at 2. The Captain and other Offrs had their Corps, abt 110 men, drawn up in the fishmarket, all clean an powdered - when we assembled sent down to the Captain, and the March was to begin there to the Old Market (top of High Street). We went down and saluted the Offrs and after exercise proceeded ; first the Scotch Dragoons mounted, with their swords drawn, rode before to clear the way. Then the Mayor and Jurats, followed by Capt. Scot and the whole body, 2 drums in the front after one Rank. March'd as slowly as possible and the Soldiers drawn up at the Old Market, Patrick (Mr. Collier's Clerk and afterwards Town Clerk of Hastings) read the Declaration with the previous Proclamation, then 3 Loud Huzza's Then proceeded in like manner to the fishmarket, read again, and ordered the soldiers drink, and adjourned to the Swan. ... A prodigious number of people present."

11th December, 1744 Mr. Collier as General of the Riding Officers of the Customs is found writing to the Commissioners of Customs in reference to Smuggling. "The Smugglers are got to an amazing height on the Kentish and Sussex Coasts, that it has for some time become a very serious thing and highly worthy the consideration of the Senate. Vast quantities of goods are clandestinely imported and abuses given not only to the Officers of the Revenue, but any other persons that offer to speak against their detestable practises. (Here Mr. Collier advances that from his declining in years, his many duties and joyned thereto the audacious insolence of the Smugglers, " I don't think of being concern'd for the future in any prosecutions, and herein I have the advice and approbation of my Great Friends" (The Duke of Newcastle and his brother Henry Pelham).

The Editor of the Collier Letters gives us his reason for referring to Mr. Collier's decision the following. " I have transcribed this from the part of the correspondence which relates to Custom House matters, because it marks a stage in Mr. Collier's career. Hitherto he had been employed by the Crown in the prosecution of smugglers, and many of the briefs on such prosecutions are among the papers. Considering, however, the daring and insolence of the smugglers, and the number of them in - Hastings, and the neighbourhood, it is not surprising that Mr. Collier desired to be relieved from the invidious task of prosecuting them. In a draft letter about this date written to Mr. Fremantle, a Custom-House official, Mr. Collier, referring to the inquest upon a smuggler who had been shot by the Soldiers sent down to assist the revenue officers, says [ 59 ]"I gave my utmost assistance to Mr. Coppard, the Collector in the affair, and conducted it as well as I could, but in the present situation, and the menaces and insults I have receiv'd, I shall decline acting as Solicitor in any proceedings against the Smugglers."

Mr. Collier in due course received a reply to his letter of decision expressing much regret and thanks for his past services. Mr. Collier, though retiring from prosecutions, fulfilled his promise of rendering what assistance he could, and I gather from the Customs Correspondence, that he did good service in the course of the suppression of the " Hawkhurst Gang " a few years later - Editor.

About this date (1744) the Editor states I should gather from the correspondence that Colonel Pelham was then staying at Hastings, where he had a house, I think, from allusions, that Mr. Collier and the other principal inhabitants had formed a club which used to meet at the Swan" (alluding to the Old Swan Hotel, High Street, now pulled down).

1745 In this year the correspondence reveals Mr. Collier using his influence on the side of leniency towards some Hastings Smugglers. They were saved from transportation by entering the Naval Service, there being a great demand for men at this time (" Poachers make good gamekeepers." Therefore Smugglers would make good fighting sailors).

1747 Mr. Collier lost his last surviving son during this year, James Collier, who was a Barrister of the Temple, an old scholar of Westminster School, and Mayor of Hastings, 1745. He died at his Chambers in the Temple on May 30th, aged 27 years, and was buried in the north Cloister of Westminster Abbey. (The Editor states that the loss of his last surviving son must have been a great blow to Mr. Collier, and he appears to have fallen into a condition of despondency.)

4th August, 1747- (Mr. Collier is found reporting to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue on the Infamous Hawkhurst gang of Smugglers, and the steps taken by the inhabitants of Goudhurst, Cranbrook and Ticehurst, to protect their districts from, and to effect the capture of the gang). [The Chapter on Smuggling and Smugglers contains allusions to this notorious gang which I believe included Hastings men. Author.]

30th January, 1749- The Right Honble James Pelham and Andrew Stone, Esqre - M.P.s for Hastings presented a Fire Engine to the Corporation. This stood for some years under the Town Hall, High Street.

8th February, 1749. Severe shock of earthquake at Hastings, felt more in London. (This is mentioned in Horace Walpole's letters, 25th February, 1749-50.)

11th February, 1749. Speaking of Colonel Murray. " He had a reputation for Gallantry. He was probably also inclined to be extravagant, and he had a fiery temper ; but I should not gather from the correspondence that he had any other serious fault. His [ 60 ]military record was excellent, and his courage indisputable. His letters shew him to be a man of education."

8th March, 1749. Another sharp shock of earthquake felt at Hastings. Shook windows out.

Written at Brickwall, Northiam, 6th March, 1749. "Poor Miss Morland has lost all her money at cards, and her brother never wins. I keepe prettv even. Its Mr. Frewen runs away with all."

7th November, 1749 (from Hastings).---" Our Dragoons go away this week, and we are to have some of General Howards in their room."

9th November, 1749 (from Hastings). We have no news stirring at present, only that Mr. Milward keeps open house, and laughs and halloos so loud that they can hear him down to ye Swan."

Mr. Collier's Description of Mr. Milward.

-- 20th April, 1756. Mr. Collier wrote to the Duke of Newcastle for leave to assign his situation as Surveyor General of the Customs for Kent (which he had held since 1733), and has solicited the appointment of Mr. Milward in his place, and that his application had been favourably received by the Duke. Mr. Collier describes Mr. Milward as "a person in this town who married one of my daughters, who is an active person about 30, very capable of performing the duty in all respects, and I truly believe with honour and reputation, and has an Estate, and on which he lives in a prudent, respectable manner. He was bred to the Law, but not pursued it. Mr. Milward obtained the appointment."

Mr. Edward Milward's Thirst for Land and other Property.

In a letter of 21st January, 1764 Mrs. Collier to Mr. John Cranston, her nephew. " Mr. Milward is set off this day for London the way he goes on here is quite amazing to all the world, neither house nor land within ten mile of this place that he will not purchase if it's possible, by offering more than people can withstand."

20th May, 1756. Colonel Pelham, in writing to Mr. Collier, his Agent, says, I am concerned to hear my private Road is almost as bad as the High way, which is very hard, when 'tis' cheifely for you Gentlemen in the neighbourhood. (This refers to a private road from Crowhurst Place (Mr. Pelham's seat) down to a house "on the cliff at the west end of St. Leonards called Bo Peep." This house was called "The Tent," where Mr. Pelham's friends were allowed to resort for pleasure parties and bathing.)

1749. Fire Engines. There are several letters of October and November, showing that Mr. Collier was obtaining the prices of different Fire Engines from London Makers. "As there is another [ 61 ]place for Fire Engines (Cloth Fair) more than where I first called, so I shall go to this second place before I determine which to purchase of, and when I do purchase, think 'twill be quite right to emblazon the Donors thereon 'As the Gift of the Honle James Pelham and Andrew Stone, Esqre - to this Corporation' or in any other form you may think proper." (Happens there had been a fire at one of the Churches, and that the two Members for Hastings were presenting the town with a fire engine. Editor.)

Earthquake. In a letter of the 8th February, 1749. "An alarming shock of earthquake was felt in Hastings, much frightening the inhabitants. It was general throughout England.

Amusements. In letters from Mr. Collier's children to him, written from Rye and Northiam where they were staying with Dr. Frewen, are amusing references to the life of the times. "We plaid comet in the afternoon, but Wisk (whist) is our cheif game, and I have had good luck since I came, for I have won near Twenty shillings. Mr. Lamb came to visit us in his Sexton Green Waistcoat and clean White Gloves, and not one evening without company to supper with us." In another letter from Northiam "Here is cards, cards, nothing but cards going forward, that we are a most tired of them . . ."

Highwaymen. '"A highway robbery was committed yesterday between Rye and this place ; it has occasioned Mr. Frewen to leave his watch behind him."

Mr. Milward's Courtship.

Mr. Edward Milward the Elder. 5th June, in writing to Mr. Collier, acquainted him of his ill success in making his addresses to his daughter Jane Collier, and pleading her father's assistance. It would appear he was unsuccessful, for Mr. Milward ultimately married Miss Mary Collier. (The Editor has the following Note - Miss Jenny appears to have adopted a perplexing attitude towards her admirer, and perhaps disapproved, like Lydia Languish, of her suitor's conventional mode of wooing ; or perhaps, Mr. Milward may have allowed it to be seen that he thought as the Mayor of Hastings he had only to ask to be accepted. . . . However, this may have been, his new tactics seem to have met with no greater success than his former ones, and the affair went off. He subsequently consoled himself with Mary Collier, the elder sister, who was three years older than Jane.)

Church and "State." In July, 1750. Mr. W. Cranston, in writing to Mr. Collier, says " I think your notions of a postillion -- to your 4 horses quite right it being at all events safe, which before you were not." (According to family tradition, Mr. Collier used to drive the short distance to St. Clement's Church in his coach and four. This, however, was probably not until after his infirmities had rendered it impossible for him to walk. According to the same Authority, Mrs. Collier, on Sunday afternoons, seated, [ 62 ]herself at the entrance to All Saints' Church, and spoke to the people going in, applauding those who went, and censuring and enquiring the cause of absence of others, speaking to the children, etc., and when the bell ceased, went into Church. Editor.)

The Cinque Ports. 28th November, 1750. From Sir Thomas Hales to Mr. Collier Desiring to know what is due from the Parish of Bekesbourne to Hastings, and to whom it should be paid, and promising that for the future it shall be paid annually." (Bekesbourne, in Kent, is a limb of the Cinque Port of Hastings, and, as such, was bound to furnish one ship out of the quota of twenty-one to be found by Hastings and its subordinate members. Editor.)

Paving the Town. 7th November, 1751. Mr. Milward to Mr. Collier. In reference to the paving operation he says "We have pulled down part of the pavmt opposite the Maiden Head, and widen'd the Street near three feet, which made it more commodious, and vastly better at Mr. Cossom's Corner " I should gather from some expressions in this letter, and in Mr. Milward's letters that the Members for Hastings, Colonel Pelham and Mr. Stone, were paying for the paving of the town. Editor.)

28th November, 1751 . The Same. " Little news stirring, and less fish, bad weather, and town dull the discourse and movmt in the Street is on account of the pavemt of whch goes on very well but slow . . . The large Boulders and Mine Stones first picked up by Cousins are used, and I have ventured to give orders for the stragling stones fell down from the Castle and lying in the Hills adjoyning to be picked up and used. They being better than anyone can get. . . . There is a great many excellent Stones for the purpose in the old walls tumbled down belonging to the Castle, but shan't venter to touch them until I have consulted you thereon." (Mr. Collier had now returned from Bath and was in London.)

24th February, 1752. Memorandum by Mr. Collier. As to the departments of business to be in future to be undertaken by himself and Mr. Patrick respectively. Mr. Collier seems from this time to have taken Mr. Patrick into partnership with him. He expressly reserves to himself "all Court Barons, Keeping Courts, and profits thereof, and the Audits and Receipts of Mr. Pelham's &c, and Trust Estates." Editor.

The Franchise. 24th April, 1753. (The Parliamentary Franchise at this t[me was vested in the Mayor, Jurats, and Freemen. Editor.)

30th May, 1753. Mr. Edward Milward was Mayor of Hastings in 1753.

The First Workhouse. 5th October, 1753. Mr. Milward to Mr. Collier, at Bath. " .... The Poor House is forwarded with the greatest expedition, and nothing ever more generally approved of." (This was the first establishment of a workhouse at Hastings. - Editor.) [ 63 ][From Moss's History. "The first establishment of a Work-house here (Hastings) is noted in the following entry in the Parish Books of All Saints, May 22nd, 1753.-- At a Vestry it was agreed to build a public Workhouse for the poor of St. Clement's, All Saints' and St. Mary-the-Castle (where the Pilchard House stood). In 1773, as appears from another entry, "the three Parishes separated and each provided (or its own poor. The Workhouse was in George Street, now No. 42."]

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Mr. Edward Milward, Senior.

8th November, 1753. Mr. Milward to Mr. Collier, in London. "... One boy has the Small Pox in the pesthouse, but likely to do well."

First Isolation Hospital. (The pesthouse was a sort of isolation hospital. There is now (1906) a field near Mr. Collier's old house called " Pest House Field."-- Editor.) See plan of Collier Lands. Author.

4th March, 1754. "Mr. Pelham, the Prime Minister, died on this day, aged 60. He had sat for the County of Sussex since 1722. [ 64 ]His relative, Mr. Thomas Pelham, of Stanmer (afterwards created Earl of Chichester), was elected the member for Sussex."

Public Lighting. 2nd November, 1754. The following is an extract from a letter from Mr. Collier to the Duke of Newcastle : " . . . . The Town has been for a great many years lighted with lamps, beautiful and useful to the Corporation-- the original gift of Col. Pelham. Of late, the Oyl has been by one way or other provided, but has of late been managed with difficulty. I advanced the money this year, and am afraid there will be a deficiency, as the finances of the Corporation are low and we are in debt."

The Name of Cloudesley. Under date 26th April, 1755. -- Mr. Milward from Hastings, to Mr. Collier, then in London. " Last night's post brought me the melancholy news of the death of my Cousin Molly Lintott (From subsequent letters this lady, though referred to by her Maiden name, had, in fact, then lately been married to a Mr. Cloudesley Editor) who died suddenly the -- 23rd instant, and know nothing further -- being so unexpected, has actually shocked me so much, am scarce able to write, so beg you'd excuse any further scrawl." (Possibly a member of the family connected with Mrs. Cloudesley Shovell, mother of the Admiral who is claimed to have lived in All Saints' Street, Hastings. --Author.)

Rabbits and Refractory Paupers. 31st May, 1755. Mr. Milward, from Hastings, to Mr. Collier at Bath. "I and my family went to E. Bourn last Wednesday morning, and set out by six for the advantage of the sand, and returned yesterday by the road. . . (They probably took advantage of the sea shore ) We have now a fine stock of rabbitts and increase daily, and William and I have made further provision for their safely and security. My resolution is fix't not to kill 'till your return, unless unexpected company fall in. Have made free with your Garden to relieve our necessities. This day Morris (the Gardener of Hastings House) brought us three fine "Cowcumbers," being first we have had here."

(It appears from other letters that Mr. Collier and Milward, his son-in-law, used both to preserve rabbits. In old Maps one of the fields into which the West Hill was divided, is called " Coney Banks." Editor.) Mr. Milward also mentions " Several complaints from the Workhouse made against the poor, and have this day in Publick Court ordered Stepn Camber to be wipt, and old Philip Harrison to be turned out (and never to apply again for Relief under the penalty to be severely wipt) at his own request." (Mr. Milward was Mayor this year. Editor.)

The Priory Farm. 8th July, 1756. Mr. Collier mentions an action relating to the Priory Farm, Hastings, about which there are several letters. Editor. (A view of this old farm house will be found elsewhere.)

3rd February, 1757. Colonel Pelham to Mr. Collier, then at -- Hastings. " I am glad Mr. Murray (then Colonel Murray) has [ 65 ]accepted a Freedom (made a Freeman), and wish to accommodate him with J. Gower's House, but that wou'd have been dispos'd of long ago, if it had not suited a scheme of mine to keep it in the way my it now is for the rest of my life. At least as long as I am able to take a turn now and then to see my friends in Sussex."

Pelham House. (Note. Views of Colonel James Pelham's original house at No. 82, High Street, Hastings, are shewn elsewhere, and also a view after its reconstruction by Mr. Guy, a printer, who purchased the property about 1872. Author.)

24th March, 1757. Mr. W. Cranston to Mr. Collier, then at Hastings. " I think our Ministerial Change seems to be over. It seems the Grand Question was whether the Duke of Cumberland should go abroad Pitt violently against it, Fox, of course, for --it but upon a Grand Councill on the occasion, it has passed in the negative by one voice only. . . . Paper, pens, ink, penknives, etc., etc., is to be taken off from all publick offices, or at least vastly reduced, for Mr. Legg (Chancellor of Exchequer) says the Items amount to more money than pr annum now than Queen Elizabeth was allowed to carry on fforeign warr. ..."

Sussex Iron Industry. As to the Act for permitting all Barr Iron from America to be imported duty ffree, that it is generally believed will pass. "Twill hurt ye Sussex Works." (The Iron Trade was still of importance in Sussex. Editor.)

Founder of Brighton. 30th October, 1758. Dr. Russell, from Brighton, to Mr. Collier, with advice about his health. " Mr. Collier's health seems to have temporily improved about this time, as Dr. Russell says he is pleased with the favourable accounts he has had from Mr. Collier's friends." (Dr. Russell, it will be remembered, was the founder of the reputation of Brighton as a health resort. Editor.)

Mr. Collier's Illness. 9th January, 1759. Mr. W. Cranston to Mrs. Collier. " I had the favour of yesterday, which you rightly observ'd that the accounts received of Mr. Collier's illness gave me not the least glymse ever to hope for a recovery, and to think what a person at his time of life has lately gone through and yet to be in the land of the living is amazing When in Sussex last summer, after finishing every other person's accounts, Mr. Collier was extreamly anxious for my putting his own private affairs in order, which were got in much confusion in his incapacity, thro' his not being able to write, and keep a proper Accou't of his Receipts and Payments . . . These with the assistance of Mr. Patrick. were, with much pains, gone through, and the particulars thereof given to him, and with which he seem'd much pleas'd . . . I advised Mr. Collier to give up other people's business, and to put the transacting of his own private concerns into other hands. He seemed to think that 'twould be much more convenient for Mr Patrick (Mr. Collier's old Clerk) to be his Manager in Chief, and [ 66 ]resolved thereupon accordingly and acquainted him therewith in presence, when it was resolved that in order for the receipts of the rents of his Estate for the future, two audits should be held at the 'Swann' (The Old Swan Hotel), in every year, one in December, another in June" (At this time, either Mr. Collier was unconscious, or his intellect was affected, though there would seem afterwards to have been a partial recovery, as some letters are addressed to him by Mr. Cranston. Editor.)

Mr. Collier's Will. 9th December, 1760. Mr. Collier died in the 76th year of his age, and the following notes of his dispositions are given by the Editor of the Collier Letters.


(The following is copied from an Abstract of Title to the Land known as the Barrack Ground at Halton, which was at the time of his death the property of Mr. Collier.)

26th May, 1758. John Collier of the Town and Port of Hastings in the County of Sussex Esqre., being seized and many years in possession of the premises by his Will of this date gave and devised unto his Wife, Mary Collier, for the Term of her natural life (amongst other hereditaments). All his lands and Hereditaments with their appurtenants situate lying and being in the Parish of Saint Clement within the Town and Port of Hastings and the liberties thereof. And the Testator thereby declared that what he had thereinbefore given to his said Wife was intended in full satisfaction of the Dower and of any claim which she might have on his Estate by virtue of any writing of Agreement entered into previous to their Marriage.

And also directed that within two months after his death she should execute a proper Release of such Dower and claim testifying her submission to his Will otherwise she should not take any Benefit under the same. And after sundry other devises and bequests therein contained, the Testator devised the residue of his Real Estate. And as to such part thereof as was thereinbefore given and devised to" his said Wife for her life and from and after her decease (except as to his Dwelling House and Garden and Stables, Torresfield and Meadow, and Bayley's House and Garden)[5], he gave and devised one-fifth part thereof (the whole into five equal parts to be divided) unto and to the use of James Cranston, and William Cranston his Brother, their Heirs and Assigns, during the joint lives of Testator's daughter Cordelia Murray and James Murray her Husband. Upon trust that they should receive and apply the Rents thereof for her separate use during the joint lives of herself and Husband. And from and after the decease of the said Cordelia Murray in case she should die in the life time of her [ 67 ]said Husband. Then In Trust and to the use of all and every the Children of his said Daughter Cordelia Murray as well Sons as Daughters share and share alike, and to the heirs of their respective Bodies as Tenants in Common and not as joint tenants. And in default of Issue then in trust and to the use of the Testator's Daughters, Mary Milward, Jane, Sarah and Henrietta Collier and to the heir of their respective bodies as Tenants in Common. But in case of his said Daughter, Cordelia Murray, should survive her said Husband then in trust and to the use of his said daughter, Cordelia Murray, her heirs and assigns for ever, providing, that if by reason of his said daughter Murray's death in the life time of her said Husband, the aforesaid fifth part of his said Real Estate should by virtue of the aforesaid Devise come to his said other Daughters, and their Issue as aforesaid. Then and in such case it was his Will and he did thereby charge the aforesaid fifth part of his said Real Estate, with the payment of the sum of £500 to the said James Murray within six months after the decease of his said Wife. And the Testator gave and devised one other undivided fifth part of his said Real Estate unto his said Daughter, Mary Milward her heirs and assigns for ever. And he gave and devised unto his said Daughter, Jane Collier, her heirs and assigns for ever one other undivided fifth part of his said Real Estate. And he gave and devised one other undivided fifth part of his said Real Estate unto his said Daughter, Sarah Collier, her heirs and assigns for ever. And he gave and devised the remaining undivided fifth part of said Real Estate unto his said Daughter, Henrietta Collier, her heirs and assigns for ever. And after reciting that upon his youngest daughter's coming of age it might be thought proper and convenient to his said Daughter to make partition of his said Real Estate. The Testator thereby directed and empowered the said James Cranston and William Cranston and the survivor of them, and the heirs of such Survivor with the consent of his said Daughter Cordelia Murray testified under her hand and seal to join in making such partition and in executing such Conveyances as Counsel should direct for that purpose in order to divest themselves of the legal estate thereby vested in them of the fifth part of so much of his said Real Estate as might be solely and separately allotted to each and every of his said Daughters, Mary Milward, Jane, Sarah and Henrietta Collier. Providing that the said Mary Milward, Jane, Sarah and Henrietta Collier, join in conveying to his said Trustees their respective rights and interest in such part of his said Real Estate as should be allotted in such partition to his said Daughter, Cordelia Murray. Providing that such part of his said Real Estate as should be solely allotted to his said Daughter, Cordelia Murray, be settled and conveyed to the said James Cranston and William Cranston, or to the survivor of them or to the heirs of such Survivor to and upon the same, and the like uses trusts intents and purposes as the said thereinbefore first mentioned [ 68 ]fifth part of his said Real Estate was thereinbefore given and devised to them the said James Cranston and William Cranston.

And after reciting that upon the Marriage of his said Daughter, Cordelia Murray, he had settled an Estate upon her of the value of £3,000, and that since that time the Testator at the partar. request of his said Daughter advanced several sums of money for the use and benefit of the said James Murray towards his advancement in the Army and upon other occasions. And in consideration thereof they the said James Murray and his Wife had reconveyed to him and his heirs as far as in their power such settled Estates. And the said James Murray as a further security for the payment of the said money had given him his personal bond or bonds. The Testator did thereby declare that it was his Will that such reconveyance of the said settled Estates should stand good and effectual in the law, and that the same should be considered and pass by his Will as and for part of his Real Estate. But it was his mind and desire, and he did thereby accordingly discharge the said James Murray of and from the payment of any money which might be due from him to the Testor, at the time of his death. And the said Testor, thereby constituted and appointed his said Wife, Mary Collier, the said James Cranston, George Worge, William Cranston, and John Cranston joint Exors. of his said Will. Duly executed in the presence of and attested by three witnesses. Proved at London by the Exors., Mary Collier, widow, the Rev. James Cranston, clerk, William Cranston and James Cranston, the 21st January, 1761.

Mr. Capel. 3rd October, 1764. Henrietta Collier to John Cranston. "We all supt at Mr. Milward's last night, with Mr. Capel, etc., and I am to dine with him next Saturday to meet the Worges." (Mr. Capel, a commentator of Shakespeare, was a man of singular habits and temper. He built a house at the bottom of All Saints' Street and lived in great seclusion here, and for the last twenty years of his life he passed his hours from May to October, equally unknowing and unknown, for he was of too haughty a temper to associate with the inhabitants, and too much a humourist to be sought after by the neighbouring gentry. It is evident, however, from this and other allusions to him in the correspondence, that he was acquainted with the Collier family. Garrick frequently visited him, during his residence, and planted in his garden a mulberry tree, said to be a descendant of Shakespeare's Mulberry at Stratford-on-Avon. He died in 1781. Editor.) This house, known as East Cliff House, is now occupied by Mr. Gallop, and the interior decorations are in a good state.

Artist for St. Clement's Church. 18th May, 1764. Mrs. Sayer to her Mother, Mrs. Collier. ". . . We went this morning to see the paintings in the Strand. That of young Mortimer's is not likt at all, though he got the 100 guineas." (It would appear that a prize of 100 guineas was offered by the Society of Arts for the [ 69 ]best painting of the altar piece in St. Clement's Church, which was awarded to Roger Mortimer, an artist of some repute. The subject was "St. Paul preaching to the Britons." Moss's Guide, p. 114, contains the following: "December the 6th, 1721. -Received of Mr. Collier 30 guineas for painting the ceiling of St. Clement's Church of Hasting. R. Mortimer." (This artist appears to have been chosen for two commissions at this Church.)

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3rd January, 1765 Mrs. Collier to Mr. John Cranston (Birth of Mr. Edward Milward the younger.) " . . . . Mrs. Milward was brought to bed New Year's Day, of a son, and both very well, Mr. Edward Milward, Jun. three guineas to the ringers, and soe quite overcome with joy, that he begins to calculate what he'll be worth" (The allusion in the last paragraph must, I think, be to the birth of Mr. Milward's son Edward, who appears from the registers of St. Clement's, Hastings, to have been baptised on the 3rd January, 1765, and this seems to fix the date of this letter as 1765. . . . Edward Milward the younger Married on 13th February, 18 17, Sarah, daughter of the Rev. William Whitear, Rector of all Saints, Hastings. [ 70 ]and died 10th May, 1833, without issue. His widow married in 1846 William Earl Waldegrave, who died in 1859; and the Countess Waldegrave died 1 8th April, 1873.-- Ed.)

Scarcity of Land in Hastings. Under date 24th October 1766.--There appears tc have been a family Meeting upon the return of General Murray from Canada, having reference to some land adjacent to Torfield, which Mr. Sayer, son-in-law of Mr. Collier, thought should go with the Torfield, whilst others of the family differed from this opinion. An important remark of Mr. Sayer's bearing upon the value of land in Hastings at this date "That the Torfield was not sufficient quantity of land to go with such a house as Mr. Collier's (Old Hastings House) that it would be extremely difficult to get land about Hastings; that part of Paul's land was already laid into the Torfield (with a conjunction of title) that the garden was being used by Mr. Collier, and the house so near as to be capable of being made a nuisance to the "Mansion," and that in Mr. Sayer's opinion, the Mansion and Torfield would sell better with Paul's land. (This remark of Mr. Sayer's that it will be extremely difficult to get land about Hastings, would seem to be an indication that Hastings was already becoming a popular resort, or was thought likely to become so, though it is also possible that it was an oblique reference to Mr. Milward's passion, more than ,once referred to in the correspondence, for buying up all the land in the neighbourhood that was to be sold, which made anybody else also wishing to buy, sure of a formidable competitor. Editor.)

(In reference to Torfield House, the Editor has the interesting note " My late Aunt, Mar)' Sayer, in her family Memoranda, says, Torfield House was bought by Mr. Milward of people named Wimble, for his daughters Maria and Frances to live in after his death, and afterwards occupied by them accordingly.)

Mrs. Collier's Death. 25th April, 1768. Mr. Milward to Mr. John Cranston - Acquainting him of Mrs. Collier's death, and calling the Members of the Family to come to Hastings without loss of time. The Editor gives interesting extracts from Mrs. Collier's -- will. As the wife and widow of the remarkable man whose life was so bound up with Hastings in times before local guides books were known ; some extracts from her will are given by the kind permission

Mrs. Collier's Will. (Mrs. Collier was born in 1696, and therefore was seventy-two years old or thereabouts at the time of her death. She was buried on the 30th April, 1768, as appears by the registers of St. Clement's, Hastings. By her will dated 16th March, 1767, she desired to be buried in a leaden coffin, in a private, but decent manner, in the same grave with her husband (which, no doubt, was done). She continued :- "And as to the small sum I can leave behind me after my debts and funeral expenses are paid cannot be worth my dear Daughter's acceptance, having been so generously provided for by the best of fathers, I therefore dispose of the same in manner following." She then gave £50 to her Granddaughter and God-daughter Maria Milward, to purchase a piece of plate in memory of her, to her Grand, daughter, Cordelia Sayer, the sum of £50 for the like purpose, and to her nephews James, John and William Cranston the sum of £50 each," as the [ 71 ]least tribute I can pay to the Memory of a good brother and kind relative in every respect to me and my family, and will ever be remembered by me with the greatest gratitude." She then bequeathed £20 to several distant relatives and small legacies to servants of the family.) She proceeded:- "I likewise give and bequeath to my dear daughter Cordelia Murray, my gold repeating Watch, to my daughter Mary Milward my single stone Diamond Ring, and to my daughter Jane Green, my Diamond Hoop Ring, and wish I had anything more of that sort for my other two daughters, but if after the payment of the several legacies before mentioned there should be an overplus, then it is my desire that my executor hereafter named should pay to my daughter Sarah Sayer, the sum of Twenty Pound as an acknowledgement for the tender regard she has always shown me, and it is likewise my request that my Grandson, Edward Milward, Junior, may have my dear Husband's Gold Watch now lying in my Closet. And Whereas my daughter Henrietta has advanced some money towards the repair of the Swan Inn in Hastings, which was at that time my property, my will and desire is she be paid by my Executor out of the arrears of rent as shall be due to me at the time of my death.

I also give and bequeath unto ten poor widows of each Parish of St. Clement and All Saints, Hastings, the sum of ten shillings a-piece to be given to such women as my Daughters shall think proper." Mrs. Collier gave the residue of her personal estate to her five daughters equally, and appointed John Cranston executor. (It appears from a Memorandum at the foot of the probate copy that Mr. Hall, Mr. William Cranston's former Clerk, had made an affidavit that the Will was throughout in Mrs. Collier's own handwriting.)

Hastings as a Health Resort.

11th September, 1768 -- General Murray, from Battle, to Mr. John Cranson. (It appears from this letter that it was in contemplation for General and Mrs. Murray to take the Mansion House now Old Hastings House paying the other daughters for their shares, but that General Murray had now a project of selling the stables, with "the little low garden adjoining," for £1,200. He says : " I am offered a thousand for them, and as the purchasers are a set of Gentlemen who have entered into a Subscription to make Hastings a Bathing Place, and think the Stables necessary for an Assembly Room, etc., I have little doubt of getting the sum I ask." The project came to nothing, but the fact that it was formed shows that Hastings was in 1768 beginning to be thought of as a watering-place.)

These interesting " Collier Letters " close with a letter of 17th August, 1780, from Mr. Milward to Mr. John Cranston.:- "I am at present very indifferent (here follows details) . . . I talk of going to Bath, to which place I am strongly advised."

(Mr. Milward, with whose letter this correspondence ends, died in 1811, in the 88th year of his age. Mrs. Milward predeceased him in 1783, aged 58. There is a monument to them both in St. Clement's Church, Hastings, but with only a brief inscription).

(Mr. Milward senior was, according to tradition, all-powerful at Hastings, as his father-in-law, Mr. Collier, had been before him. He was Mayor 26 times and from 1785 to 1802 he and his son filled that office alternately. After that time Mr. Milward retired, but during the rest of his life his son was elected alternately with Mr. John Goldsworthy Shorter, the grandfather of our esteemed townsman, Mr. Henry Goldsworthy Shorter. Editor.) [ 72 ]General James Murray. He distinguished himself at the battle of the Heights of Abraham, Quebec, where he was in command of a brigade. On General Wolfe's death General Murray was entrusted with the Command of the Garrison of Quebec, and he held the place till he was relieved by Lord Amherst. In the interval (28th April, 1760), he fought a gallant, but unsuccessful battle with the French. He was made Governor of Quebec in October, 1760, Major General in 1762, and Governor of Canada in October, 1763, which post he held till 1766, when he returned to England. He was subsequently made Lieutenant-General (1772), and in 1774, was appointed Governor of Minorca, where he remained till 1782, when he was forced, after a most gallant defence, to surrender the island to the French. During the siege the French commander, the Duc de

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Crillon, offered General Murray the enormous bribe of a million sterling to surrender the island, perhaps reckoning upon his being a man of no private fortune. Murray rejected the offer with the utmost contempt. "When," he wrote, "Your brave ancestor was desired by his sovereign to assassinate the Due de Guise, he returned the answer that you should have done when you were charged to assassinate the character of a man whose birth is as illustrious as your own or that of the Due de Guise. I can have no further communication with you, except in arms. If you have any humanity, pray send clothing for your unfortunate prisoners in my [ 73 ]possession. Leave it at a distance to be taken for them, as I will admit no contact for the future, but such as is hostile to the most inveterate degree.

The Due de Crillon replied: "Your letter restores each of us to his place ; it confirms the high opinion I always had of you. I accept your last proposal with pleasure." After this General Murray defended the island to the last extremity. As a soldier, indeed, his conduct seems to have been uniformly admirable.

On returning from Minorca, General Murray was tried by Court-Martial, in consequence of some charges brought against him by General Draper, his second in command (principally remembered by his controversy with Junius). General Murray was, however, honourably acquitted, and (with the object of preventing a duel between the two officers). General Draper was ordered to make him an apology. He died on the 18th June, 1794, aged seventy-five, at Beauport, near Battle, now (1906) the residence of Sir Archibald Lamb, Bart., which house he built himself, and named after the Manor House of Beauport, near Quebec, which had been Montcalm's headquarters before the battle or the Heights of Abraham. At the time of his death he was Lord of the Manor of Ore, near Hastings (see Horsfield's "History of Sussex") ; and there is a monument to his memory in the old Ore Church. When this old Church fell into disuse the monument was removed and placed in the new St. Helen's Church and may be seen there.

Sir Archibald Lamb was connected with the family of General Murray through marriage.

A Tablet to the memory of the General was placed on " Old Hastings House " during the Pageant of Heroes in 1914 and was unveiled by the Hon. C. Gideon Murray, Governor of St. Vincent, (a descendant of the General.) [ 74 ]


His Traditional Connection with Hastings.

I acknowledge with grateful thanks the ready and valuable assistance given to me by the late Hon. Robt. Marsham-Townshend, a descendant and biographer of Sir Cloudesley, in revising my proof of this portion, and the loan of the curious document accompanying it, thus stamping it with the authority of one who has studied and written much upon the question. Author.

Every local guide book, from that of Stell, published in 1794, down to the present day, refers with pride to the connection of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell and his Mother with Hastings, and any work on "Hastings of Bygone Days" would be incomplete without reference to the subject.

On September 5th, 1902, I wrote to the Hon. Robert Marsham-Townshend for any information he could give in reference to Mr. Brett's contention that Hastings was the birth-place of Sir Cloudesley Shovell, and the identity of the traditional house of Mrs. Shovell, his mother. He replied as follows : September 7th, 1902 : " I am very much obliged to you for so kindly writing and promising to give me any information you may come across respecting the traditional residence of Sir Cloudesley Shovell's mother in Hastings. I have put all the new points I have been able to discover about him into two articles in " Notes and Queries " of December 27th, 1884, and January 19th, 1895, and there being a very good memoir of him, by Professor Laughton, in the Dictionary of National Biography. At the same time, I am always glad to pick up any fresh details respecting him, and shall be much interested in hearing if you can find any entries in rate books, etc., that will corroborate the local tradition in regard to her probable residence there. She certainly returned to Norfolk, and was buried at Morston, in 1709. Brett searched the old rate books of All Saints and found no reference whatever to the names of Cloudesley or Flaxman, the latter being her second husband's name."

The Dictionary of National Biography has the following reference "Clowdisley or Cloudisley Shovell (Admiral), baptised at Cockthorpe, Norfolk, November 25th, 1650. Engaged in many naval battles, including : Battle of Sole Bay, Bantry Bay, Beachy Head, Capture of Gibraltar, and finally subdued the French-Spanish Fleets. In 1707 was wrecked in his ship "Association," was cast on the rocks of Scilly alive, was found by a woman who coveted an emerald ring he was wearing, and killed him. She afterwards confessed. His body was embalmed and buried in Westminster Abbey. The mystery which so long clouded the family history of Shovell has been cleared away in recent years by the researches among Norfolk Registers, by the Hon. R. Marsham-Townshend."

It would appear that much of the information contained in the [ 75 ]Dictionary of National Biography over Professor Laughton's initials, was supplied by the Hon. Robert Marsham-Townshend.)

In the Article in Notes and Queries of December 27th, 1884, the Hon. R. Marsham-Townshend writes : "That mention is made of his mother in Sir Cloudesley's will, and referred to as Flaxman. She was buried at Morston, near Cockthorpe, and Cley-next-the-Sea, as ' Mrs. Ann Flaxman, widdow,' June 17th, 1709. Sir Cloudesley's origin is provokingly hard to trace."

In the same Journal of

Page81-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.pdf.png

Lent by the Museum Committee. Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Knight.

January 19th, 1895, in a note, headed "The Parentage" of Sir Cloudesley Shovell," he refers to the above, and having in the interval made a thorough search in the registers of several parishes in Norfolk, finding frequent mention of the name of Shovell, he succeeded in finding that of " Nathaniell Shovell, gent.," who was buried at Binham, near Wells-by-the-Sea, April 18th, 1636, and who bequeathed lands at Morston to his son Nathaniel, and his issue, and failing them to his son John. Of Nathaniel the younger he could find [ 76 ]no trace, but John was baptised in 1625, and this John was, in all probability, John Shovel!, of Cockthorpe, the father of Sir Cloudesley Shovel! by his wife Ann, daughter of Henry Jenkinson, by his wife Lucy, daughter of Thomas Cloudesley, of Cley-next-the-Sea. This last-mentioned marriage accounts for the introduction of the name of Cloudesley into the family. The baptism of Cloudesley Shovell, November 25th, 1650, was found in the Cockthorpe register. In Sir Cloudesley ShovelPs Will his lands at Morston are bequeathed to his "mother, Mrs. Ann Flaxman." In an account book or ledger, kept with considerable neatness by Sir Cloudesley himself, now in the possession of his descendant and representative, the Earl of Romney, there are several entries, under date, July 29th, 1703, "To Joseph Jacobs, for a Calash (a small chariot) for my mother Flaxman, fourteen pounds," and after his decease entries by his widow, Lady Shovell, in which, on March 1, 1708/9 she entered, to To severall Legacys pd in Norfolke, to Mother Flaxman, etc., making together as per little booke 640l."

[This legacy is probably that referred to in some Hastings Guide Books Author.] Mrs. Flaxman died and was buried at Morston, June 17th, 1709. Her will was proved at Norwich. All our authentic knowledge of Sir Cloudesley's boyhood is derived from Gilbert Crokatt, whose authority ought to be good, for he was rector, from 1691 to 1711 of Crayford, where Sir Cloudesley's Kentish residence was situated. Sir Cloudesley married the widow of his old chief, Sir John Narborough, and had two daughters, Elizabeth and Anne. Elizabeth married Sir Robert Marsham, fifth baronet, who was created Baron of Romney."

It is to be noted that throughout these investigations of the family history no mention is made of Sir Cloudesley or his Mother ever having any connection with Hastings. Moss's History of Hastings, 1824, p. 149, gives considerable space to the Biography of Sir Cloudesley Shovell, from which the following is an extract : "It has been stated in several publications of a local nature, on the authority of ancient traditions, that this gallant seaman was a native of Hastings; and a small tenement in All Saints' Street is still pointed out as the precise spot of his birth. With a view therefore, to ascertain the fact, the registers of both parishes have been diligently examined, but the name of Shovell was not discovered in either of them. The register of the Parish of All Saints', is indeed imperfect, about the supposed period of his birth, there being but one entry from 1648 to 1653 ; but in those times of anarchy and confusion, such irregularity prevailed, that nothing can be determined with any degree of certainty."

(This search must have been carried out before 1824, the date of Moss's work, and Brett was diligently engaged for many weeks in more recent times with a similar result, besides a search in the old rate books.) [ 77 ]Moss, p. 150, says, however, "We have the testimony of a curious and rare tract, published shortly after the Admiral's lamented death, addressed to his widow, that he was not a native of Hastings. A consolatory letter, published in 1708, written to the Lady Shovell, by Gilbert Crockatt, M.A., and Rector of Crayford, a parish in which Sir Cloudesley's Kentish residence, May Place, was situated." In a preface, the writer proceeds thus : " It may here be expected, that some account should be given of the life of the renowned Admiral Shovell, and his two sons-in-law. As to the Admiral, he was born in the year 1650 in the County of Norfolk, of an ancient family, chiefly considerable for loyalty, and plain downright honesty, which was, therefore, hereditary to Sir Cloudesley. Nor was it inconsiderable for estate. However, the good old gentlewoman, Sir Cloudesley's mother, being still alive, enjoys no contemptible competency, which has been transmitted for many years from father to son in the family, and being by her son redeemed from some incumbrance, was, by his natural affection, continued entire to his mother. . .

When he was thirteen years of age, Sir Christopher Mynns being then an Admiral, and most famous in his time, coming to visit this family (to which he was then related) desired to have one of their sons under him in the royal navy, and observed some things extraordinary hopeful, and promising in young Cloudesley, who readily and cheerfully agreed to go under him, as a Gentleman Volunteer." Campbell's "Lives of the Admirals," and Entick's "Naval History, with the Lives of the Admirals and Navigators," are both silent as to the place of his nativity.

The circumstances of his parents have also been a subject of some controversy. Chalmers says : "His parents were in middling circumstances." Noble : "That he was the son of a poor man, and that he was a runaway apprentice of a shoemaker, in order to enter the Navy."

Smiles in his "Self Help" alludes to the Admiral thus : "Shoemakers have given us Sir Cloudesley Shovell, the great Admiral." This quotation recently appeared in a local newspaper, and I wrote to the Hon. Robert Marsham-Townshend as to whether he knew of any ground for this statement, to which he courteously replied : "Many thanks for your letter, in answer to which, you will find an excellent memoir in the Diet. Nat. Biog. giving accurate information about his origin. That he was ever apprenticed to a shoemaker there is no evidence whatever, and I have never been able to find any shred of support for the Hastings story, which appears to have been started long after his death. Is there any chance of his mother's name (Mrs. Flaxman as she had become by a second marriage), appearing in the Hastings rate books ?" [I am not aware in whose custody the old rate books are, now that the Corporation is the sole rating authority, but if any official who may come across the old rate books of All Saints' or St. Clement's where the names of Flaxman or Cloudesley or Shovell [ 78 ]appear, will make a note of the fact, a missing link in the chain of evidence required, will be welcomed by all who are interested in this curious local tradition. Author.]

The names of both Cloudesley and Shovell are very uncommon (they are spelt in many different ways) and that they are mentioned in the Hastings Corporation Records would afford presumptive evidence for belief that the family of the great Admiral were connected with Hastings, or that he himself or his mother may have resided here. The following are extracts : "February 16th, 1590, The Mayor, juratts, and commonalty, of the town and port of Hasting, did grant unto John Golden, of the said town and port, all that messuage and garden thereunto adjoining and belonging, with all the appurtenances, situate, and being in the parish of St. Clement's, in Hasting aforesaid^ and now in the occupation of Robert Cloudesley." (Moss, p. 152.)

The Corporation Books show that a person named Cloudesley occupied a house in All Saints' Street, in 1590. William Durrant-Cooper and Thomas Ross Suss. Arch. Coll. Vol. 14, p. no.)

T. B. Brett extracted from the All Saints' Parish Register a marriage between Robert Cloudesley (Towne Gunner) and Jane White. (Date not mentioned.)

In the "Collier Letters" of April 26th, 1755, Mr. Edward Milward, writing to his father-in-law, Mr. John Collier "Last night's post brought me the melancholy news of the death of my cousin Molly Lintott, who died suddenly the 23rd instant. [The Editor of the "Collier Letters" adds the following note: "The lady, though referred to by her maiden name, had, in fact, then lately been married to a Mr. Cloudesley, as appears from subsequent letters of Mr. Cranston's."]

Mrs. Cloudesley was the daughter of Edward Lintott, who died December 1st, 1761. He resided at Bunger Hill House, near the present Ore Railway Station, and the house appears in the plan of the Collier Lands. (This points to the fact that the family of Cloudesley existed in Hastings long after the death of Mrs. Shovell, or rather, as she was at the time of her death Mrs. Flaxman.)

In the Chamberlains' Accounts passed 22nd June, 1657, the following place is mentioned, "A watering place at Shovell field." (As the word "watering" is commonly applied to a place where running water crosses a road, this may have been some part of the Bourne Stream, near the "Slough" at the bottom of Old London Road, or the Priory Stream, both being within the boundary of the Corporation Lands. I have not been able to identify the Shovell Field as being near "The Slough." The Torfield on the one side and the Pound Field on the opposite side of the Old London Road, were open spaces used when the Cattle Market was held at the top of High Street, and are both shown in the plan of the Collier Lands, [ 79 ]in 1750.) Mr. Bryant thinks "it might have been at the Pound, where the market carts put up. Here the Bourne Stream was nearly level with the road, and would make a good watering-place. The Bourne could not be approached in any other place by horses nearer than Courthouse Street, and here it was some feet below the level. Horses and carts went up its bed as far as the Creek."


In the Suss. Arch. Coll., vol. 14, p. 107, in an article on the old houses of Hastings, by Thomas Ross, there appears a view of one, under which is a description, viz.: "Mrs. Shovell's House, All

Page85-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Mrs. Shovell's House, All Saints' Street,
From a Sketch by Thomas Ross in 1862, with the Passage at the end leading to Wood's Row.

Saints' Street." In this view the letters "H.C.I.S." appear, being the well-known mark of the Hastings Cottage Improvement Society. This house is described by Ross (p. 108-9), as being "of historical interest, since it was the residence of the mother of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. It has been assumed that this gallant man was a native of Hastings, and the name of Shovell fields points to the existence of a family so called. The Admiral, however, was born at Cockthorpe, in Norfolk. The mother's house was last occupied by Susan Hobden; it was partly pulled down in 1838 ; and No. 117, All Saints' Street occupies the site." Upon first noticing this view [ 80 ]with the letters H.C.I.S. on it, and reading Ross's description, that it was No. 117, All Saints' Street, and had been partly pulled down in 1838, it was apparent to me Ross had either chosen for his illustration the wrong view, or he had fallen into error in his description as to the number. I pointed out this fact to the Archaeologists upon the occasion of their visit to Hastings in 1902, when I had the honour of describing to them the old houses still existing in the town.

The house represented in Ross's view may still be seen, being Nos. 125-6, All Saints' Street ; they were until recently under my charge as Manager of the H.C.I.S., but have been sold, and bear the mark

Page86-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png Photo 1911 F. J. Parsons, Ltd.
Mrs. Shovell's House, 125-126, All Saints' Street,
as it appears to-day, with the letters H.C.I.S., as in Ross's View, with Passage at the end leading to Wood's Row.

H.C.I.S. These have always been known to the oldest inhabitants as " Mrs. Shovell's House." Mr. Alfred Bryant, an old Hastinger, 82 years of age, now residing at Enfield, who still possesses a wonderful memory, informs me he was born at No 128, a few doors from Mrs. Shovell's House, and has corroborated the tradition as to [ 81 ]Nos. 125-6 being her traditional residence. Mr. Bryant has been a keen student of the history of Hastings, and has written much on the subject. "Enfield, October 28th, 1911. Dear Mr. Cousins, I agree with you as to the site of Shovell's house, and believe Ross has made a mistake. He is right in his view of the house, but wrong in his number. I believe he is also wrong in his statement that it was partly pulled down in 1838.

No. 117 may have been, but not 125-6. No 117 was occupied in 1838 by Mr. Jeudwine, a grocer. No. 128 was owned and occupied by my grandfather, Thomas Tutt, next door (No. 127) lived a man named Pickett, a patten and clog maker ; then came a passage lead-

Page87-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.pdf.png

By Miss M. Johnson. Lent by the Museum Committee.
"The House in which Sir Cloudesley Shovell was Born."

This Artist executed several Water Color Drawings of Hastings about a Century ago.

ing to the Bourne, and the two old houses adjoining this passage - (No. 125-6) were known as Shovell's House. Yours truly, Alfred Bryant." Again, the view by Miss M. Johnson of the same house, about 1810, bears the description in the left hand corner, " The house in which Sir Cloudesley Shovell was born," this being the prevailing belief at that time.

The following extract is from the title deeds of 125-6, All Saints Street, lent to me for reference. The Abstract commences : k 10th September, 1767, with the Will of Sarah Lock, who devised the premises to her niece, Susannah Hobday, daughter of Robert and [ 82 ]Susannah Hobday. (Note. It is Susan Hobden in Ross's description, and a mistake might have easily been made in copying.)

I therefore think Ross fell into an error in the number of the house, but was correct in his view of the same, for the following reasons, viz. : I. The view given by Ross exactly corresponds with the existing houses, 125 and 126, All Saints' Street. 2. The Hastings Cottage Improvement Society are the owners of 125-6. 3. They never owned No. 117 mentioned by Ross. 4. The number of All Saints' Street have not been altered. Therefore, the reputed residence of Mrs. Shovell still exists, and is represented by the view taken 191 1. The deeds also prove that premises No. 125-6, formerly one house, with a garden running down to the Bourne Stream, and was, according to Brett, occupied as the Parish Workhouse. And

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J. Rouse.
Lent by the Museum Committee
Rare View of Mrs. Shovell's House, All Saints' Street.

afterwards, upon the garden, were erected Cottages, No. 1 to 12, Wood's Row, built by one Abraham Wood, at one time lessee with Francis Emary, of the Swan Hotel.

The property was purchased by the H.C.I.S. in 1857, and the late Dr. Greenhill, one of the founders, and for many years the Secretary of this old Society, has left a memorandum dated 1857, that the house was then about 250 years old. It is timber-built, of massive oak and plaster, with stout oak flooring, and is a fair specimen of the houses of the 16th century, but is now much out of the perpendicular. No. 125 was used as the parlour, and 126 as the kitchen, with the usual extensive fireplace, with side seats and cupboards. This old house has now been sold by the H.C.I.S. [ 83 ]
Page89-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.jpg
[ 84 ]In Ross's Guide to. Hastings, 1st Ed., 1835, p,37, he says : "Sir Cloudesley Shovell said to be a native of Hastings, was born in 1650. The house pointed out as his residence is No. 117, All Saints' Street," and makes no mention of his mother. These contradictory statements leave us in much doubt as to which story Ross based his tradition upon. Ross's account has been copied by all the writers of later Guide Books since 1835, while in his article published in the Suss." Arch. Coll. vol. 14, written in 1862, he drops the tradition as to Sir Cloudesley himself living here, by changing it to that of his mother, and gives no reason for doing so. --Author.

In closing this article on the hero whose name has by tradition been so frequently quoted by writers of local guide books as connected with "Hastings of Bygone Days," and the claim that his mother's former residence remains to us, I am permitted to give an extract of a letter from the late Hon. R. Marsham-Townshend in my returning proofs of this article. " . . I enclose your proof sheets (with suggested alterations), and hope you will make as much or as little use of them as you please. I also enclose the two numbers of 'Notes and Queries,' containing my articles of 1884 and 1895, on Sir Cloudesley Shovell. They give the pith of all I know of his family history, and I have discovered nothing since."

I think it may be fairly said that any persistent tradition is likely to have had some foundation, even when, as in the present case, there is no actual evidence, and the facts of there having been Cloudesley's resident in Hastings, and of a piece of land having been known as "Shovell's Field," are clearly in favour of the tradition.

If any really authentic documentary evidence should ever turn up, I should, of course, be very glad to hear of it, but, so far, I look upon Crockatt as our only absolutely safe guide with regard to the early days of Sir Cloudesley.

On the previous page is reproduced copy of the original curious document bearing the autograph of Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, lent by the late Hon. R. Marsham-Townshend, especially for this work. Another of a similar nature has recently been found in Norwich Museum, by Mr. A. G. Fidler, of Enfield, who has sent the following memorandum : " Document dated 4th September, 1700, signed by Sir Cloudesley Shovell, one of the four Tellers of His Majesty's Exchequer, acknowledging the final advance of £28 on loan of £400 during the life of Elizabeth Shovell, towards the expenses of the war with France." Elizabeth was the daughter of Sir Cloudesley, afterwards Lady Marsham.

The following was received from the late Hon. Robert MarshamTownshend after the Article on Sir Cloudesley Shovell was made up for the press :-

"December 12th, 1911 - In going carefully through all my Shovell notes, I have come across the enclosed which I had totally [ 85 ]forgotten." The document referred to is in manuscript, and is entitled, "Extract from the Diary of Abraham De la Pryme Under -- date of December 29th, 1697 I heard a gentleman say that was in the ship with him about six years ago, that, as they were sailing over against Hastings, in Sussex, says Sir Cloudesley, ' Pilot, put neer, I have a little business a shore here,' so we put nere, and him and this gentleman went a land in the boat, and having walked about half-a-mile ashore, Sir Clowdsley came to a little house ; 'Come,' says he, to the gentleman, 'my business is here, I came on purpose to see the good woman of this house.' Upon which they knocked at the door, and out came a poor old woman, upon which Sir Clcwdsley kist her, and then fell down on his knees, begged her blesing, and called her mother (shee being his mother that had removed out of Yorkshire thither). He was mighty kind to her and shee to him, and after that he had pay'd his visit, he left her ten guineas, and took his leave with tears in his eyes, and departed to his ship."

The late Hon. R. Marsham-Townshend adds in his letter "Grossly inaccurate as De la Pryme was in his account of the early days of Sir Cloudesley, it is most interesting to find that the story of his visit to his mother at Hastings was already current in 1697, in the lifetime of both of them"

In the face of this interesting evidence there seems no reasonable doubt that Mrs. Shovell, otherwise Flaxman, resided in Hastings, and that Sir Cloudesley Shovell visited her at her house in All Saints' Street. [ 86 ]


Cock-Fighting. Turning to the ""Collier Letters" for information on this subject, I find that Cock Fighting was one of the sports indulged in by the rich. In England this sport flourished for fully six centuries, and the cockpit at Whitehall was erected and patronised by royalty. A visitor to London in 1709 describes the Grays Inn cockpit as "round like a tower, with benches rising all round."

In a letter of January, 1746, Mr. Godfrey Webster, of Battle Abbey, writes to Mr. Collier at Hastings : "Am much obliged to you in getting some Walks for my game cocks ; I propose to send them tomorrow, if it is convenient to you to let me know the farmers' names where they are to go, that I may send for them when they are to fight." Cock-fighting. was a specially sanctioned annual sport of public schools, the schoolmaster receiving a regular tax from the boys on the occasion, which was on Shrove Tuesday. In confirmation of this, one of Mr. Collier's sons, then at the Westminster School, writing to him in 1749, informs his father that he had bought some good fighting-cocks.

Fox Hunting. This is mentioned in 1750, when Parson Woodward, of Fairlight, speaks of an invitation from Mr. Milward "to partake of ye diversion and exercise of a fox-chase at Fairlight." At the present time the cliffs at Fairlight afford good sport for the members of the East Sussex Hunt. It is also recorded that on February 6th, 1824, Mr. Edward Wenham, a rich and sporting resident of 10, Wellington Square, entertained a large number of friends at dinner here after a Fox-hunt.

"Rabbitting." The Coney Banks, on the slopes of the West Hill, at Croft Lane (shown in the plan of the Collier Lands) was a rabbit warren, and, indeed, all over the Castle Hill rabbits were strictly preserved by Mr. Collier, and afterwards by Mr. Edward Milward, his son-in-law, for the purposes of sport for themselves and their friends.

It is also reported that a man found guilty of wiring these rabbits was sent to prison for three months ! At a later date, Mr. Milward mentions the fact that if this rabbit-warren was abandoned, he could find plenty in the Castle. (See the "Collier Letters.") A view of these Coney Banks is given on next page. This particular spot has not much altered, excepting no rabbits are left. There is now a rough path from the West Hill to Croft Lane and Torfield over these Coney Banks, and they are still known and so called by old Hastingers.

Cricket. When this still popular game was first played is lost in obscurity. The earliest matches of which scores have been preserved, were those of Kent and All England, decided on the Honorable Artillery Ground, Finsbury, in 1746. And the first written laws of the game were drawn up by a Committee of Noblemen and Gentlemen who met at the Star and Garter, in Pall Mall, [ 87 ]London, on February 25th, 1774, and are believed to be the first written laws governing the game, when scores were recorded by means of notches cut on the edge of a strip of wood. The following reference to the game is found in the "Collier Letters'" : July 9th, 1745, from James Collier, from London, to his father at Hastings. "A great cricket match is to be played on Bromley Common, next Fryday, between Kent and All England. The Prince of Wales and all the nobility in town will be present. I hope you will not be angry if I don't set out from London till that morning. Mr. Rowe has promised to accompany me so far, and I am in hopes of entertaining the Club at the Old Swan Inn (Hastings), with particulars of the game, and will certainly produce another poem, because I know a gentleman who is ordered to attend on purpose." [This custom

Page93-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

The Coney Banks, Croft Road, 1807. By H.H. Lent by Rev. H. C. B. Foyster

was brought down to recent times by the cricket poet, Craig, now dead, who regularly attended the Cricket Week at Hastings, and enlivened the patrons with his poetry, ready wit, and smart repartee.] It is probable the game was played in Hastings soon after the date above mentioned. On reference to the plan of the Collier Lands, there will be found a field (No. 33) called the Cricket Field, containing about seven acres, and may be located in the present Priory Road, near the Corporation Water Works. This field belonged to Mr. John Collier, and may have been set apart by him for the game as his son was evidently interested in it.

Coming to a later period the game was for many years played on the East Hill, near " Rocklands." The wood-cut on the next page was found in Ransom's old printing office, [[George Street[[, Hastings, and was used for illustrating the announcement of the matches. [ 88 ]
Page94-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

[Lent by Miss Clark.] [ 89 ]I am indebted to Mr. Thomas Parkin, J. P. (himself a gentleman player of former days, who has preserved many records of the game as played in Hastings), for some interesting notes for this article. In 1825, Hastings may be said to have commenced its connection with first-class cricket ; that year saw the birth, at a house in Wellington Square, Hastings, of Mr. Arthur Haygarth, the well-known gentleman player, and compiler of "Frederick Lillywhite's Scores and Biographies." In the same year also, Edward Thwaites, a tallow chandler, of Hastings, assisted England in a match at Lords. In 1826 was played a memorable single-wicket match at Benenden, in Kent, between Edward Thwaites, Fielder, and Sawyer (of Hastings), and three Benenden cricketers for a stake of £40, when Wenham, of Benenden, remained at the wicket nearly two whole days and scored nearly 100 runs. The first Hastings Cricket Club was formed in 1840, and amongst the members were, E. Thwaites, G. Standen, Sawyer, Baxter, Burchell, and Tutt. The matches were then played in a field on the West Hill, known as Thwaites' Field, afterwards Breeds', near where Collier Road is now, and not far from the Cricket Field mentioned in the Collier plan of 1750. Many records of notable Hastings matches in which such "lions" as Fuller, Pilch, Box, Alfred Mynn, and Lillywhite participated. In 1843 a great match was played against Brighton on the East Hill ; in this match the late Mr. C. H. Gausden played for the visitors. Mr. Gausden, who was the founder of the ground at Hove, afterwards became a resident of St. Leonards, and a member for many years of the Corporation, as Councillor, Alderman, and Mayor, was the founder of the business of Gausden and Dawson, Auctioneers (now Dawson and Harden). In 1857 was formed the well-known East Sussex Club, with its ground on the old Race Course, in the Crowhurst Valley, St. Leonards. Its members included many leading residents who are now deceased : Sir Anchitel Ashburnham, Mr. Herbert M. Curteis, Sir A. Webster, Mr. V. B. Crake, Mr. W. E. M. Watts, Mr. E. Farncombe, Mr. W. Shadforth Boger, Mr. E. Hume, Major Stileman and others. Matches were played with the principal Clubs of Sussex. The first county match was played at St. Leonards in 1857, between Sussex and the M.C.C. In i860 the East Sussex Club was dissolved, and a Town Club, called the Hastings United came into existence, the late Mr. E. Foster, a tailor (who died some years ago in Castle Hill Road), being the professional. The Club ground was on the East Hill. It was in connection with this new Club that Mr. A. J. Brook (Johnny Brook, as the crowd called him), a mighty batsman and a good bowler, came into notice ; also the famous cricketing family of Phillips, Henry, William, Albert, James, and Peter, all five splendid exponents of the game, and playing in a match in 1874 ^or Hastings against the East Sussex Club at St. Leonards, the five brothers scored 174 out of a total of 241 runs. Henry, Albert and James, all played for Sussex County, Henry as wicket-keeper, and one of the best the County has ever produced, besides being a good bat. Excepting Albert, the brothers have all passed away. [ 90 ]In 1864 the new Central Recreation Ground was opened. The first grand match on this ground was between a United England Eleven and twenty-two of Hastings and St. Leonards. This match was memorable for the feat performed by George Griffin, of Surrey, who hit four consecutive balls out of the ground in one over off the bowling of "Farmer" Bennett of Kent. Scoring 6 for each hit. Talking of Henry Phillips, playing for Sussex against the Australians at Brighton, he made his century, and in 1872, Sussex v. Surrey, he stumped five and caught five, securing half the wickets of his opponents.

In 1874 another East Sussex Club was formed with Mr. Thomas (afterwards Earl) Brassey, as its patron, and Mr. Herbert Mascell Curteis, as President, but it was dissolved in 1878.

In 1877 cricket in Hastings was at a very low ebb ; the author of this book called a meeting of townsmen at the Queen's Hotel, with a view of resuscitating the game, but failed to raise the enthusiasm of those present, and the writer resolved to take upon himself the responsibility of a match between the United South of England and 18 of Hastings and District. W. G. Grace captained the South of England team, and the Hastings 18 included the brothers Harry, Jim, and Albert Phillips. The match was a great success, and the game again revived in Hastings. Perhaps the local club which had the longest existence was the Hastings Central, afterwards called the Hastings and St. Leonards Central Cricket Club, on the Cricket Ground, President, Mr. A. J. Brook, followed by Mr. F. Ransom, Mr. Stanley T. Weston, and for the last 10 years of its existence, Mr. Thomas Parkin. This Club was dissolved in 1893. Afterwards followed a series of Annual Cricket Weeks, arranged by Mr. William Carless, and a Committee of local gentlemen, which formed one of the principal events of the year. Mr. Carless' mantle has now fallen upon Mr. W. E. F. Cheesman, who is proving a worthy successor. The Cricket Week was abandoned during the war and is now revived.

Archery. Some time after the founding of St. Leonards, Mr. James Burton created that delightful retreat known as the St. Leonards Archery Gardens, near Quarry Hill, and a Club was formed called the St. Leonards Archers, and in 1834-5, the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria, then staying at St. Leonards, became its patrons, and jointly presented the Club with an embroidered banner, designed by the Princess, together with the Victoria Challenge Prizes, etc.

A view is given on next page of these beautiful grounds.

Racing. The accompanying view shews the Race Course at Bulverhythe Salts. On October 3rd, 1823, the first annual Hastings Races came off here, when a Town Plate of 50 sovereigns and a Ladies' Plate of 50 sovereigns, and other prizes were competed for. Mr. Barton, owner of the land, Mr. Edward Wenham, the reputed owner of smuggling cutters, and Mr. Edward Farncombe, were the [ 91 ]

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[ 92 ]stewards. These race meetings were well-attended by visitors and residents. On September 14th, 1826, the Hastings Races were held for the first time on the new course, in the Filsham Valley, and were a great success, there being 6,000 persons present. Again, on September 29th and 30th, 1827, the Races attracted a great crowd, and Mrs. W. Camac's equipage, with costly trappings, and scarlet liveried postillions and outriders, was conspicuous, and upwards of 200 other carriages were on the course. Race Ball in the evening at the Swan Hotel was attended by 200 of the elite of the town and neighbourhood. On August 30th, 1830, two years after St. Leonards had been founded, was the first occasion that St. Leonards joined with Hastings in providing the necessary funds for the Annual Races.

In later times, within the recollection of the older inhabitants, Races were held up the Crowhurst Valley, opposite The Grove, Hollington, when trains were run from Hastings and St. Leonards and London, dropping the passengers on the siding near the course. And later, they were held on Breeds' Farm, Ore, near the Rye Road. Then followed the annual and most enjoyable Steeplechases, in connection with the East Sussex Hunt, at Catsfield, near Normanhurst.

Theatre. "The Society of Hastings are gay without profligacy, and enjoy life without mingling in its debaucheries." So said a writer, quoted in one of the guide books, in the latter part of the 18th century, at which time it it stated the Corporation withheld its sanction to a theatre being erected within its jurisdiction, believing it to be an immoral innovation. The first theatre mentioned was provided in an upper room, attached to the Hare and Hounds Inn, Ore, which Inn is described as having a theatre on one side and tea gardens on the other, and had been for many years a favourite rendezvous for visitors and the officers and soldiers from the Halton Barracks. The theatre was a weather-boarded building painted white, and the public entrance was up a few steps. It is recorded of the late Thomas Sidney Cooper, R.A., that he began life as a scene painter at this theatre. The manager's name was Sage. On one occasion, Edmund Kean and Robert William Elliston were recruiting their health at Hastings, at a time when a strolling theatrical company was suffering great pecuniary embarrassment owing to bad business. This fact came to the knowledge of the two actors. They expressed a wish to see the theatre, where they found young John Baldwin Buckstone, a member of the company. The true position being made known, and that the poor scene painter, T. S. Cooper, had been robbed of a five pound note he had saved for a rainy day ; it was arranged that a performance of "The Merchant of Venice" (Shvlock, by Edmund Kean) and "The Liar" (Wildrake by R. W. Elliston) be announced for the benefit of their unfortunate brethren. The result was a packed house " from floor to ceiling." The management were enabled to pay all salaries, make good poor Cooper's loss, and left sufficient to take the troupe comfortably [ 93 ]on to Folkestone and Dover. The Hare and Hounds Theatre kept its doors open until 1821, and on the 16th of October, 1823, Mr. Brooke obtained permission from the Corporation to erect a Theatre in Bourne Street, Hastings, an account of which will be found elsewhere.

Since writing the foregoing, my attention has been drawn to " Toole's Reminiscences," published about 1899, from which is extracted the following :

" Mr. Toole quotes a story of Paul Bedford, relating to an interesting incident in the early career of the late J. B. Buckstone. The latter was engaged, when quite a boy, for utility business at Hastings, but Wombwell's show proved too powerful a rival to the Theatre, and the manager (Mr. Sage) resolved to bring out a strong new play, which was a great hit at the Surrey Theatre, with a view to retrieving the fortunes of the Company. In this piece the boy Buckstone was cast for an unimportant part, but he went out upon the Down (Fairlight Down) to study it. On the third day he was followed by a stranger (Edmund Kean), who soon got into conversation with him, and elicited the fact that young Buckstone was a member of the Company of Actors then playing at Hastings, and was studying his part. The stranger enquired how they were doing at the Theatre, and hoped business was good, when Buckstone replied that he was sorry to say it was bad. There was a wild beast show in the town, which had emptied the Theatre. The truth was, the Management was hard up, and if the new piece did not draw he was afraid they should all be ruined. A friend of his, Cooper, the scene painter, had saved a five-pound note for a rainy day, and kept it in his watch case, but the watch was stolen on the last night, and affairs were not at all rosy with any of them. The stranger desired to see the Theatre, and was shown over it by the boy (he had, I believe, seen it before, and the performance too, as he was staying at Hastings to recruit his health). When he was about to leave, a post chaise drove up to the door, and Mr. Ellison, then manager of Drury Lane, jumped out, and shaking the stranger (Mr. Kean) by the hand, begged him to return to London to appear there in a new play. To this the stranger agreed, on condition that Ellison remained at Hastings to play on the succeeding night for their unfortunate brethren. That night it was announced that on the following evening the pieces would be "THE MERCHANT OF VENICE" : Shylock by Edmund Kean, and "THE LIAR" : Wildrake by R. W. Ellison. The result was a house that enabled the management to pay all back salaries, to buy Cooper a new watch and note, and money enough to take the troupe comfortably on to Dover (playing first at Folkestone en route). Sidney Cooper, the well-known painter of animals, began life as scene painter at Hastings." [ 94 ]Since the first edition was issued, the Author has discovered the exact site of the Hare and Hounds Theatre at Ore, from a plan in the Corporation archives, and a tablet has been placed on the site, which was unveiled in June, 1914, by Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree during the Pageant of Heroes.

Assemblies are mentioned in the "Collier Letters" as taking place every Sunday evening, with much tea drinking, at the Swan Inn, as early as 1745. A gentlemen's Club was held here for many years, where all the political and social news was discussed. Whist and cribbage parties, balls, and dinner parties were frequently arranged by the fashionable visitors and residents. Billiards and musical assemblies were provided at the Swan, Barry's and Powell's Libraries, and later on at the Pelham Arcade, which was opened on August 18th, 1824. From this period until the present Gaiety Theatre in Queen's Road was erected by Mr. George Gaze, the Hastings and St. Leonards public had to be content with the performances provided by the late Mr. Charles Lockey in the old Music Hall, Robertson Street, opened in 1858, followed in 1872 by the Hastings Pier and the St. Leonards Pier in 1891. At the present time, who can say the Borough is not amply provided with places of amusement.

Cricket. The following note was found too late to be inserted in proper order, but is worthy of recording here. On July 14-15-16, 1902, a match was played on the Central Cricket Ground between Sussex and Surrey, when all records in scoring were broken. Sussex made 703 for 8 wickets in 1st innings, and declared closed, and 170 for 4 wickets, 2nd innings, and declared. Total, 873. Fry, 159 ; "Ranji," 234 not out ; Vine, 93. Surrey made 552 runs Abel, 179; Hayward, 144; Capt. Bask, 122. Total runs for the match 1427, beating all records on the Central Ground. [ 95 ]Charles Lamb, who was a visitor at Hastings, in 1823, wrote of smugglers : " I like a smuggler. He is the only honest thief. He robs nothing but the revenue an abstraction I never greatly cared about. I could go out with them in their mackerel boats, or about their less ostensible business, with some satisfaction." Mr. Alfred Bryant, of Enfield, in writing of his native place, says : "I was born there in 1829, and every nook and corner of Hastings of 70 years ago was known to me." And referring to smuggling he states " No business carried on in Hastings was more popular and extensive than that of smuggling. Defrauding the revenue, so far from being considered a crime, was looked upon as being a laudable pursuit, and the most successful 'runners' were heroes. Nearly the whole of the inhabitants, old and young, and of every station of life, were, to some extent, engaged in it. It was attended with much risk, and sometimes loss of life, but being so lucrative, this was hardly a consideration. Fishermen, farmers, mechanics, tradespeople, and even some of those in authority, lent a helping hand in the transit and safe keeping of the smuggled goods, everyone being so much mixed up with it that there was never the slightest fear of any information being carried to the preventive men when a cargo was about to be run." There are many of the old houses in the Old Town which would appear to have been openly planned and erected with various contrivances and secret places for hiding smuggled goods, which the present building bye-laws would make impossible. Most of these are known to the writer. In one case the " Smugglers Hole" is under the floor of a living room, in several others roomy recesses built in the walls each side the fireplaces and the openings hidden from view by the cosy seats, and in several. others an entire double floor, with sufficient space between to take 40 to 50 tubs, the floor is loosened by a secret spring.

In "Smugglers and Smuggling," by John Banks, some interesting stories are related of Hastings Smugglers. Mr. Banks lived at a period when this illicit trade was popular. One who knew him described him as "not only a schoolmaster, but willing to engage in anything from smuggling to land surveying." Mr. Banks wrote from a personal knowledge of the subject. He says : " In order to better understand how smuggling was so easy some sixty or seventy years ago (1810-20), it may be well to allude briefly to a few localities. The Smugglers had a curious way of naming different parts of the coast thus : " The ' Old Woman's Tap,' (now the site of the Royal Victoria Hotel) was a favourite rendezvous of the smugglers, and there was a place little to the westward of it, called the 'Stussels,' which was the scene of a curious transaction between a custom house officer and two noted smugglers, one Jemmy Roper, [ 96 ]the master of a boat, and the other S______ S_____, the principal owner of the cargo contained in the boat. The Custom house officer, who was a supernumerary, going down to the water, found Jemmy holding the boat as well as he could with her bow against the beach, he having come in by mistake before the appearance of the company, which, however, was in the immediate neighbourhood. The officer with characteristic bluntness d________d Jemmy as a fool for bringing in 'the boat before the company was there, as he had then no other alternative but to seize her. Jemmy in turn d____d the officer, and said, ' If you be a man, act as one.' In the meantime the principal owner had arrived on the spot, having left the company just behind the full (the ridge of

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By F. Nicholson, R.A. From the Author's Collection.

The Govers (or Covehurst Cottage), near Lover's Seat, Fairlight 1812.
This view is reproduced from an original lithographic etching on stone, by Francis Nicholson, R.A., who made many sketches in this neighbourhood about 1812, which enabled the artist to copy nature in a marvellously accurate manner. Covehurst Cottage stood in a lonely position on a ledge of rock amongst a profusion of trees, shrubs and undergrowth, at the bottom of Fairlight Glen, and was inhabited in 1825. It became famous as a smugglers' haunt, and before its destruction by the sea, about 1830, was frequently visited by the public, who made excursions by boat and landed there, where refreshments could be obtained. It could also be approached by a walk along the beach at low water.

shingle thrown up by the sea at high water). A bargain was soon struck, by which the officer was to have ten tubs on condition of letting the others go free. The company was soon brought to the [ 97 ]boat, and the first five pairs of tubs ordered by the owner to be placed on the beach, and the men who brought them told to go and get another load. The boat was soon emptied, and the smugglers and officer parted with a hearty 'good night' on both sides. After the smugglers were well away, Mr. Custom house officer fired his pistol as a signal for assistance, to help him away with the 'goods he had seized.' Another, 'Jinns's Stool' was a large rock, near Galley Hill ; ' The Slide, ' a place near Rock-a-Nore ; ' The Whippings,' the high cliff near Ecclesbourne ; ' Robin Whiting's Hole,' just beyond Ecclesbourne ; 'Broken Shins' and 'The Gringer,' farther to the east; and 'The Marrow-bone Gap ' near Fairlight Signal Station."

"On the 13th of March, 1821, a fisherman of Hastings, Joseph Swaine, was shot in the forenoon, on the beach, by George England, a Coast Blockademan. Swaine's boat had come in, and it was the

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By James Rouse Lent by Mr, Chas. Dawson, F.S.A
Smugglers' Fight at Govers Point.
The scene of this] encounter between the Preventive-Men and the Smugglers while "running" a cargo of tubs is the Govers, or Covehurst Bay. Described in an early guide book as a bay with two horns, the eastern horn was known to the fishermen as Lee-ness point, and the western as Govers Point situate below the Cliffs near the Dripping Well and Lovers' Seat. Doubtless the smugglers are here making their escape up Fairlight Glen, a favourite landing place, as the Glen provided a good cover for getting away into the country.

custom of the Blockademen to search all boats on their arrival ashore. An altercation ensued about it in this instance, and Swaine forced England out of the boat, after taking away his cutlass, and throwing it into the. sea. When out of the boat, England stepped back a few paces, and shot Swaine dead on the spot. One, Curly Taught, was shot through the arm by the same bullet, but did not know it until he felt the blood trickling down his fingers. England was tried for murder at Horsham, found guilty, and sentenced to be hung, but [ 98 ]was afterwards pardoned. This affair caused great excitement at Hastings. There is a tombstone in All Saints' churchyard recording the occurrence."

"In February, 1827, about twenty smugglers went down to the eastward of Fairlight. They wrested some muskets from the Blockademen,' beat them with the butt ends, and run one of them through with a bayonet. The smugglers retreated, leaving one dead ; another was found afterwards, having been apparently dropped by the smugglers ; a third, some distance on the way to Icklesham, the body scarcely cold ; the rest were carried off.

"During the time of the Coast blockade, affrays between the smugglers and the Blockademen were frequent and bloody. Nearly the last of those blood-sheddings took place," says Mr. William Durrant Cooper, "on January 3rd, 1828, near Bexhill ; I have had an opportunity of gathering some of the particulars of this event from one of the participators, now living at Bexhill. According to his account a cargo of goods was landed at Mr. Brook's forty-acre point near Bexhill. It was a moonlight night, the moon being in the last quarter. The tubs of spirits were loaded on men's shoulders and in carts. A noted smuggler, a native of Bexhill, was captain of the boat. Of this man (now living, I believe), I shall have something further to narrate. The Coast Blockademen from Galley Hill Tower tried to intercept the smugglers, but finding themselves too weak for the purpose (the smugglers being armed, and having likewise with them sixteen or eighteen batsmen), they obtained reinforcements that raised their number to about forty men. They came up with the smugglers near Sidley, and here the armed portion of the smugglers drew themselves up in regular line, and a desperate fight took place. In the first onset a quarter- master, named Collins, was killed. Two batsmen were also killed ; the body of one named Smithurst was carried and laid in the barn of ' Cramp's Farm.' When his body was found his bat was still grasped in his hands, and it was almost hacked in pieces by the cutlasses of the Blockademen. The goods were all got away, as were also all the wounded. One of the wounded men, named P_______, was taken to his home, a lonely house near Windmill Hill, and the surgeon who attended him was in the habit of taking his horse to a gentleman's stables in the neighbourhood, putting him up there, and quietly walking across the fields to the house where his patient was lying. The smuggler became a cripple for life."

"The habit of export smuggling has been, for some hundreds of years at least, part of the system to which the middle and lower classes in Sussex have been trained. Large fortunes were made by it in East Sussex. It principally consisted of wool, from the sheep of Romney Marsh, and it came to an end only during the last war with France. The practice of import smuggling greatly increased [ 99 ]at the beginning of the 18th century during the Continental wars."

About the middle of the 18th century the notorious so-called " Hawkhurst Gang" by their cruelties and atrocities were a terror to the whole district. The history of this gang reached a climax in 1747, and is told in an old book in the author's collection, with the following title, "The History of the Inhuman and Unparalleled Murders of Mr. William Galley, a Custom House Officer, and Mr. Daniel Chater, a Shoemaker, by Fourteen Notorious Smugglers, with the Trials and Execution of the Seven Bloody Criminals at Chichester. Also the Trials of John Mills and Henry Sheerman, Laurance and Thomas Kemps, Robert Fuller, and Jockey Brown, condemned at East Grinstead. With the Trials at Large of Thomas Kingsmill and other Smugglers, for breaking open the Custom House at Poole. Written by a Gentleman of Chichester. Printed and Published by J. Williams, Portsea."

The following is an extract: "In September, 1747, one, John Diamond, otherwise Dymar, agreed with a number of smugglers to go over to the Island of Guernsey, to smuggle tea, where, having purchased a considerable quantity, on their return in a cutter, were taken by Captain Johnson, who carried the vessel and tea to the port of Poole, and lodged the tea in the Custom House there. The smugglers being so incensed at this fatal miscarriage of their purchase resolved to have revenge, and a body of sixty of them, all well armed and mounted, assembled in Charlton Forest. In the night, between the 6th and 7th of October, about 30 of them then went to Poole, while the remainder were placed as scouts along the various roads to watch the Officers and Soldiers. They broke open the Custom House, and took away all the tea. Daniel Chater, who met them on the road, gave information to William Galley, a Custom House officer. These men followed the smugglers on horseback, and came up with them, when their identity was betrayed, and they were seized and done to death in a most cruel manner, being put through horrible tortures."

The leaders of the gang, Benjamin Tapner, of West Stoke, Sussex ; William Carter, of Rowland's Castle ; John Hammond, of Burstead, Sussex ; John Cobby, of Sidlesham, Sussex ; Richard Mills, the elder, of Trotton, Sussex ; Richard Mills, the younger, of Stedham ; and William Jackson, of Welsworth, Hants, were found guilty and executed. And the gang was ultimately broken up.

" On January 1st, 1832, there was a terrific smuggling encounter at Warrior's Gate, in which several of the smugglers were wounded, and three of them died. Several of the Coastguards were also badly beaten by the batsmen (men engaged to assist in landing the cargo). Two bodies of the smugglers were found under a hedge on the Gensing Farm. The cargo was seized, and consisted of 205 tubs of spirits." [ 100 ]Again on the 27th of the following February another desperate affray took place at No. 40, Martello Tower, Bopeep, in which a Coastguard was killed and three others were injured, one dying soon after. On this occasion the Coastguards captured 150 tubs.

Such occurrences were frequent, and afforded plenty of excitement for the more peaceful inhabitants.

"Why Smuggling was Winked at."

Much has been written, and much more might be said of the doings of runners of contraband goods ; for smuggling was the pastime, as well as the business, of almost every fisherman and

Two Well-known Smugglers' Haunts. Page106-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png Lent by Mr. G. W. Wood
New England Bank, Bopeep.
This old inn, often mentioned in tales of smuggling, stood, a hundred years ago, on the rising ground now occupied by West Marina Railway Station, at Bopeep, St. Leonards, on the road to Bexhill. It is referred to in "Banks' Smugglers and Smuggling, " and was the centre of a district often used by the smugglers, as offering facilities for running their contraband cargoes ashore, and the scene of frequent conflicts between them and the Blockade men.

tradesman of Hastings, until well into the 19th century. The following tale told by a tradesman of the town some years ago in the "Hastings News," who was well-known to the Editor as a long-shore smuggler. Sam B , said, "Well, you see, I was never a smuggler in a real way, I never went to sea. I was only a long shore man,  [ 101 ]and helped to land cargoes, and sometimes carried a bat, for fear of an accident, as the Irishman said when he took his shilelagh to the fair. I never exactly got into what you call a regular fight, but was pretty often very near it. Many a time a few of us have led the Blockademen a dance on the wrong road. If we meant to run a lot at Covehurst, we would make a show at the Priory, and pretend to be sneaking about the Rock Fair Ground, or further westward, by the Old Woman's Tap (where the Victoria Hotel is now). I have 'ticed the Government men near on to Bexhill, while our mates were running the tubs up Gensing way. If any of our mates were took, we never split on 'em. They were a true lot. Not a rat among 'em. I was never took myself, but had a narrer escape, once. That was the only time I ever felt tempted to knock a feller's brains out. Thank God I didn't ! Well, a party of us was running tubs under the East Cliff, and I was on the watch. All at once

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Lent by the Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward.
"Egglesbourne Valley." By H.H., 1807.
This view is reproduced from a Water Colour and is one of the many bearing thesignature H.H., 1807. The identity of the Artist has now been discovered as Henry Hunt. It represents Ecclesbourne Valley (spelt Egglesbourne), another spot much frequented by smugglers as offering an easy means of escape. The stream shewn is still running, and from its direction it is to be assumed the view was sketched from the shore. The original Coastguard Station at Ecclesbourne was destroyed by sea, and the station has now been abandoned by the Government, and the buildings let for private dwellings.

a lieutenant and a lot of preventives jumped out of the holes in the cliff where they had been watching us. I gave the signal, and [ 102 ]our chaps left the tubs and bolted over the hill, and up the country with the preventives after 'em. The lieutenant, who was a plucky little chap, out with a pistol and let fly at me. Lucky for me that bullet had a billet somewhere else. It whistled past without hitting me. Here's in for it, says I to myself ; life's dear anyhow, if it comes to my life or yours, why I prefer to save my own. So before my man could draw another pistol, I ran at him quick, and in a moment had him by the throat, with my bat over his head, as I felt mortal savage just then. But when I looked down into his face, - for he was but a boy compared with me and I was one of the biggest -- men in Hastings somehow I felt soft at once. He might have a mother, so had I. So, dash it, I felt I couldn't hurt him for the life of me. He looked up quite calm like he was a brave chap, and only doing his duty. I snatched the other pistol from his belt, and chucked it into the sea and says, says I, Now, lad, I don't want to hurt a hair of your head, nor I don't want a hair of my head to be hurt either. Now, if I let you go, will you wait till I get out of sight before you budge, and promise not to know me again if ever you see me ? He gasped out for I held his wind pipe tight like -- "England expects - Yes, my lad, says I, and I expects too ; so you had better be reasonable, and say, yes, quietly. Let me go and trust me, says he. So I lets him go, and trusted him ; and that way he got off, and so did I quick, you may be sure. None of the men were catched, but the tubs were nabbed. That didn't matter much, for two safe runs out of three paid us well. Old Tom T_____ was the cleverest man I knew in dishing the Blockademen. One night he met a coastguard officer. They knew each other well enough. Tom touches his hat and says, "Good morning, sir." "Good morning," says the officer, "you've been playing your little game again, I hear, but I'll nab you next time as sure as fate, mark my words."

"I don't think you will," says Tom, "and if I thought there was a chance of your doing it, I'd chuck up the business at once your wit against mine, sir." About three weeks after Tom ; wrote him a note and says he's going to run a cargo on Thursday night under the East Cliff. Just before dusk a lot of us were told off to go to Galley Hill, and I and a few others were to wait at home for a call. About eleven o'clock we got a call, and was told to make We our way to Covehurst. We cleared Tom's boat in a jiffey, and by three was at home in bed. The men at Galley Hill laid low, making an occasional flash light signal for a blind, till one o'clock, when they stole away quietly towards Sidley. We don't know what time the Coastguard gave it up. Tom sent the officer another note, it was only " My wit against yours." We often had a good laugh about it, but it was an awful risk.

(It is thought the man referred to was Tom Tutt, a noted smuggler, many years dead, but is remembered by some who are still living. Author ) [ 103 ]

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[ 104 ]


Accompanying this is a reproduction of an old print "published according to Act of Parliament, June the 28th, 1748," showing the Wreck of the Nympha Americana, a Spanish Prize, near Beachy Head, on November 29th, 1747. The inscription being so indistinct a transcript is given :-

A View of the Wreck of the Nympha A Spanish Prize.

The Nympha Americana was taken by Commodore GEORGE WALKER, Commander of the Royal Family Privateers near CADIZ, and carried first to LISBON, thence to PORTSMOUTH, and after in her Passage to LONDON She was Unfortunately Wreck'd near Beachy Head, on the Coast of Sussex, November ye 29th, 1747, at 1 O'Clock at Night. She was Built chiefly of CEDAR, About 800 Tuns Burthen, had Ports for 60 Guns, her Lading Consisted of Superfine Velvets, Cloths, Gold and Silver, Laces, And almost every other kind of Merchandize. She truck upon ye Rocks, And left her Bottom some distance from ye Shore, Which had parted at the Rungs, afterwards broke asunder in ye Midships ; The fore part Overturn'd by which Accident 30 of the 130 Men that were on Board, was Drown'd. Her Bottom could not be found till December the 24th. From which was taken up by Persons imploy'd with their Boats, near 30,000 Pounds Sterling Value of Quicksilver, Great Quantities of her Cargo Were carried off by People from different Parts : 60 of whom perish'd on the Beach, Downs, and other places ; 1 was Shot and 1 Broke his Thigh, but Notwithstanding those Accidents, Great Numbers Still continued to Search, And often found some of her Cargo, So that this may Justly be Recorded, ye most Extraordinary WRECK that ever happen'd on any part of ye Coasts of this Kingdom.

No. 1. The H'gh Cliffts from the Western part of Beachy Head fronting the Sea.
2. The Cave where the Wreckers Fatally Drank the Spiritous L'quors they took from the Ship.
3. Crowlink Gap, Tent and Battery
4. Mr. Richardson of Allciston, Falling.
5. The Passage Call'd Cook Mare Haven.
6. The Projection of the High Cliffs by Seaford.
7. The Shore at Low Water with the Wreckers taking the Merchandize. Under the Boats at Low Water 12 foot, at High 36.
8. Mr. Fletcher, Riding Officer, Who Secur'd a Great Quantity of Money for the Owners.
9. Other Persons Stopping and taking Goods from the Roamers.
[ 105 ]10. The Exact Representation of the Stern Part of the Ship as it was left on the Shore.
11. Three Portuguese Guarding it.
12. The body of the Doctor who was Drown'd attempting to save himself by Swimming.
13. A Small Sloop Sailing to Shore (persued by a French Privateer), Sav'd by ye fireing from Crowlink Battery.
14. The Boats as they Appear'd with the Men taking up the Quick-silver.

Barrodell Lambert (Pinxt et sculp.)

Published according to Act of Parliament, June the 28th, 1748. This wreck is referred to in the "Collier Letters," of which the following is an extract of an official report of the wreck made to Mr. John Collier, the Surveyor-General of the Riding Officers of the Customs, at Hastings, by his brother-in-law, Mr. James Cranston, and son of the Rev. James Cranston, the Rector of All Saints' and St. Clement's, Hastings : "5th December, 1747. The Nympha,. a Spanish Corsair, wrecked at East Dean, makes a sad noise in town ; all the Councill at the Bar retained one way or t'other. The Insurances from Portsmouth to the Downs amounts to upwards of £120,000 £30,000 of it ye Royal Exchange, £20,000 ye London Assurance ; the rest an infinite number of underwriters, and what is very extraordinary, many of ye proprietors have insur'd her to their Companies, as Belchair and Ironside (two owners), £8,000 to other Owners, so as not to lose their own share, but have £8,000 to pay to others, and none done at more than 4 per cent. The major part of the people will have it that she was run ashore on purpose."

It will be noted that large gangs of smugglers and wreckers were engaged in a desperate encounter with the Customs Officers, whilst plundering the valuable cargo, and many met their deaths by drinking to excess of the spirituous liquors taken from the ship.

The Wreck of the Amsterdam A Dutch Prize.

This remarkable occurrence took place at Bulverhythe, a few months after that of the Nympha Americana, and is mentioned in the Local Guide Books.

I am enabled, through the courtesy of the Editor of the ' 'Collier Letters," to give the official account of this wreck, in the following correspondence to Mr. John Collier, Surveyor-General to the Customs.

From Mr. Patrick to Mr. Collier, at Bath. Hastings, 17th January, 1748. "Thear is a large Dutch Ship a Shore a bout half a Mille to the East of Bullverhithe, which I hope it will not be trouble some to give you a Short Account off, her names the Amsterdam, of Amsterdam, bound to Batavia in the East Indies, burden about 600 or 700 Tons, 333 men, 54 Guns, Capt. Williams, Klump, Commander, haveing on board 28 Chest of Silver, of which 27 are lodg'd [ 106 ]in the Custom House, but what value in each Chest is unknown, but sume of them is as much as two men can carry, and this After noon one barrel is brought to the Custom House full of silver and I think as heavy as any of the Chests ; the one Chest as was missing is since found, but Emty, the rest of her Cargo in particular cannot learn, but in general they Answer, all sorts of goods. They have been at Sea 2 Months, in which time have lost 50 men by Sickness, and several more have died since the Ship has been a Shore. She came in Sunday 3 a Clock in the Affter noon, while the people was at Church with fireing a great many guns."

From Mr. Worge to Mr. Collier, at Bath. 17th January, 1748.

"Sunday last n the afternoon, a Dutch East Indiaman was drove a Shore at Bulverhith, and yesterday I rode down to see her, and from one of her Officers, who spoke a little English, I had this acct, that she was called the Amsterdam, of that place, and bound for Batavia ; abt 700 Tons and 52 Guns, and had, when she came out abt two months agoe, Three hundred men, abt halfe of wch had been lost by Sickness and washed over Board, and loaded with money, Bale Goods and Stores of all kinds. She was a new Ship, and had been all this time beating abt and never got beyond Beachy in her way. She Struck in Pvensey Bay, and Lost her Rudder, and has lain oif Bexhill at Anchor Severall day's. Some of the Hasting people got to her and undertook to Carry her to Portsmouth when the wheather would permit, but she could hold out no longer than Sunday."

"She stands in a good place, and in appearance quite whole, and may do so for some months, But no possibility of getting her off. I Believe they will Save everything that is worth saveing, to the great Disappointmt of the wreckers who come from all parts of the Country for plunder, there was yesterday, when I was there, more than a thousand of these wretches with long poles and hooks at the Ends. But all the Soldiers on the Coast are there, and Behave well at present they keep the Country people off, and their Officers keep the Soldiers to rights. They have carried to the Custom House at Hasting 27 Chests of money, and the other pt of her Ladeing will be carried to Hasting as fast as it can be got out. One Chest was Emptied of its money by somebody, and, as it's said, was so before it came out of the Ship. But it's gone, and by whome is not known. I could get no certain acct of the quantity of money, some said threescore thousand pounds, others made it a great deal more, and others much less. The value of the Ship and Cargoe is uncertain, but two hundred thousand pounds was the genl Estimate.

There was three Women on Board, which are now at Hasting. When I was down there were then abt forty Sick Men in the Ship, which they afterwards got out and sent to Hasting. I saw Sr Chs Eversheld. there who told me he was down when she came on Shore, and that all the Crew were drunk, and so were all of them I saw yesterday, [ 107 ]From Mr. Patrick, from Hastings, to Mr. Collier, at Bath.

"24th January, 1748. The Dutch Ship I have mentioned to you still sits whole, and the plunderers speed but very Indifferently, neither do the Owners save any quantity of goods, for the Ship is to much Swerved in the Sand, that it is Impossible to get at the Cargoe, the Ship being always full of water. Mr. Whitfield is down, and so is the Chief Manager at this Wreck. The Ship is on Shore in the Liberty of Hasting, and the Soldiers have shot a man Indiscretely at this Wreck, and Mr. Tilden, as Coroner for the Rape of Hasting, has been apply'd to upon the affair, to Summons a Jury to view the body and to enquire into the death of this p'son, but as Mr. Tilden is laid up with a fit of the Gout, he desired me to act as his Deputy, upon which I went over to Battell to him, and consulted him thereupon, as likewise Mr. Worge, who both Joyn'd in opinion with me that the death of this p'son was not to be Enquired into by the Coroner and Jury, by reason he was Kild at Sea, ten or fifteen roads below high water mark."

The same. 31st January, 1748. "I reced your last without date, and will take care to sieze the best Anchor & Cable belonging to the Dutch Ship stranded near Bulverhith. The Ship is really a Melancholy Sight to behold, for she lyes on Shore, upon a boggy Sand, that she is Swerved almost as high as her Upper Deck, and, notwithstanding all the Contrivances Imaginable, the main hatches can't be open'd, so that it's feared most part of the Cargoe in the main hold will perish in the Sand. They have Endeavoured to burn the Decks, and have made a bone fire thereupon, which had no Effect, notwithstanding they burnt, at one time, two hundred (? batt) faggots. They have also Endeavoured to blow up the decks with Gun powder, but as the Ship is so much Swerved, she always continues under water, that they can't fix barrells of powder at a proper place for that purpose. Upon the Ships coming on shore, I waited on Mr. Coppard, and the Captain, in relation to makeing a protest. It seems the Super Cargoe had drawn a Protest before they came on Shore, which was Signed by the Captain & all the Officers which was shewn to Mr. Mayor, who thinks the same sufficient, as the Capt., etc., has Sworn the Contents thereof before him to be true, so that I have not in the least been Concern'd in the Unhappy Affair, only that I have been twice to see the Ship in this Unfortunate Scituation. As Mr. Cramp is an Assistant at this Wreck, and is always present when there is anything to be done, and as he has a Deputation from the Duke of Newcastle, I have desired him to secure the Best Anchor & Cable for His Grace."

"There was a Chest of Silver broke open the Night the Ship came on Shore, by some of our Town Gentm., containing a Great Quantity of Wedges of Silver, weighing about 5 pound each Wedge, the whole Value amounting to about £1,200 Sterling. On Mr. Whitfield's arrival, he had it Cry'd round the town, if any p'son or p'sons who had taken any of these Wedges of Silver and would [ 108 ]bring the same to him, they shou'd have forty shillings p Wedge, and no Questions asked, otherwise, in case they were found Guilty, they wou'd be severely punished. Several of these Silver Wedges had been delivered to Mr. Whitfield, but am afraid he will never be able to get the whole, as a Great many of these fellows carry such Vile principles, for had not Several of these Creatures offered the Silver for Sale, I Question whether this Affair wou'd have been discovered."

22nd February, 1748, Mr. Thorpe (Mayor of Hastings) to Mr. Collier, at Bath. "I doubt not but you have had successive accounts of the Dutch Ship run ashore near Bulverhith, since which the care of the Sick Dutchmen, the plague of quartering Soldiers, their and others theiving, has engrossed my whole time. This happening so soon after the Nympha, has destroyed the Morals and Honesty of too many of our Country men, for- the very people hired to save did little else but steal. The Hoo Smugglers came in a Body, and Carried off Velvett, Cloth, etc., but on Warrents being issued, they submit to deliver all again. One of them stopped a waggon, and called others to his assistance to rob it. I committed him to Gaol, and have since gott Mr. Nicholl to take the Examinations again, and he has made his Mittimus for Horsham. The Treasure of the Ship, amounting to near thirty thousand pound value, being sent to London has eased us of a Company cf Foot, who were the greatest Theives I ever knew, they not only robbed at the Ship, but their Quarters also. The Dutch Soldiers & Sailors robbed their Officers, as did too many of our own Town. There was a Chest containing fifty Wedges of Silver, each weighing about four pounds & a half, broke open the first night, but by one means or other we have recovered thirty six, and a Gold Watch, but very little of the Gold and Silver Lace and wearing apparel. There are some Cables & Anchors, some Provisions, such as Butter, Bacon, Beef, etc., saved, also several Chest of Wine in Bottles, of which there is in the Ship a great many Thousand Dozens. The Ship is so Swerved in the Sand, that at High Water, the Sea covers her and at low her lower Deck is under Water. They have endeavoured to blow up her Decks with Gunpowder, sometimes succeeding, others not, the Powder being obliged to be putt under Water, but this Morning they blew up great part of the lower Deck, and its thought the composition next the Match being too dry, fired so quick, that Mr. Nutt the Engineer, perished. P.S. The wine is French if you would have any, please let me know, I fancy about 1 shilling a bottle will be the price."

There has been many attempts to salvage the valuable cargo from the Amsterdam. In 1 810, when the German Legion was stationed at Bexhill, Colonel Halket permitted two companies to dig in the hold, but the water soaked in so fast through the sand they were obliged to abandon it.

In February, 1827, some poor people from Bexhill cleared out a large portion of the sand, and found various glass tumblers, metal [ 109 ]cups, stone and glass bottles, and casks of Dutch knives, but these were claimed by the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. On April 27th, 1827, a Company of Shareholders began digging at the wreck, A to recover part of the cargo, but the result was a failure. A few relics from the Amsterdam are preserved in the Hastings Museum. For many years the wreck was discernible at low water.

Piracy and Privateering.

Cooper, in his History of Winchelsea, says : "The habit of smuggling, wrecking, and privateering led to the perpetration of many crimes ; amongst others, to a revival of those acts of piracy which disgraced the Cinque Ports in the thirteenth century."

Hastings figured largely in these lawless and dangerous pursuits as the following will show :

"On August 11th 1758, Nicholas Wingfield and Adams Hyde of Hastings, masters of two privateer cutters, piratically boarded the Danish ship, 'Der Reisende Jacob,' on board of which was the Marquis Pignatelli, Ambassador Extrordinary from his Catholic Majesty to the Court of Denmark ; assaulting Jurgan Muller, the master of the Vessel, and stealing twenty casks of butter. The Lords of the Admiralty offered a reward of £500. Nicholas Wingfield and Adams Hyde, with four others, having been betrayed by some of their accomplices, were arrested ; and on January 15th, 1759, were brought under a strong guard of soldiers, and lodged in the Marshalsea. They were tried at the Admiralty sessions, March 9th, 1759, and found guilty ; and on the 28th of the same month were hung at Execution Dock. The four others were aquitted. The punishment did not operate as a sufficient warning to the Hastings men. For seven years a gang known as the Ruxley Crew, most of whom lived at Hastings, boarded and robbed several of the ships coming up the channel ; and in particular in 1768, they boarded a Dutch homeward bound hoy, called the " Three Sisters," Peter Bootes, Commander, off Beachy Head, and chopped the master down the back with an axe. The Government sent a detachment of two hundred of the Enniskilling Dragoons to Hastings, to arrest the men, who had been betrayed by their bragging to one another, how the Dutchman wriggled when they had cut him on the back bone ; and a man-of-war and cutter lay off Hastings to receive the men. Several arrests were made of the parties, who were conveyed to the Marshalsea. At the Admiralty Sessions holden of October 30th, 1769, Thomas Phillips, elder and younger, William and George Phillips, Mark Chatfield, Robert Webb, Thomas and Samuel Ailsbury, William Geary, William Wenham, and Richard Hyde, were hung at Execution Dock, Nov. 27th. So great was the panic occasioned by these arrests that a shop-keeper reported worth £10,000, absconded on information of having bought goods of the smugglers." Smith's Sussex Smugglers. [ 110 ]The following is a copy of an advertisement issued at the time :

"Sale of a Privateer. To be sold by Auction, on March, 1759, at the Swan Hotel. ' The Fox' Privateer Cutter (Richard Harman Commander) 70 tons, Carries 8 Guns (4 and 3 pounders), and, swivils. She has accommodation for 40 men. Is a good sailor, and quite fit for sea. Enquire of Thomas Breeds, At the Swan Hotel, Hastings."

In front of what is now Breeds Place, several Privateer Cutters were laid up at the close of the French War, 1816. Privateering had been a popular pursuit of the seafaring portion of the townspeople, for though attended with as much, and perhaps more risk than smuggling, as every privateer carried guns, it was a pursuit that paid well. Nine gunboats hailed from Hastings, when the war was at its height, each mounting two 18-pounders ; and eleven fishing-boats, each armed with two 12-pounder carronade.

I have already said that smuggling gradually died out about the first quarter of the 19th century, and one of the last old smugglers named Tilden lived in the Queen's Road, Hastings, some 40 years ago. He was badly injured in his legs by a fall from the East Cliffs while engaged carrying tubs up a rope ladder, and he was always ready to relate his experiences to a willing listener.. I remember him very well.

[The usual method was to go alongside, under the pretence of trading ; they frequently mastered the crew, clapped them under the hatches, and then plundered and afterwards scuttled the ship. It is said that owing to these murderous acts, the Hastings Mariners acquired the appellation of "Chop-backs. "] [ - ]

[ - ]

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Reproduced from the original by permission of the Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward, Fairlight Place, specially for " Hastings of Bygone Days-and the Present," by Henry Cousins.
[ 111 ]Plan of the Home Estate of John Collier, Esquire. Reproduced by the kind permission of the late Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward, from the original at Fairlight Place.

"A It bears the following imprint by the Surveyor : Survey,. Measurement, and Representation of the Home Estate of John Collier, Esquire, situate and being in the Parishes of Saint Clement, All Saints, and Saint Mary of the Castle, appertaining and adjoining to the Town and Port of Hasting in the County of Sussex, with an Ichnographical Plan of the said Town, exhibiting on a West View, and the Eye considerably elevated above the Horizon, all or most of the Remarkables in and about the said Town and upon the said Estate, as Churches, Town Hall, The Swan Inn, the Gun Gardens, the Custom Boathouse, some Gardens of the Bourne, the Chief Streets, cross Lanes, Alleys, etc. The Castle Cliffs, the Bridge, the intended Harbour, the Priory, the two Windmills, White Rock, the Sea Coast, the small Craft in the Roads, etc., The Common Highways, Foot-Paths, etc., with Tables explanatory and suitable Embellishments, etc. This Map in all its parts was made and performed in the years 1749 and 1750 by me, Sam. Cant, Schoolmaster and Surveyor, etc."

John Collier came to Hastings from Eastbourne very early in the eighteenth century. By this plan, made in 1750, it would seem he had, during the half century, acquired a very large proportion of ihe lands in and surrounding the Bourne and the Priory Valleys, the East and West Hills, Halton, Ore and Fairlight ; besides much house property in the old town. Although the "Collier Letters" commence in 1716, the following is an extract from a parchment deed lent by Mr. A. G. Fidler, of Enfield, a property owner in the old town, whose ancestors lived here. The deed is dated 13th March, 1711, wherein Mary Sargant and John Collier, as Executors of the will of John Phipps, of Hastings, Mariner, conveyed a messuage or tenement, Backside and Garden, butting and bounding unto the King's Street, there leading from the Sea Gate to the Minnesse towards the East, etc., to Richard Cosens for .£19 : 00 : 00." This deed is signed by John Collier, and the wax seal bears his Coat of Arms. There is little doubt Mr. Collier was practising here as a Solicitor at this date.

I will attempt to make this plan interesting to readers by identifying the localities and the names with the present day. After the death of Mr. Collier, his estate was divided amongst his five daughters, one of whom married Mr. Edward Milward, another married Mr. Henry Sayer, and from these connections sprang up what is now familiar to the present generation as the "Sayer-Milward Estates." Thus it may be claimed that Mr. John Collier was one of the pioneers of modern Hastings. [ 112 ]The Plan of the Collier Lands is principally described by the names of the occupiers and the acreage, but I am enabled by the help of a plan also lent by the late Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward and was made for Mr. Edward Milward, by Mr. John Shorter, in 1769, after the division of the Collier Estates amongst his children, in which plan the names of the localities and fields are given.

On the extreme left of the plan is White Rock, St. Michael's Rock with Wind Mill, The Priory House, and part of the Priory Farm on the West side of the Priory Stream, the Priory Bridge on the site of the Memorial, Water Mill House, on the site of the Gas Works, the Castle, the House of Mr. Edwd. Lintot, known as Bunger Hill House, near Ore Station, the Seat of John Collier, Esq., now known as "Old Hastings House," at the top of High Street, with its Gardens, Terraces, Lawns, and Summer House ; the house adjoining on the right is Torfield House, and the water opposite with ducks is meant by the draughtsman to represent the Bourne Stream or "The Slough." Opposite the House is the Wilderness with trees, the Cucumber Garden, and the Stables, now a Motor Garage. The small cottages on the left are in High Street. There has been little change at this spot.

Other landowners holding the adjoining land at this time were Sir Whistler Webster, Bart., of Battle Abbey, The Rev. Mr. Edwards, John Crouch, Francis Cruttenden, Gent., Richard Tutt, Edwd. Lintot, Gent, Luckings, Moor, Ward, Benjamin Meadows, Lutzman, Henry Sayer, Esq., and others.

The reader must bear in mind that the present Queen's Road was a mere rough farm road from the sea, and that the Priory Valley through which it runs were farm lands, hop gardens, etc., known as The Priory Farm, Brooklands, Water Mill Lands, Blacklands, Hole Farm, etc., and after development for building, become known as Meadow Road, St. Andrew's Road, etc.

No. 56 on the plan was the Stoney Field, now the site between north of Wellington Square and South of Stone Street, while the blank space between No. 56 and the sea, was called the Priory Field, now Wellington Square and part of Old Priory Farm, which occupied about 190 acres. No. 57 was called the Boot Field, from its shape, and formed part of the Cricket Ground. No. 58 called the Brook Field, now covered by St. Andrew's Square and Brook Street beyond this, the Water Mill Lands, now covered by the Gas Works, several fields called The Mill Banks, The Brook, the Lane Brook, and the Gate Field. These are known to old inhabitants as Murdock's Fields. The main artery leading from the Priory or that part of Old Hastings west of the Castle Ward, was for ages, and still is, called Priory Road. It practically ran from the Priory Bridge up Castle Lane over the West Hill right away past Halton Church, and the Barrack Ground to the junction with Old London Road near Mount Road. Then on to Fairlight, etc. Taking the plan from the Castle, [ 113 ]

No. 51 Little Croft,
No. 50 and 49 Part of West Hill, Collier Road down to the Coney Banks.
No. 48, The Coney Warren on the slopes of Croft Road, where rabbits were preserved for sport.
No. 43 Croft Road.
No. 44 called The Great Meadow, frontage to upper part of Croft Road and from Collier Road.
Nos. 45, 46, and 47, The Tile Kiln Plot now covered by Whitefriars, The Tower, The Lodge, etc., where Croft Lane joins Priory Road.
No. 52, The Mill Field.
No. 53, The Middle Field.
No. 54, The Lower Field and No. 55, The Gate Field, is now represented by the west side of Priory Road, covered by St. Thomas, Emmanuel, and St. George's Roads.
37, The Pest House, Garden and Pond now the site of Priory Road Council Schools.
No. 36, called the Upper Pit Field, now site of Waterworks and Fire Station.
No. 33, containing 7 acres, was, in 1750, called the Cricket Field between the Water Works and Halton Church.
Nos. 30, 31, and 32 The Road, The Kiln Field, and The Kiln Piece, afterwards known as the Barrack Ground, Halton.
Nos. 1 to 8, The Toteye Lands, now the upper part of Ashburnham Road, etc.
Nos. 9, 10 and 11, on the right of Old London Road, in the Valley from Mount Road.
No. 12, The Bourne Piece, now Halloway Place.
No. 13, The Pound Field. The Pound is still there.
No. 14, The Hanger Field Site of the Pound and Field adjoining, Old London Road.
No. 17, The Small Hanger Field, under High Wickham.
No. 18, The Hanger, near All Saints' Rectory.
No. 19, The Garden to Rectory.
20, The Slow Field, now same.
21, The Parsonage Field, now same.
22, The Church Field, now added to Church Yard.
23, called Mount Idle now part of East Hill, above Tackleway.
24, called the Long Slip Field, now part of East Hill.
No. 25, called the Mill Field, now part of East Hill.
No. 26, called the Pit Field, now the same.
No. 27, called the Cliffe Field, now the same.
No. 28, called the Great Pit Field, now the same.
No. 29, called Beacon Hill, or St. George's Churchyard, now near the Cricket Pitch on the East Hill.

[ 114 ]


It would seem evident on reference to the interesting "Collier Letters" that even in 1735, the far-seeing Mr. John Collier had visions of the possibilities of Hastings as a health resort, when he sought to tap the Bourne Stream for an improved water supply.

The town had been lighted with oil lamps, and some of the streets paved. Coaches to and from London were running twice a week. Then, in 1760, an article appeared in the "Universal Magazine," speaking highly of its advantages as a health and pleasure resort, stating there were several good families staying there ; of the advantages offered by the Swan Inn, that there was a pretty good choice of lodgings, and an especial eulogy of its beautiful surroundings ; and that its sheltered aspect was well adapted both in summer and winter for the habitation of those " disposed to pulmonary consumptions ;" and of the discovery of several springs strongly impregnated with steel. In fact, the article deals with the advantages of Hastings in such a manner as would be a credit to a Borough Association Guide in 1920.

General Murray's letter of September 11th, 1768 (p. 71), where he mentions an offer of £1,000 for " the stables and little low gardens, belonging to " Old Hastings House " on the opposite side of the street (now used as a Motor Garage) by a set of gentlemen who have entered into a subscription to make Hastings a Bathing Place, and think the stables necessary for an Assembly Room." It was apparent that these gentlemen had the intention of exploiting the place, although this " deal " did not go through.

The late Dr. W. A. Greenhill, M.D., who compiled a population table of Hastings, gives the number of inhabitants in 1731 as only 1,636. In 1771, 2,017. While in 1801 it had increased to 3,175. The reader must bear in mind that up to this date the accommodation for visitors was provided by the principal Inns, and lodgings were let by the trading and middle classes in High Street, Hill Street, All Saints' Street, Tackleway, and George Street. The Bourne Stream practically divided the town into two parts, and gardens on the east side from All Saints' Street, and on the west from High Street, ran down to the stream ; and as the visitors increased in numbers, these gardens had to be utilised for building purposes until the Bourne Valley became thickly populated, and thus the intervening passages leading from these streets were constructed for approaches to the houses at the back.

Hastings was as early as 1778 a Military Station, with an encampment on Fairlight Down, and as the 19th century was opening a considerable body of troops was stationed at Hastings, Battle, Bexhill, and Fairlight.

The accompanying maps of Hastings, 1746 and 1815, represent the transition periods when the town, after having been " famous [ 115 ]as a Cinque Port, and infamous as a seat of unlawful deeds, was to become once more famous as a resort for health and recreation."

The Map of 1746 is well known as the "Corporation Map," drawn by one, Samuel Cant, a Schoolmaster and Surveyor for the Corporation ; the key descriptions were added by the Author for the purposes of his lecture on " Hastings Past and Present," and will assist the reader in locating many places which have become familiar in the present day. The towers at the eastern and western extremities of the Hastings Wall are shown, Nos. 10 and 11 . Priory Bridge, No. 6. The Haven, No. 5. The "America Ground" or the Derelict Lands, No. 7. White Rock, with Windmill, Nos. 1 and 2. The Bourne Stream, now Bourne Street and Bourne Walk, No. 22. Mount Idle (part of East Hill), The Mercer's Hall, No. 23. The Shambles

Page123-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Map lent by the Museum Committee. Key made by Henry Cousins.
Map of Hastings 1746.

or Butchery, Hill Street, No. 36. The Hundred Place, where Mayors, Jurats and Members of Parliament were elected in the open air, No. 21. Mr. John Collier's House and Gardens, Nos. 19 and 29. The Plan of Hastings (Powell's), 181 5, although published about 70 years after, shews little progress. Following the plan from right to left, it will be noted that Prospect Place is now called High Wickham, Old Hastings House was occupied by Mr. Edward Milward, Torfield House by Miss Milward, and the old house adjoining (Oates' House) appears. Mr. W. Lucas-Shadwell occupied the present All Saints' Rectory. Hastings House, which had been occupied by General Wellesley (Duke of Wellington), Lord Byron, [ 116 ]

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[ 117 ]and Duchess of Leeds, is shewn on the site of Humphrey Avenue (see view). The Tackleway was then called the Walk under East Hill (see view). The Stade. Powell's Library (once Norfolk Hotel). Marine Parade, New Warm Baths. Barry's Library (now a Refreshment House and Tea Shop). West end of George Street and Marine Parade. The Fort. The Warm Baths (Barry's), where the Russian Gun is. Pelham Place (part of). Government House (late Coastguard Station). Ransom and Ridley's Shipyard (site of Royal Oak Hotel and Wellington Place). Castle Hotel and Stables (site of Gaiety Theatre). Priory Bridge (site of Memorial) (see view). Meadow Road (now Queen's Road). Watch House or Searcher's Office (site of Queen's Hotel) (see view). Rope Walk (now Robertson Street). Priory Farm (see view). Bohemia House (late Brisco's, now a College). Mount Pleasant (late Wyatt's) Windmills on West Hill (site of Plynlimmon).

Hastings of Bygone Days Described by Two Natives

The Late Mr. John Banks and Mr. Alfred Bryant.

The following description of Hastings at the opening of the 19th Century is interesting. " High Street was the principal one, which contained 'the Town Hall and Courthouse, Custom House, County Court, Banks, The Swan Hotel, and the chief business establishments. Many of the houses were gable-ended, timber-built of oak or chestnut, of the Tudor style, of a picturesque appearance. All Saints' Street (otherwise Fish or Fisher Street) was paved with boulders, and chiefly inhabited by the fishermen. The Crown Hotel, with its extensive stabling accommodation, was, like the Swan Hotel, of some importance. Owing to the slope of the ground, ledges in the side of the hill had to be cut to level the street, and the houses on the east side, as a Yankee visitor has described, built on a 'shelf', alluding to the high pavement.

At the time referred to the streets were only partly paved, or lighted, there was no drainage, gutters ran along the middle of the streets common channels for soap-suds, dish-water, and other refuse. The Bourne Stream running through the town' was partly choked up with brick-bats, tin kettles, and bits of earthenware of all sizes, shapes and patterns. This stream formed part of the water-supply of Hastings. Once or twice a week the water which had been kept back in a place called " The Slough, " at the upper end of the town, was let down the Bourne for the purpose of flushing it, which it generally much needed. This operation was a source of excitement and fun for the inhabitants, who had to fill their household vessels with the water. George Street contained only 14 houses. There were a few houses and shipwright shops on the southern or sea side of the road, and was called " The Suburbs." The Tackleway was once a rope-walk. A stable and stonemason's yard where Pelham Arcade now stands ; a thatched house (where they sold gin) on the [ 118 ]

Views of Hastings by Two Great Artists.

Page126a-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

From the Author's Collection.
Fishing Off Hastings. By J. M. W. Turner. Date about 1815 From an Engraving by J. Wallis.

Page126b-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. James Foster
Morning." A Dutch Auction on the Beach at Hastings.
By David Cox. Date about 1820.

[ 119 ]

site of the present Castle Hotel, and nearly opposite, a lime kiln somewhere about where Nos. 3 and 4, Wellington Square are now.

A The site of Wellington Square was the Priory Field. lot of small houses, slaughter-houses, block and mast-maker's shops and a rope walk on some land where Robertson Street and Carlisle Parade are built. This ground was built upon by anybody who chose to do so. It became a locality for the drunken and lawless, and it was not safe to pass over it after dark. It obtained the appellation of "America ground." One house near the top of White Rock ; a lime kiln and lime-burner's house at the present Warrior Square. The Priory Bridge, where the Memorial is. A little to the West was the Priory Farm and House. The site at present occupied by the Hastings Railway Station consisted of a boggy reed-bed. At times, in violent rains, the Priory Meadows (the present Cricket and Recreation Ground) were frequently under water. Improved drainage has remedied that.

On the Priory Bridge were two lamps, marking the extent of the jurisdiction of the Hastings Improvement Commissioners. The " Royal Victoria Hotel," at St. Leonards, occupies the spot that was the " Old Woman's Tap," a famous haunt for smugglers. White Rock, which consisted of sandstone rock, jutting out into the Sea. It formed a picturesque object, seen either from the West or from the East.

The curve in the Parade at East end of the Baths marks the locality. Order in the streets was supposed to be kept by two antiquated beadles, dressed in blue great coats, with large capes and yellow facings, and large three-cornered hats, who could not have run fifty yards to save their lives."

"St. Leonards was, in its early days, known as the ' New Town,' or ' S'lennards.' Old Hastingers, to whom all westwards of George Street was the ' Subbubs,' considered it an abomination, and its inhabitants foreigners. On account of the almost impassable state of the roads, the necessaries, such as coal and groceries, came by water, and much inconvenience was at times sustained, and people were often driven to great straits when contrary winds or foul weather prevented the vessels from landing on the beach.

It was a usual thing for those who could afford it, to lay in their ingredients for their Christmas dinner a long time beforehand, to prevent disappointment should the vessel fail to put in an appearance when due. For fowls, eggs and butter, they were chiefly dependent upon two Frenchwomen, who occupied a shop opposite the Anchor, in George Street, who imported their goods direct from France. Foreign eggs could not be obtained elsewhere. There were only two Churches, All Saints and St. Clement's, known as the Upper and Lower Churches, both being then united under one Rectory. There were no daily services. The musical part of the services at St. Clement's were as bad as could be. The choir of ' untrained voices ' were accompanied by a clarionet, bass viol and flute, and they sang Tate and Brady's version of the Psalms to [ 120 ]

Page128a-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. E. A. Notcutt.
Old Hastings and the Fort. From an Oil Painting, 18th Century. Artist Unknown.

Page128b-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward
"Road out of Hastings." The Old London Road. From a Water Colour by H.H., 1807.

[ 121 ]whatever tune they could agree upon. The fishermen mostly attended All Saints, and an official called ' dog-whipper ' walked about the Church to keep order amongst the boys and to wake those who slept and snored. The congregation of St. Clement's were of a better class."

The Town was badly off for amusements ; indeed, there were few besides the Rock Fair held in the Priory Brooks for two days in July, and the town fair twice a year in the Fishmarket, and an occasional circus." [ 122 ]


The highest altitude of the neighbourhood is Fairlight Down, from which the reader may start his itinerary, accompanied by a series of views of old and modern Hastings and St. Leonards, which the Author has been enabled to present in this volume, through the kindness and ready help of those possessing them. Commencing at Old Fairlight Church, 536 feet above sea level. It was distant from

Page130-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by the late Mr. Chas. Dawson Old Fairlight Church, 1817

Hastings about 2½ miles, and reached by the Old London Road, to Ore, then to the right passing the entrance gate to Fairlight Glen.

From the Church a path leads to the Cliffs. The view from this altitude is one of romantic grandeur and extent, and in clear weather the French coast is visible. Near by was General Roy's signalling station, erected during the French War for determining the relative situations of the Observatories of Greenwich and Paris. It was of humble appearance, but its shingled spire had something of historical renown attached to it, for Leland in describing the inroad of foreign marauders about 1380, says : " They entered by night at Farely [ 123 ](the old name for Fairlight), where the high steeple is." This Church was pulled down in 1845, and the present one built upon the site, which was^ consecrated in 1846. The late Rev. H. Stent, M.A., was vicar of the new church until his death. The Rev. E. W. Eliott, M.A., is the present Vicar. Another prominent^ landmark for the mariner at sea was the Old Mill, which stood on the site of North's Seat, above Ore Village, from which magnificent and extensive views of sea and land are obtained. The coast line from Beachy Head to the South Foreland, could be discerned, and included Winchelsea and Rye to the east. The Mill was destroyed by fire on April 21st, 1869, after which a large circular seat was provided, from which the visitor can still survey the grand view on the way from Hastings to Fairlight Glen.

Page131-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By G. Rowe From the Author's Collection.
Old Mill at Fairlight Down.
On the site of North's Seat, with Hastings in the distance.

By a lane from the Seat, cross the Fairlight Road, through a wicket gate to the celebrated Glen, which is unquestionably the most lovely spot within the immediate neighbourhood of Hastings. Here is also the Dripping Well. A rugged path leads the visitor down the Glen to the sea. The routes for walkers are over the East Hill, or by Barley Lane over the Golf Links. Time has wrought little change in the locality during the century, and the beauties of nature are still enjoyed by many thousands of visitors annually. From the Dripping Well the historical " Lovers' Seat " is easily reached. It is situated on a ledge of rock just below the edge of the cliff, on an elevation of 339 feet from the sea below. The view [ 124 ]from here is a grand one, and the masses of rock, and thickly-wooded undergrowth down to the shore, form a picture never to be forgotten. The following narrative which gave the name to the Lovers' Seat is said to have been written by a representative of the heroine of the tale, and their portraits, the original of which was acquired some years ago by the Author from an old inhabitant of Hastings, in whose family they had been for many years. Here is the true story :

This spot first became notorious as the Lovers' Seat about the year 1786, when a Mr. Charles Lamb of Rye, an officer in the preventive service, succeeded in winning the affections of a Miss Elizabeth Boys, the only child of Mr. Samuel Boys, of Elford, Hawkhurst, in the adjoining county of Kent. Mr. Boys was a wealthy country gentleman, dwelling at the seat for many generations occupied by his ancestors. His brother, at the time we speak of, residing at Wigsil, Sussex, was in the House of Commons. Mr. Lamb's position in life was considered by the Boys' family to entitle him to no such pretentions as the hand of Miss Boys, and every effort was made to stop the marriage. Change of air and scene, it was hcped, would efface from the memory of the young lady all thoughts of Mr. Lamb. A farmhouse at Fairlight, in the charge of a trusty servant, was considered a fitting place for the young lady ; but in those days, as now, such efforts do not always succeed. Mr. Lamb commanded the "Stag" revenue cutter, and the cliffs at Fairlight became a spot on which his special vigilance was bestowed. The spot now known as the Lovers' Seat was with these two young people the place of assignation, and there it was arranged they should repair to London and get married, whether old Mr. Boys was willing or not. Accordingly, on the 16th January, 1786, these two young people presented themselves at the church of St. Clement Danes, in the Strand, and were there married. Miss Boys' father never forgave her, but disinherited his only child, and gave his states to his nephew, the son of the brother already mentioned. By him they were shortly spent. Mr. Lamb left the revenue service and built a house, called Higham, at Salehurst. One daughter was the only issue of the marriage, Elizabeth Dorothy Lamb, who married the Reverend Thomas Ferris, the eldest son of Thomas Ferris, D.D., Dean of Battle, and for many years senior Fellow and Tutor of St. John's College, Cambridge. Mr. Lamb lived to see his daughter married, and with three children, when, whilst cruising in the Southampton Water in his yacht in 1814, he was drowned. Two friends were on board with him and at the time of the accident these two friends were below; Mr. Lamb being on the deck. The two friends, on coming on the deck, were surprised and horrified to find only the hat of their friend. In so small a craft, with no place of concealment, the sad truth at once became apparent. The boom, it is supposed , with a sudden gust of wind, had jibbed, and sent their friend, of whom no trace could be found, overboard. The body, three weeks afterwards, was washed on shore at Bognor, and buried at Thakeham, in Sussex. Mrs. Lamb survived her husband for many years, and lived to see the family mansion of Elford re-purchased by her son-in-law, Mr. Ferris.

A distant relation of the family, and the possessor of large landed estates, to whom Mrs. Ferris was heir-in-law, and who had always blamed Mr. Boys for not forgiving his daughter and for disinheriting her, at a very advanced age, forgot all his earlier views and sympathies, and by a will made shortly before his death gave his estates to other parties, thus crushing the last hope of the family of Boys regaining their old and honoured position. Mr. Ferris had a large family, four sons of which now survive, the eldest of which bears the name of Boys, but without the ancestral property, and is the Rev. Thomas Boys Ferris, the rector of Guisley, in Yorkshire. Elford, the family place, was a few years since again sold for the purpose of distribution among the children.

Returning from Lovers' Seat, is Fairlight Place, charmingly situated at the head of the Glen. In 1786 it was occupied as a farm house by a Mr. Hilder, and referred to in the foregoing narrative as that in which Miss Boys was then staying. Fairlight Place is [ 125 ]

Page133a-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lovers Seat, Fairlight 1920. F. J. Parsons, Ltd.
From views of this taken about 100 years ago, it has not much altered.

Page133b-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

From the Author's Collection
Capt. Charles Lamb, R.N., and Miss Elizabeth Boys. Dated 1786. The Hero and Heroine of Lover's Sent. Published by Ackermann.

[ 126 ]frequently referred to in the old guide books. In 1812, the date of the old view, it was occupied by Dr. Robert Batty. In 1819 by - Hodges, Esq., mentioned in Powell's guide. From 1835 to 1841 by the Right Hon. Joseph Planta, M.P. for Hastings, who frequently entertained distinguished visitors and residents. A portrait of this distinguished man is given here. He was a great benefactor to local institutions, and was the Chairman of the first meeting held for the founding of the Hastings Infirmary, now the Hospital, where his portrait will be found. In 1849 it was occupied by Mr. Batley, who entertained the Orleans family, with the King and their young

Joseph Planta.png

From Author's Collection.
Right Hon. Joseph Planta, M.P. for Hastings, 1835 to 1841, and one of the Barons in Parliament.

Princes (the Count de Paris and his brother), on the occasion of their visit to Fairlight Glen. In recent years it was the residence of Miss Rhodes, a sister of the late Mr. Cecil Rhodes, the South African Magnate, and is now the residence of its owner, Mrs. William Carlisle Sayer-Milward, in whose family it has been for nearly two centuries. Additions have from time to time been made to the house, which contains the family portraits of John Collier, Edward Milward, senior, and Edward Milward, his son, all of whom played such a [ 127 ]

Page135-Fairlight Place 1812 Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by late Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward.
" Fairlight Place," Fairlight Glen, 1812.
(Occupied at this date by Dr. Robert Batty.)

Page135-Fairlight Place 1920 Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

F. J . Parsons, Ltd
" Fairlight Place," as it now appears, 1920.(Photographed for this book by the special permission of the late Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward.)
[ 128 ]prominent part as Barons and Mayors of this Old Cinque Port. And on its walls are to be found a large and interesting collection of views of Hastings of Bygone Days, several of which the Author has been permitted to reproduce in this work.

Leaving Fairlight Place by way of the Fairlight Road through Ore (once called Oare), the accompanying view from North's Seat the first peep of Old Hastings is seen at the South end of the Valley, with the East and West Hills, the latter crowned with the ruins of the Castle, and the Windmills, which are a prominent feature in many succeeding pictures.

Page136-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

C. Scott. Lent by Mr. T. Park View of Hastings from Fairlight Down, 1800

Passing down the Old London Road, the next view shows the late Mr. Frederick North's House (now called Hastings Lodge, occupied as a Convent). He was the Liberal Member for Hastings several times, from 1832 (Reform Bill Year) until his death. He last sat for Hastings when returned with the then Mr. Thomas Brassey, in 1868. The procession represents the entrance of their R.H.H. the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria into Hastings, 4th November, 1834, when visiting St. Leonards. This view was published by G. Wooll, Printseller, 43, High Street, Hastings (now Reeves and Son's Furniture Shop).

The entrance to Hastings by the Old London Road is very picturesque, and has been delineated by many artists. The beautiful avenue of elm trees is said to have been originally planted by Mr. John Collier at the suggestion of his friend and patron, the Duke [ 129 ]of Newcastle, although the writer has discovered no mention of this in the " Collier Letters." The reader must remember that until well into the 19th Century, before the Bohemia Road and London Road, St. Leonards, were opened, the Old London Road was the only one out of Hastings. The Sussex roads were for centuries execrable for travelling, and in the "Collier Letters," there are accounts of the equipages of the rich requiring six horses, attended by outriders,

Page137-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

being necessary to assist in pulling the carriages out of the mud and quagmires into which they frequently got, on their way to and from London, and sometimes a more circuitous route from Hastings through Maidstone was preferred, as the Kentish roads were kept in a better condition. The accompanying views of the North entrance to the old town will give an idea of its former beauty. [ 130 ]

Page138a-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By W. Hazell. From the Author's Collection
Hastings from the Minnis Rock, High Wickham. Dated 1821.

Page138b-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By Arundale North Entrance to Hastings from Barley Lane in the Coaching Days.Lent by Mr. Thos. Parkin. [ 131 ]

Hastings from the Minnis Rock, High Wickham.

The Minnis Rock, with three openings, has existed for centuries, and those possessing old property in All Saints' Street, will, on reference to their deeds, invariably find it described "as bounding and butting unto the King's High Way, there leading from the Sea Gate to the Minnis," or sometimes spelt "Minnesse," denoting that the place was a prominent boundary mark in the very remote times. It is supposed by some to be an instance of a rock hermitage and the only one, except at Buxteds, in this county. Moss mentions that, in 1783, this "cave" was inhabited by an aged couple, who were discharged from the Workhouse for some misbehaviour, and eked out a miserable existence here, sleeping on the bare rock, and picked up such casual donations as the passers by who visited the spot gave them. The Minnis is now much neglected, and the arches choked up with rubbish, although the Corporation has placed a cautionary notice board near by. There are so few landmarks of "Bygone Days " left to us, that the Corporation would be wise if the Minnis was cleaned out and kept as a show place, with a descriptive reference of its antiquity placed upon it.

North Entrance to Hastings from Barley Lane in the Coaching Days.

This view shews one of the coaches leaving Hastings, going up the Old London Road, and a picnic party on the slopes leading up to High Wickham, (originally named Prospect Place see Powell's Plan), with All Saints' Church and the open space where the Old Market was.

Old Hastings from the Torfield North Entrance.

The houses in the left-hand foreground are Old Hastings House and Torfield House ; All Saints' Church, near it is Hastings House, described elsewhere, and above it is shown the carved rock on the face of the East Hill, with three lancet-shaped carvings intended to represent windows, by whom and with what object this carving was done is not known. The writer recently visited this spot, which is easily reached from the summit of the hill, from which there is a fine view of the Old Town, the Castle, and Beachy Head.

These carvings are cut in to a depth of six or eight inches, and in front of the rock is a plateau. Some years ago Mr. A. Pain, of Ashburnham Road, who is a native of Hastings, made excavations here, but was unsuccessful in bringing to light any results of antiquarian importance. It was once a favourite rendezvous for smugglers, who frequented the spot to partake of brandy and milk, and to spin yarns of their encounters with the Blockade Men.

Hastings from the North.

Shewing High Wickham, the Cupola, All Saints' Church, on the right ghe late Mr. Frederick North's house Hastings Lodge and the Castle and Windmills on the West Hill. We now approach the north entrance to the old Cinque Port in the Bourne Valley, or that " New Burg " which sprang up after the Battle of Hastings, and was divided by the Bourne Stream which had its rise on the Fairlight Down.

The Bourne Stream.

It is referred to by all the best known Authorities in Guide Books, and shewn in all the maps known to us. Jeake, the Historian of the Cinque Ports (1737), called it a " Freshwater." Barry, in his Guide to Hastings (1797), states " Hastings is abundantly supplied with most excellent fresh water from the Bourne Stream, [ 132 ]
Page140-Hastings from Torfield-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By T. Turnen Lent by Mr. T. Parkin.
Old Hastings From the Torfield North Entrance, About 1820.

Page140-Hastings from the North-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Hastings from the North. Lent by Mr. T. Parkin. [ 133 ]
which runs through the middle of the Town and is exceedingly good for all culinary purposes." Moss, in his History of Hastings (1824), says, " The source of the Bourne Stream is not properly traced." The writer has recently followed the bed of this Stream from the Sea through Bourne Street, Bourne Walk, through the grounds known as the Wilderness at the junction of High Street and All Saints' Street, where it was crossed by a rough bridge, shewn in several views. Under this bridge there was a sluice or flood-gate, which may still be defined in the stonework marked by a boundary stone, with letters denoting the division of the two parishes of St. Clement and All Saints. From the Wilderness on the north side of this spot, now laid out by the Corporation as a garden enclosed by railings, is the place formerly known as the lt Slough," where the Stream was dammed back by shutting down the flood-gate. A

Page141-The Slough-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By Francis Nicholson, R.A., 1812. From the Author's Collection.
" The Slough " and Flood Gate of the Bourne Stream, at the top of All Saints' Street and High Street.

view of the water is here shewn, drawn by Francis Nicholson, R.A., over a hundred years ago. From this spot the bed of the Stream may be traced on the right hand side of Old London Road, by the Pound, through Halloway Place, the grounds of the Laurels, Belmont, thence to the reservoir parallel with Harold Road, through the Pindars, to the Fairlight Road, on the Tile Kiln Farm tere is a culvert, and, upon asking information of an old man, was informed that the Stream in his recollection ran from Fairlight Down near Fairlight Place to a pond opposite the entrance gate to Fairlight Glen, and during stormy weather ran over the roadway, now the [ 134 ]Fairlight Road, and the formation of the ground above the pond alluded to (in which there is a grating for the overflow), would give one the impression of the bed of a former water-course. From this spot all further trace is lost.

However, the Bourne Stream played an important part in the history of Hastings, as it provided the inhabitants with fresh water before the formation of Water-Works as we now know them. The supply of this water to the inhabitants was for ages under the control of a public official called the Water Bailiff or Bailiff of the Bourne, whose staff of office is still preserved in the Museum, and was called the " Oar Mace," and also used when making arrests on the high seas. The flood gate already mentioned as being used for gathering the water was opened at intervals announced by the blowing of a

Page142-The Slough Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. Thos. Parkin.
Another View of The "Slough."
From a Water Colour by H.H., 1807, with Soldiers from the Barracks at Halton crossing the Stream.

horn, when the inhabitants filled their vessels from the running Stream, and during the operation it is probable the flood gates near the Courthouse were closed. In many of the old title deeds relating to property in All Saints' Street, the boundary is spoken of as "Abutting on the East (or West) to the Bourne River," " To the South by the Sea Gate, on the North by the Minnis." The Bourne Stream was closed about 1835, when the Water Works at Harold Road were constructed by the Corporation. Bourne Street, as seen in another view with the Stream several feet below the rough pathways, was then filled up and Bourne Walk was made, and as a substitute [ 135 ]for the loss of the Stream, the inhabitants were provided with public pumps, which are still kept in order by the Corporation, and about the same time the East Well at Rock-a-Nore was constructed by public subscription. This is fed by a spring in the Cliffs. The late Mr. T. B. Brett remembered rough wooden bridges over the Stream near the Court House and Theatre, within the Town Wall, from East Bourne Street to Winding Lane, and at Upper Lane (now Waterloo Passage), and Lower Lane (now Bourne Passage).

Early Water Supply. In the " Collier Letters " it is recorded that in 1735 (just a hundred years prior to the closing of the Bourne Stream) an attempt at providing Hastings with a water supply was made. See extracts from " Collier Letters ".

Early Water Carriers. In a series of interesting letters from a visitor at Hastings, written to a friend in London, of his impressions of the town, about 1826, and published by George Wooll, 5, High Street, Hastings, is the following allusion to the sale of water: " Between High Street and All Saints' Street runs a small stream called the Bourne. If this stream were collected in the valley about a mile off in a reservoir, and conveyed in pipes to the town it would be a great improvement. When we walked that way and saw two large springs running to waste so near, and also having felt the want of water in our lodgings, owing to the man that goes round to sell it being sometimes late with his cart, we were very much astonished that the inhabitants should neglect this so long" This visitor's idea of a reservoir was carried out about ten years after by the Corporation providing the Water Works in Clive Vale, before mentioned.

A writer of a hundred years ago describes the Bourne as being partly choked up with brick bats, tin kettles, and bits of earthenware of all sorts and sizes. Another, " The Bourne Water must have been liquid poison, for all kinds of rubbish was shot into it, to be cleared away when the "Slough was let."

The open space was formerly the Market Place for horses, cattle, farm produce, and other commodities. Here was the gallows, the stocks, the whipping post, the Pound, and the Market Cross. The Torfield on the west side and the Pound Field and the Large Meadow on the Minnis Rock, on the east were open spaces for country carts and cattle. In the Chamberlain's account for 1645-6 are charges for 25 feet of timber, and for work done for setting up the gallows, and for a halter and ladder, and for four men on guard, and for 20s. for the executioner "for executing the woman."

Another case of the use of the whipping post is mentioned in the " Collier Letters," under date 1st May, 1742.

All Saints' Church, All Saints' Street, was formerly styled the Upper Church, to distinguish it from the Lower Church or St. Clement's, and forms one of the principal objects at the entrance of the town from Old London Road. It is considered to be of a later date than St. Clement's. The present building is said to [ 136 ]date from the 15th century The list of Rectors is given in Moss's History from 1573, and includes "Samuel Oates," 1660, the father of the notorious Titus Oates. Amongst those buried in the churchyard is George Moggeridge, familiarly known as "Old Humphrey," who died at No. 4, High Wickham, Hastings, November 3rd, 1854. In 1740 the advowson came into the Webster family, of Battle Abbey, and in 1770 the smallness of the benefices of the two parishes of All Saints and St. Clement's led to their being united with the consent of the Corporation, and subsequently in 1832 the late Rev. John Goodge Foyster became patron and incumbent of both livings, and by him were again divided as the town increased. Then the late Rev. Henry S. Foyster held the living until his death in 1862 then to his son, the late Rev. George Alfred Foyster, B.A. The present rector of All Saints is the Rev. E. A. Penson, who resides in the Rectory House,

Page144-All Saints Church 1824-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By W. G. Moss. From the Author's Collection
All Saints' Church, 1824.
(Shewing the Roof of Horsham Stones and Dormer Windows.)

close by, which was occupied in the early part of the 19th century by W. Lucas-Shadwell, Esq., who built Fairlight Hall. On the south side of All Saints' Church formerly stood "Hastings House," which on more than one occasion was occupied by remarkable persons, including the Duke of Wellington in 1806, just after his marriage, who (then General Sir Arthur Wellesley), had command of the troops stationed here, and in 1814 by Lord Byron, afterwards by the Duchess of Leeds as a Roman Catholic School. It was in the seventies purchased by Mr. H. Chapman, a builder, who pulled it down and upon the site erected a paved ascent and houses, now Old Humphrey Avenue. The Duke of Wellington also occupied 54, High Street over Mr. Rubie's grocers shop.
[ 137 ]In connection with Lord Byron's occupation, he wrote the following to a friend: " August 12th, 1814, Before I left Hastings, I got in a passion with an ink bottle, which I flung out of the window one night with a vengeance ; and what then ? Why, next morning was worried by seeing that it had struck and split open the petticoat of Euterpe's graven image in the garden, and grimed her as if it were on purpose." Hastings House had the reputation of being " haunted."

Page145-Hastings House-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by the late Rev. W. C. Sayer-Milward
"Hastings House." From a drawing in coloured chalks Artist and date unknown.

In Powell's " Guide to the Lodging-Houses at Hastings," 1819, '* Hastings House " is described as having 4 Sitting-rooms, 9 Bedrooms, with Coach House, Stable, and Pleasure Ground ; it was then occupied by the Rev. Mr Cazelett.

The next view represents " The Walk under the East Hill " with a fine row of trees, the slopes of the East Hill and a party with a recalcitrant pony attempting the ascent, altogether forming a [ 138 ]

Page146-Tackleway 1790-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By James Rouse. Lent by Mr. Titos. Parkin.
"The Walk under the East Hill." Date 1790. (Now called the Tackleway.)
From the Author's Collection.

Page146-House in All Saints Street 1797-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

View in All Saints' Street. (From a sketch by John G. Shorter 1797.)
A few doors from this was a similar house, a "Royal Residence," occupied by Anne Page, the " Queen of All Saints."

[ 139 ]beautiful land and seascape. This walk formed a pleasant promenade. The trees were removed and the place was afterwardsused as a rope walk, and hence probably derived its present name of Tackleway. The east window of All Saints' Church is seen in the corner. In an old deed of Edward VII. it is called Teghill Way.


One of the two main streets into which the old town of Hastings is divided has seen fewer architectural changes than others. It has no pretentious shop fronts, and few business establishments of note. There are some of the 16th century houses left and most of its early features remain, especially the picturesque high pavement on the east side. On this pavement in the first half of the 19th century it was a common sight during the summer months for the inhabitants to bring out chairs and tables and partake of an al fresco tea. Immediately opposite All Saints' Church is the Wilderness, with several very fine old elm trees. Many years ago Wilderness Cottage was occupied by Mrs. Hawkins, and afterwards by Mr. Davis, who owned some land opposite and presented it for the extension of the Churchyard and making an improved entrance to the Church. On page 138 is presented a view of an old timber gabled house which still exists nearly opposite the Stag Inn, a specimen of many in All Saints' Street a century ago.


Part of the festivities at Hastings on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Coronation in 1838 was a ceremony performed in All Saints' Street. In " Brett's Local History " the following account given : "The crowning of the ' Queen of all Saints ' might be interpreted as an act of disloyalty, or as a burlesque on the solemn event it is intended to commemorate. That, in a certain sense, it was a burlesque, there is no denying, but the object of those who took part in it (some of whom held high positions in the town) was simply to gratify a whim of the people living in the Old Town, and at the same time to do honour, rather than to offer insult, to a beloved Sovereign. It suited the caprice of certain maids and matrons to have a Queen for their own particular parish, and to have her crowned as such on the same day as Queen Victoria. Anne Page, on whom their choice fell, was a sprightly old dame, 69 or 70, whose husband had died some years before, and she was to be found at nearly all the dances and merry-makings in and about the town. There was scarcely an old-fashioned dance of any kind with which she was not an adept, besides being a fair vocalist, and would also undertake to tell young women's fortunes by means of cards. [ 140 ]Such divinations were given orally, thus obviating any demonstration of her inability to read or write.

" For the purpose of the coronation a platform dais was erected at 117, All Saints' Street - a house occupied by Mr. Jendwine, a grocer - and the following pseudo officials took part in the ceremony :W. Lucas-Shadwell, Esq.. as Treasurer of the Household ; Fredk. North, Esq., as Groom-in-Waiting ; Mr. Jeudwine, as Archbishop of Canterbury ; Mr. Anthony Harvey, as Archbishop of York ; and Mr. H. Wood, as Gold Stick-in-Waiting. The Archbishops wore mitres and robes, and after the Queen had been introduced by the Officers of State, the two clerical dignitaries placed a gilded crown

Page148-Anne Page 1838-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. Thos. Parkin. Anne Page, " Queen of All Saints," Crowned Queen, June 28th, 1838.
on Her Majesty's head, and expressed a hope that she would live long to reign over them. The Queen made a short speech, expressing her thanks for the honour that had been conferred upon her. After such a regal baptism, Her Majesty retired to change her robes, a procession was formed, and, headed by a band, proceeded round the [ 141 ]own. On their return, the tables and " tea traps " of the inhabitants were brought out into the street, and tea was commenced to the tune of ' Polly put the kettle on,' Her Majesty graciously presiding over her tea-drinking lieges. In the evening she joined them in the al fresco dance on the high pavement, and no one shewed a lighter pair of heels then Her Majesty."

"Nan Page's maiden name was Noakes ; she was married to George Page at All Saints' Church in 1788. Mr. Page was a revenue or riding officer of the Customs of Hastings. He died in 1825, aged

Residence of Anne Page - 134 All Saint's Street - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. E. A. Notcutt. The Residence of Anne Page, " The Queen of All Saints." 16th Century House, with gable ends, No. 134, All Saints Street.
73, and his widow (the Queen), in 1849, aged 81. Their remains are in a part on the south side of the chancel of All Saints' Church.

After the coronation, and until her death, Nan Page lived in an apartment at Mr. Balding's, a picturesque old timbered house, the site of which is now 134, All Saints Street.

A portrait of " Queen Anne" with her crown is given on page 140, and a view of the 'Royal Residence ' is given above. Mrs. Balding is seen standing at the door. [ 142 ]" The following is ' An Address delivered to the People in All Saints Street, Hastings, at the Coronation of their Queen.' "

Great is the pleasure now we feel With you our friends to meet,
On such a day as this to crown, The Star of All Saints' Street.
Unto your "youthful" Queen now give
All honours that are due
And we are sure she'll in return, Her favours shower on .you.
How well, how nobly, she'll perform
The table honours now ;
And for this grand occasion, we With laurels grace her brow
To those kind friends who lent their aid,
This holiday to gain,
We wish them health and every good,
Nor shall we wish in vain.
Permit us now, most noble Queen, Your blessings to entreat,
Which given, we all will raise the cry, Hail, Queen of All Saints' Street !

All Saints' Street is intersected on either side by many "Passages," those on the west side led to the Bourne Stream, and those on the east side to the East Hill.

A photograph of one of these is here presented. The street was in old times paved with boulders, now changed to modern tar macadam. In the earlier guide books it is mentioned as 'Fish Street," " Fisher Street," and " Back Street," but there appears no ground for saying that it was ever legally or officially recognised by these names. Nearly two hundred old deeds of property have been inspected by the writer dating back for two-and-a-half centuries, and in no case is any one of these names recorded. It is, however, worthy of mention here that in the description of property on the east side of All Saints' Street, the East Hill is severally called "All Holland Hill," date 1796. "St. George's Hill, ' 1786. ' George's Hill, ' 1766, and 'Mount Idle. ' Yet in a deed relating to 49, All Saints' Street, dated 1792, this house was conveyed by one William Robinson, to William Lucas-Shadwell, and William Bishop, and then described as "East Hill."

Coming back to All Saints' Street and its old houses, still in existence, Mrs. Shovell's house, Nos. 125-6 is dealt with in a special article on Sir Cloudesley Shovell and his mother. Another fair specimen remaining is No. 58-9, which artists are still fond of painting. There are several of the old inns remaining, although they have been modernised. The Stag Inn and the Chequers (now the Cinque Ports Arms) both 18th century inns. One of the principal was the " Crown Inn," which is frequently mentioned in Barry's, Powell's, and Ross's Guides. The present house is but a shadow of [ 143 ]the original " Crown." The premises extended' to the Tackleway with extensive yard and stabling on the present site of Scrivens, Buildings in Crown Lane. As at the Swan Assemblies, Balls, and Dinners were held here, Coaches started from the Crown to London and Brighton, and as no Union Street then existed, the Coaches turned out of All Saints' Street, through East Bourne Street. This Inn also once belonged to Mr. John Collier. In the deeds dated 1796, the boundary of the property is set out as being "on the Hill.

Passage in All Saints Street 1920 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Photo by F. J. Parsons, Ltd. " Peep at Old Hastings." A Passage in All Saints' Street, 1920.
called 'All Holland Hill,' (no doubt a corruption of "All Hallows), and the 'Tackle Way' (two words), and 'the footpath' (now Union Street) leading from the High Street to the Hill."

At the bottom or sea end of All Saints' Street is another famous house, known as East Hill House, once owned and occupied by the late Mr. Edwin Smith, Furniture Dealer. It was built bv Mr. Edward Capel in 1762 (who is mentioned in the " Collier Letters ") at a cost of £5,000, and after his death was sold for about £1,300. [ 144 ]He was a man of singular temper and habits ; for ten years preceding his death, on January 24th, 1781, he lived here part of the year, and when in residence, nothing but the most urgent business could draw him out of doors. He occasionally visited the Collier family at the Mansion (now Old Hastings House) and the Earl of Ashburnham, while his friend, Garrick, frequently visited him here. Capel was one of the Commentators of Shakespeare. An account of this singular man is given in Nichol's "Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century," vol. J., p. 475-6. It is said that Garrick brought him a slip from Shakespeare's Mulberry Tree at Stratford-on-Avon. and planted it in the garden of East Hill House, and it is still there. Capel held the office of Censor of Plays under

Page152-All Saints Street 1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Photo F. J. Parsons, Ltd.
General View of All Saints' Street 1920. (Shewing the High Pavement.)

the Government. He was born at Troston, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, and was buried there. This house was for many years occupied by the Rev. J. H. Fiske, well remembered for his charitable nature, and his peculiar custom of walking through the streets on New Year's Day, followed by a crowd of fisher lads, who scrambled for the money he threw amongst them, singing the following:

" Bundle 'em in and bundle 'em out,
Turn 'em in and turn 'em out,
New Year's in and Old Year's out,
Rout, Rout, Your money out."

[ 145 ]On looking at the map of Hastings, 1746, the spot just described is where the Eastern Tower is shewn. The Seagate, one of the ancient gates of the wall, stood at the bottom of All Saints' Street, with steps up to it, was sometimes called the Pulpit-Gate. Emerging from the Street, we come to Rock-a-Nore, or " The Rocks of Nore," as it is called on one old map. Here is the East Well, a spring of fresh water which has been flowing for ages out of the Cliff and supplied the town with drinking water before water works were thought of. This is the fisherman's quarter, where rows of tall black, wooden sheds, three and four stores high, in which ropes

Page153-Bourne Street-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By Marianne Johnson. Lent by Museum Committee
Bourne Street, Bourne Stream & Flood Gates, 19th Century.

nets, and other gear are stored for use. This forms part of the old Stade. They are the property of the Corporation, for which an official, once called the Chamberlain, collects the rents. This is the landing place for the fishing craft, which, on coming ashore, are hauled up by capstans. Here also is the Fishermen's Church, connected with All Saints' Church ; the modern lift to the East Hill, and also the Dust Destructor. Coming west formerly stood the Mercer's Hall, at Mercer's Bank, which was used by Merchants as an Exchange. Nearly opposite was the mouth of the Bourne, or the Gut's Mouth.

We now enter Bourne Street, through which the Bourne Stream flowed several feet below the footways on either side, as will be seen by the following series of views:

The Old Bourne Stream.

The view on page 147 is taken from the mouth, flowing to the sea. Moss says : "Hastings was formerly defended, towards the [ 146 ]sea, by a wall which extended from the castle-cliff across the hollow in which the town lies, to the east cliff ; . . .a very small portion of this wall still exists, and may be traced near the Bourne's Mouth, where there was a portcullis or gate ; a considerable part of it is stated to have remained about forty years since."-- (1784.)

Remains of the Town Wall, 1920 (see page 148).

This may be seen near the south end of Bourne Street, opposite East Bourne Street, and is another piece of antiquity which should be preserved by the Corporation, and a descriptive tablet attached.

This view is taken from the Courthouse, which stood upon the site of the present Police Station. The massive timber posts in the foreground are the remains of the great flood-gates, described in Corporation Records as " Adjoining the Court House," seen on the right, and was the site of the old Court House or Common Hall, where a prison has existed for centuries. Prior to 1702, a portion of the Court House was built over the Stream. The following reference from the Town Records reads : "On the 7th April, 1615, it was agreed at the common charge to build a new room, with a garret for a store house, on the north side of the Court Hall on the Bourne, to contain twelve feet broad and fourteen feet long, as Mr. Mayor and A his brethren should conclude and agree." A further and later reference reads as follows : 1702 "when all that was over the Bourne was directed to be pulled down, and also the roof of that part which was once the prison and duck-house which was pulled down to the Court Hall floor." It may be supposed that " ducking " the prisoners was resorted to as a method of punishment.

The tall building shown on page 150 was called the Watch-house or Lock-up, and added to the jail in 1820, together with the stocks.

The eastern walls of the jail were washed by the Bourne, before the erection of the Theatre a few years later. The Bourne was crossed here by a couple of planks from one side to the other.

Brett described the Stream, on the opening of the flood gates, in the following lines :

This Bourne water, sometimes clearly,
Would be running gently merely,
Drank by hundreds of humanity about the town;
Now and then a cleansing getting
When the penstock-man was letting
That which had been kept at bay to rush the channel down.

Often have I joined a party
Who, with shouts and laughter hearty,
Ran the course and crossings leaped before a hasty flood ;
Tumbling ever one another,
Helping p'rhaps a younger brother
Out of danger from a torrent of that liquid mud.

[ 147 ]
Page155-Bourne Stream-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By Miss Marianne Johnson. Lent by the Museum Committee.
The Old Bourne Stream.
From a Water Colour Drawing.

Page155-Town Wall-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By W. G. Moss. From Moss's Guide.
Remains of the Town Wall 1824. (Near the Bourne's Mouth.)

[ 148 ]

Page156-Town Wall 1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

F. J. Parsons, Ltd.
Remains of the Town Wall, 1920.

[ 149 ]The vehicle seen is entering the Bourne Walk going towards the Creek, and the circular fronted house on the left represents the King's Head Inn, and is the last house in Courthouse Street (see next page).

It must be remembered that the gardens of houses both in High Street and All Saints' Street abutted on the Stream, and many of those now standing in Bourne Walk were non-existent, as shewn by the title deeds of houses since built along The Walk. The old timbered house with gables on the right of the picture, on page 145, is still standing (No. 29, Bourne Street), a view of which is given on page 153.

Bourne Street contained the only Theatre proper within the Corporation limits until the present Gaiety Theatre was erected by the late Mr. George Gaze, in Queen's Road. The Hare and Hounds Theatre has already claimed attention. Moss in his work published 1824, says : " It has probably been with a view to prevent the demoralisation of the lower classes of society, that no theatre has been hitherto sanctioned or permitted in Hastings. How far the conduct of the Magistracy, in this particular, may be thought worthy of approval is not our business to discuss. One ground of objection to such a place of public amusement has been stated to be the frequent riots and disturbances which took place between the sailors and soldiers, and more especially at the time Hastings was a naval and military station, as was the case in the late war. There is, however, a small theatre about a mile-and-a-half from the town, on the left hand in the London Road. And we believe it is at length in contemplation to erect one (in Bourne Street), and from the increasing resort of visitants, there can be no reason to doubt why an establishment for so rational and intellectual a species of entertainment should not be equally patronised and encouraged here, as in other watering places in the kingdom." Moss's account was a forecast of what was then about to take place, for in 1825 a Mr. Brookes erected and opened the Theatre in Bourne Street. There are several old play bills in the Museum announcing the performances at this theatre. It was carried on for several years, but it proved an unsuccessful venture, and a disastrous one for the proprietor.

What is Union Street was then a mere alley when the theatre was built, and was closed at the top by one or two old houses in All Saints' Street, opposite the Crown Inn, such houses having a back outlet to the Bourne. At the north side of the alley, where the grocer's shop now is, at the entrance to Bourne Walk, then called the Creek, were opposite the pit and gallery entrance to the Theatre, which entrance may still be traced in the stone work of the outer wall . The Corporation, or Commissioners, as they were then designated, purchased the old property, and then made Union Street. In 1747 a bridge or road way was made across the Bourne Stream, into East Bourne Street, just within the Town Wall, depicted on page 148, thus connecting the lower part of Market Street (High Street) with Fish Street (All [ 150 ]

Page158-Bourne Street and Watch-house-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. Thos. Parkin. Rare View of Bourne Street with Watch-House, Old Jail, The Stocks, and Theatre (now the Wesley Chapel).

Page158-Bourne Street Chapel 1912-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

F. J. Parsons, Ltd. Bourne Street, 1920, Wesley Chapel. (Formerly the Theatre. Looking towards the Sea.)
[ 151 ]Saints' Street) via the Town Wall, and what is now Winding Street.

The Theatre was sold in 1833, at about a third of its cost, and the Wesleyans purchased it for about £800, and this is the origin of the Wesley Chapel, Bourne Street. The exact site of the " Hare and Hounds " Theatre at Ore was obtained by the Author through a plan found in the Corporation Records. A tablet was placed on the site during the Pageant of Heroes in 19 14. This tablet was unveiled by the late Mr. Herbert Beerbohm Tree. See chapter on Pageant of Heroes.

The old house on page 153 is one of the most perfect specimens of 16th century style existing, and one of the many in the Old Town belonging to the Hastings Cottage Improvement Society, Limited. It was formerly one house, now divided into three tenements, and in the upper part there are evidences of what was once a large room which might have been used for meetings of some nature. In this room there was a large elliptical shaped window, a tracing of which is still visible on the north side looking on a warehouse. It abuts on the old Brewery in Courthouse Street, formerly Burfields. This house was doubtless used for smuggling purposes, there being under the floor of the front room a large space, about four feet deep, with a secret door. During alterations some years ago, this door was discovered, and, on opening, it was found to be full of rubbish, which was cleared out. There is little doubt the space has been the receptacle for contraband tubs of spirits. The late Dr. Greenhill, the Secretary of the H.C.I.S., has left a memorandum fixing the date in the 16th century. The title deeds commence 17th May, 1765, by a deed poll under the hand and seal of Phillis Noble, who inherited from her uncle Richard Chadderton, an Officer of the Customs, then by a lease and release made between Richard Fennings, Mariner, and Lucy, his wife, and John Poole, of Hasting, Mariner, and is described as " All that Messuage or tenement with the yard, backside, garden, and appurtances thereto belonging and therewithal usually held, letten, occupied, or enjoyed, lying and being in the parish of All Saints in the town and port of Hasting then late in the occupation or tenure of Ann Sargent, widow, then James Taught his undertenants or assigns, and abutting to a tenement and premises then late of the widow Fautley, to the South, to the common highway and watercourse called the Bourne, on the east to a messuage or tenement of Mark Bossom, then since Ann Hide, then William Went towards the North, and to the garden of the heirs of John Lunsford towards the West. [On the deeds there is a marginal note bv Dr. Greenhill " Never in two tenements."] It is now occupied by an Italian manufacturer of ice-creams.

On page 155 is a rare view of a gabled house which stood at the sen end of Bourne Street.
[ 152 ]There was one house at the Bourne's Mouth, with several old boats lying about. Barry's Guide, in describing a storm and rough sea, states : "A ship of about 10 tons lying at the Bourne's mouth was knocked to pieces.

From the old jail we leave Bourne Street and enter Bourne Walk through which the stream formerly ran until 1835, when its bed was covered in. At this time an artist named W. H. Brooke made several sketches of the old style of gabled houses, one of which is shewn on page 154, with the date, 1636.

Page160-Bourne Street 1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Bourne Street, 1920. Photo. F. J. Parsons, Ltd. (Shewing the present Police Station on the site of the Court Hall of 1700.)
Bourne Walk 1920.

The view on page 155 is taken from the corner of the " Creek, " often mentioned in Guide Books. This is the first of the " twittens ' running from Bourne Walk to All Saints' Street. The large building on the left is Breeds' Brewery, and the pump is one provided by the Corporation for public use after the Stream was closed.

Courthouse Street, so called by reason of its leading to the Old Court Hall from High Street (or Market Street). The modern fronted Inn seen in the left hand corner on this page is the King's Head, previously mentioned. On the opposite side is the Brewery, once owned by William Amoore, afterwards by Thomas Mills, during whose occupation it was destroyed by fire, then Burfield's, now by [ 153 ]Smith & Co. In this street was an old Inn called the Maidenhead House,where the Courts Baron of Brede were formerly held, kept by William Amoore, now No. 2, Courthouse Street, and 43, High Street, at present occupied by Reeves and Son, Antique Furniture Warehouse.

It formed part of the ancient Manor of Brede, which extended from the Old Town Hall (Bourne Street), southward along Bourne Street, thence Northward of John Street to the corner of High Street, thence by the " Maidenhead Inn," now Mr. Amoore's, to the Swan

Page161-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

(From the Author's Collection). By Annie F. Pattison.
View of 29, Bourne Street, Dated 1872.

Lane ; then by Church Street (now Croft Road) to the pathway (now Salter's Lane) from the Croft to High Street ; and then taking in the south east side of High Street, along Courthouse Street to the old Town Hall. The land belonging to this old Manor is mentioned in the Domesday survey as part of the Manor of Rameslie, in which Brede was included, and once belonged to the Abbey of Fecamp, besides these, the Abbey held the Totty Lands (now part of Clive [ 154 ]Vale, part of which is now the reservoir for the first water works) the great meadow on the Minnis Rock, and the Chequers, now the Cinque Port Arms, in All Saints' ; and Brookland, near the old Watermill, in the Castle Parish (now the Site of the Gas Works). The present Lords of the Manor I believe are Messrs. Paine and Brettle, of Coggeshall, Essex.

Page162-Old House in Bourne Walkx-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By W. H. Brooke Lent by Dr. G. Victerman Hearland.
Old House in Bourne Walk.
Which is built upon raised stone work above the stream, with steps to the house. The artist depicts several houses of similar style. There are a number of intersecting passages from High Street to All Saints' Street, the two principal being the Upper Lane and Lower Lane, where there were rough bridges for crossing the stream.

The view on page 156, is East Bourne Street, running from All Saints' Street to Bourne Street, which has undergone much alteration by the erection of modern buildings.
[ 155 ]

Page163-House at mouth of Bourne 1808 Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. F. G. Langham. Old House at the Mouth of the Bourne Stream.
From an Aquatint, by R. Cocking, engraved by J. Bluck, and published by Ackermann, 1808.

Page163-Bourne Walk 1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Photo F. J. Parsons, Ltd. Bourne Walk, 1920.
[ 156 ]

Page164-East Bourne Street 1824-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By W. G. Moss. View of East Bourne Street. (From Moss's History of Hastings, 1824.) (This view given in the first edition as Courthouse Street was an error. Author.)

Page164-Courthouse Street 1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Courthouse Street 1920. F. J. Parsons, Ltd.
This street is so named by reason o.c the Courthouse and Prison being there ; and a Police Station and lock-up for prisoners, combined with a Fire Station, on the same site.

[ 157 ]The Author is indebted to Mr. J. E. Ray, F.S.A., for pointing out an error in attributing the view on page 156 as " Courthouse Street," which is now corrected to East Bourne Street. This is apparent on taking a view of the latter street from East Cliff House at the bottom of All Saints' Street and known as Capel's House.

Page165-Humphrey Wickham's Butcher's Shop-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. G. Vickerman Hewland. Humphrey Wickham's Butcher's Shop, 66, High Street.(Stood at the North Corner of Church Street, now Swan Lane.)
[ 158 ]===HIGH STREET.=== The principal thoroughfare of Old Hastings, High Street (sometimes referred to as Market Street, by reason of the Market being formerly held at the North end), will now claim attention. Like All Saints Street, the West side being built on the side of the hill, the early builders found it necessary " to put the houses on a shelf " or high pavement.

Humphrey Wickham's Butcher's Shop.

This is a fair specimen of the style of House in High Street in the 16th and 17th centuries. It stood until about 1840, when it was removed to make a better approach to St. Clement's Church. The money for the purpose was raised by public subscription. Humphrey Wickham occupied it as a Butcher's Shop, seen in the view. High Wickham derived its name from him, he having farmed the adjoining land and built several of the houses there.

At the South corner, opposite Wickham's house, was the famous Swan Inn.

The Old Swan Hotel, High Street.

This old hostelry for centuries played such a prominent part in the life of Hastings that more than a passing note is necessary here. It stood upon nearly an acre of ground, and occupied the site now represented by the London Distillery, and Nos. 64c, d, and e, High Street, Swan Terrace, Swan Avenue, and part of Hill Street. It contained 42 bedrooms, a very fine Assembly Room, with music gallery, a spacious market or dining room, a suite of reception rooms, bar, and other offices, a large Court Yard, range of stabling and coach houses, a brewery, and shades or tap. The archway shewn in the view led to the courtyard, with an entrance from Hill Street (or Cornhill as, it was formerly called). In olden times many Innkeepers brewed their beer. It was purchased in 1889 by a local firm of builders, who demolished it, and covered the site with a modern Public House and the other buildings above mentioned. The Swan Inn was the oldest one in the town, so far as can be ascertained, the Crown Inn, All Saints' Street, running it very closely. As a proof of its age, Brett, in searching the Registers of St. Clement's Church, found the following entry :

" March 28th, 1609, there was buried in St. Clement's Churchyard, One John, Oastler at the Swan," shewing a history of over three centuries. In the deeds of the property the title is said to commence with 1722, and the first recorded owner or occupier was one Katherine Stevens. Then by a family named Richardson. In 1726 by a Mrs. Grove, who took in a partner named Richard Halsted, and afterwards married him. Richard Halsted died, the widow still carrying it on. In 1747, the following notice was posted :-
[ 159 ]"To be sold immediately, the Swan Inn, with Brewery, Stabling, two Gardens, etc., enquire of Widow Halsted in Hastings."

Whether sold or not is doubtful, but it fell into the hands of Mr. John Collier, either as purchaser or mortgagee, and shortly after was announced to be let. According to the " Collier letters" the property passed by Will to Mrs. Collier. Some years after it was owned and occupied by Mr. Thomas Breeds, and afterwards Mr. William Scrivens, Mr. Dodson, Mr. Stockwell, and Mr. Robinson were severally landlords. Early in the 19th Century Mr. C. F. Mott, followed by Messrs. Abraham Wood and Francis Emary. After their tenancy the property was bought outright for £5,000 by Mr. W. M. Eldridge, then proprietor of the Saxon Hotel, St. Leonards, and ultimately it was carried on by Mr. Wm. Carswell and his

Page167-Swan Hotel c1890-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. Alfred Bryant.
The Swan Hotel.
(As it appeared just prior to its demolition with the posters announcing the Sale of its contents, Horses, Carriages, etc.)

widow after him, who will be remembered by many now living. The Hotel under their management became celebrated. Far away into the 18th Century the Swan was famous for its Assemblies, Balls, Dinners, Concerts, and other functions. One or other of the Political Parties made it their rendezvous at election times, the Mayor's Dinners were held there, the Assembly Room was used for Auction Sales of Property, by Commercial Traders, and farmers and merchants attending the weekly market regularly transacted much of their business at the Swan, and the "Market Ordinary " was a recognised institution. " All things change." [ 160 ]
The old-style of Inns have disappeared, where one was made welcome by the cheery greetings of the old-fashioned landlord or landlady, and one's personal comfort studied, to make way for the modern ' k House of Call." One of the old time waiters was till recently amongst us in the person of the late Mr. James Foster, the custodian of the Public Hall, who was a keen collector of Hastings views, some of which have been lent by him for reproduction in this work, and he told many interesting stories of the Swan, where he was as a waiter in 1845. The last tenant was Mr. Joseph Collins.

General View of High Street.

In the left-hand corner of this view, where the electric-light standard is shown, was the site of Humphrey Wickham's house. The projecting clock is on the old Town Hall. The date 1823 will be found upon it, and its predecessor was the first Town Hall erected in High Street in 1700, at the expense of John Pulteney and Peter Gott, Esquires, who at the time represented Hastings in Parliament.

Their munificence is recorded by an inscription engraved on a stone tablet in Latin. The five arched windows represented openings where formerly was a market, and in later years a Police Station. The Courthall, or Council Chamber, and the Police Court above, was approached by steps at the North entrance. The building, as a Town Hall, was vacated when the new Municipal Buildings were opened in the Queen's Road, on September 7th, 1881. This old Town Hall is now used as an Antique Furniture Shop, a purpose somewhat in keeping with its traditions. High Street once contained all the principal public buildings the Custom House, County Court, and Banks. In the next view another old house is shewn, and once the residence of Edmund Pelham.

Pelham House, 1610.

The date, with the Pelham Buckle (the Arms of the Pelhams) is seen under the upper window, and, unfortunately, is the only remaining trace of its former significance. Edward Pelham was M.P. for Hastings in 1597, and Edmund Pelham resided here. It is No. 82, High Street. The Pelham Buckle, the badge of the family, is believed to be an allusion to the seizure of King John by his belt, by John Pelham, at the Battle of Poitiers. He was knighted after the battle. The Pelhams have for centuries been connected with Hastings. John Pelham and Sir Roger la Warr led the East Sussex contingent of the Army at Poitiers, and were probably concerned largely in the principal issue of the battle the capture of King John (Dawson). Pelham House is more than once mentioned in the " Collier Letters." In 1744 the Editor says " I should gather from the correspondence that Colonel James Pelham was then staying at Hastings, where he had a house, and the correspondence had reference to the formation of a club which [ 161 ]

Page169-High Street 1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Photo F. J. Parsons, Ltd. General View of High Street, Hastings, Looking North 1920.

Page169-Pelham House-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Pelham House 1610. Formerly 82, High Street.

[ 162 ]used to meet at the Swan Inn." And again on February 3rd, 1757, he refers to this house as " one he meant to keep for the rest of his life, or so long as he was able to take a turn now and then to see his friends in Sussex." In 1820 it was occupied by Richard and Mary Breeds.

The next view shows the back of the house.

Page170-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. Chas. Dawson, F.S.A.
Pelham House, High Street. (Back View.)

This shews the entrance from High Street to Sinnock's Square (formerly Tripe Alley), so called from the fact that a butcher named Sinnock sold tripe from premises through a door in the alley at No. 83, still a butcher's shop. The passage now leads to the Croft. Pelham House is owned by Mr. J. Baker Guy, whose father purchased it, and erased all trace of this fine specimen of the Tudor style of house, excepting the date tablet, and the Pelham Buckle shewn in the next view.

Since the demolition of the old house in 1877, and the erection of the present one, Mr. J. Baker Guy has frequently expressed his [ 163 ]regret that the features of this old house were not in some way preserved.

Crowhurst Place, on the road to Battle, was the seat of the Pelham family. The old Manor of Crowhurst was one of those held by Harold before the Conquest. In the reign of Henry IV. the Manor was in the possession of Sir John Pelham, who adopted the

Page171-Front of Pelham House 1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Photo. F. J. Parsons.
Front of Pelham House 1920.

device known as the Pelham Buckle. His descendant, Colonel Pelham, resided there early in the seventeenth century. The property afterwards descended by inheritance to Thomas Papillon Esq., and the family still holds it. The property extends down the the Crowhurst Valley to the Sea. We learn from the Collier Letters that in 1756, Colonel Pelham had a private road from Crowhurst Place to the Sea, where he had a house on the cliff at Bopeep called " The Tent," which he used as a resort for pleasure parties and bathing.
[ 164 ]

Torfield House.

This house still exists and adjoins " Old Hastings House " at the top of High Street, and now occupied by Dr. G. D. Compston. It was part of the Collier Estates, and is mentioned in Mr. Collier's will as " Torresfield." Its early history may be referred to in the " Collier Letters." Mr. Collier acquired it from a man named Wimble, but at the time of the apportionment of the Collier Estates, Mr. Edward Milward bought it for his daughters Maria and Frances to live in, and it was once occupied by them accordingly. It still remains in the Milward family. The present owner is Mrs. W. C. Sayer-Milward. In 1834 it was the residence of Sir Peckham Micklethwait, who received a baronetcy in recognition of his services in stopping the runaway horses of the carriage containing the Princess Victoria, and thus preventing a serious accident. The house was for many years the

Page172-Torfield House 1832-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By G. Rowe. Lent by Dr. G. Vickerman-Hewland
Tarrfield, Torresfield or Torfield House. 1832.

residence of Miss Kingsbury, who will be remembered for her generosity and support of local charities.

When Hastings was a walled-in town there was a Gate at the sea end of High Street called the Drawbridge Gate, at the bottom of Oak Hill.

Between High Street and Bourne Street was the Hundred Place, where from time immemorial the Bailiffs (now Mayors) and Jurats, were elected in the open. According to the map of 1746 it was approached from High Street opposite the Swan and from Winding Lane. The ceremony took place on Hock-day, the second Tuesday after Easter, when the horn was the common mode of calling an assembly. This quaint proceeding is fully described in the Custumal, Clauses 1 to 6, Suss. Arch. Coll., v., 14. In Barry's [ 165 ]Guide of 1797 is stated " A Stage Coach runs between London and Hastings every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, throughout the year, and on Wednesday also, during the summer season. It sets out from the Swan Inn, Hastings, at five, and from the Bolt-in-Tun, Fleet Street, London, at six in the morning ; the two Coaches meet at Tunbridge about noon, where they exchange passengers and parcels, and return home at night." One can imagine the busy scene at the Swan in High Street in those days, on the early arrival of passengers from the surrounding district. In contrast to the present mode of travel by swift motor- cars, and from 70 to 80 trains to and from London daily, taking from 1½ to 3 hours for the journey. Trains with luxurious dining and sleeping, electrically lighted, and well-warmed carriages.

No. 1, High Street was formerly occupied by Mr. Langham, the father of the late Aid. F. A. Langham, a lawyer of local celebrity, before the firm moved to Robertson Street. The earliest directory of which the author has any knowledge is one published by P. M. Powell, in 1819, and among the residents in High Street whose family names are familiar at the present day are Henbrey, Wine Merchant; Pain, Pastry Cook; Mrs. Amoore, Grocer; Weeks, Fruiterer; Williams, Wine Merchant ; Barry, Bookseller ; Inskipp, Painter ; Pain, Sadler ; W. Amoore, Grocer ; Eaton, Upholsterer ; Ellis, Grocer ; West, Post Office (in Post Office Passage, leading to Winding Street) ; Bryant, Ironmonger ; Job, Watchmaker ; Breeds. Merchant ; Foster, Tailor ; Austin, Printer ; Miss Carswell, Lodgings ; Ruby, Lodgings ; Tindall, Lodgings ; Scrivens, Lawyer ; Shorter, Lodgings ; Chas. Powell, Boarding School ; M. Breeds, Lodgings ; Duke, Glover ; Swan (or Royal Hotel), Mott, proprietor, etc., etc.

Leaving High Street by Swan Lane is Hill Street, once called Cornhill, and Church Street, Paragon Buildings, Cobourg Row, Harpsichord, Gloucester Place, and The Croft. An early account of this locality is recorded by William Durrant Cooper, F.S.A., and Thomas Ross, Esq., Mayor in 1862 in the Suss. Arch. Coll., vol 14, p. 65, in an article on "Notices of Hastings," dealing with the subject of the concealed lands of Salerne, Gautron, and Salter Chantries, which existed prior to the Reformation. A special Commission was petitioned for in 1578 for procuring evidence of these Concealed Lands, and to report same to Lawrence Levytt, Edmond Coppinger and John Asheburnham, Esquires. The report contains the following relating to this locality. - " Item - And also they doe finde and lykewise presente fowar gardeins conteyninge by estimacion one roode of lande more or less, the which allwayes apperteyned and belongyd to the tenements at Bullockes Hyll durynge these twentye yeares ; and hath byn conseallyd and kepte backe by one Willyam Benett, late of the towne of Hastinge deceassyd, and one Richard Calverley, nowe of the sayde towne of Hastinge, whoe sayth that he payeth rente for the same to one [ 166 ]Mr. Bryde of London, his landlord." Item "They doe present that all the tenementes and shoppes standinge at Bullocks Hyll contained in number syxe and one shopp were all pulled dowen taken convertyd and caryed awaye by Mr. Lyff now bayliffe of Hastinge (Richard Lief, Mayor 1588 Moss). But by what authoritye he hath done the same they knowe not ; and they value the same at twelve poundes." Item "They doe presente that the tenementes shopps, chambers and garrattes in the parish of Saint Clementes in Hastinge nowe called the Butchery and very, muche in decaye in tymber, tylinge, walinge, and other reparacions so that as they do suppose that thirtye poundes will not sufficientlye repay re them."

A market for cattle was formerly held here, and shambles or slaughter-houses for killing. Some years ago while carrying out drainage operations, many bones of bullocks and sheep were dug up in Hill Street, undoubtedly in evidence of the former existence of these shambles. Although " shopps " are mentioned in the report, it seems reasonable that they were of little commercial importance. The accompanying views will give an idea of the appearance of this part of Hastings about the period mentioned. The principal object is St. Clement's Church.

The following description of St. Clement's Church is written by the late Rector, the Rev. Henry C. Brereton Foyster, who has studied the history of this church, and possesses a very excellent collection of views of Old Hastings. The Rev. H. C. B. Foyster recently severed his connection with St. Clement's Parish Church (after a period of nearly 90 years, during which his family were Rectors of either St. Clement's or All Saints' Churches, or both).

"History of St. Clement's Church. Of the early history very little is known. The first Rector, whose name has come down to us, is Laurence Soher, who resigned in 1331. Tradition has it that the first St. Clement's was nearer the sea, perhaps near Hill Street Steps, and that the encroachments of the sea destroyed it. The next Church was built on the present site and probably consisted of a nave and chancel, with one broad south aisle having the Tower at the west end of it. These were of the same width as the present nave and south aisle which stand indeed on the old foundations. They did not, however, extend west of the east wall of the Tower, which thus, was open on three sides. How far they readied eastward cannot be accurately ascertained. The east wall of the chancel cannot have been, by some feet, as far as the present one ; neither can the south aisle have been originally as long as it now is, but it is possible that the addition of a chapel may have extended it to its present length. Of course an arch must have divided the nave from the chancel. The main portion of the masonry of the existing tower belongs to this earlier Church. It will thus be seen that the building was of the usual form of Sussex Churches, the only unusual feature being that the tower was at the end of the aisle instead of that of the nave. This was due to the fact that the direction of Croft Road made it impossible to put the tower at the end of the nave, and the fall of the ground towards High Street prevented the building from being placed farther east. In 1378, a French force landed at Hastings, and burnt the town, and the Church perished, only the tower, and that much injured, especially at the upper part, and portions of the walls, being left standing." H.C.B.F.
[ 167 ]

Page175-St Clements Church-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by the late Rev. H. C. B. Foyster.
Rare and Early View of St. Clement's Church From Church Street (now Croft Road), Date unknown.

Page175-St. Clements Church from Hill Street 18th C-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. T. Parkin.
Another View of St. Clement's Church and Hill Street 18th Century. (Date and Artist unknown.)

[ 168 ]For ages past the Curfew Bell has been tolled daily at eight o'clock p.m. At the present time it is tolled during the winter months only. This Church contains Monuments to the Memory of John Collier, Esq., 1760, Edward Milward, Esq., 1811, Mary his wife, daughter of John Collier, Esq., 1783, Edward Milward, Esq., the first husband of the Countess of Waldegrave, 1833 ; also two monumental brasses to the memory of Thomas Wekes, late Jurat of Hastings, and Margery his Wyf, 1563, and John Barley, late of the town and port of Hastings, 1601 (Barley's Lane, derived its name from the latter.) For a more detailed history of St. Clement's Church, the reader may consult the many guide books. The present Rector is the Revd. Hugh Basil Cole, M.A.
Page176-View of Hill Street-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. W. Ruskin Butterfield.
Another View of Hill Street or Cornhill.
Copied from the original Oil Painting found in the Maidstone Museum by Mr. Butterfield. (Date and Artist unknown.)

Remains of parts of some of these old houses may still be seen. Those in the two preceding views are the property of the Hastings Cottage Improvement Society, Ltd., and are under the charge of the author. During repairs in these houses, massive oak flooring, 2 inches thick were found, and the laths in the plaster walls were also of oak, about a quarter inch thick. They are now represented by Nos. 22, 23, 24, and 25, Hill Street. Close by this spot Stell opened his Library at Paragon Buildings, opposite St. Clement's Church, on the site of what is now No. 1, Croft Road, occupied by Dr. H. Goldsworthy Shorter. This was in 1780, and four years after he published the first Guide to Hastings known to [ 169 ]Collectors as Stell's Guide, in 1794. It is a coincidence worthy of note that the late John Goldsworthy Shorter, the grandfather of the above, and Stell, were brothers-in-law by marriage, both having married daughters of the Rev. William Coppard, then rector of St. Clement's and All Saint's, the first in 1789, and the latter in 1792. Brett, in his Reminiscences, says that John Goldsworthy Shorter was accredited with being the draughtsman of the views which appeared in Stell's Guide. There is no doubt of this fact, as James Barry, a few years after, purchased Stell's Library, and publish his Guide of 1797, with the same views bearing the imprint of J.G. Shorter, delt. There are also strong reasons for believing that Stell

Page 168Hastings of bygone days and the present - House in Hill Street - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by the Museum Committee.
A Tudor House in Hill Street which Stood at the Corner at the Bottom of Cobourg Place.
From a Water Colour by Miss M. Johnson 1820.

was assisted by his brother-in-law in writing his Guide. Who could render such help better than he, with his scholarly attainments and vast knowledge of the old town. Besides, Stell, in his preface [ 170 ]says " To a few others I am also under obligations for information received at different times ; but to none more than to my ingenious and worthy friend, who furnished the drawings for the plates, and the map ; and to whose steady friendship and active zeal upon this, as well as numberless other occasions, I am greatly indebted."

Mr. John Goldwsorthy Shorter was a native of the Premier Cinque Port, and after his retirement as a Schoolmaster, he became a Jurat and eight times Mayor of Hastings, seven times alternately from 1803 to 1815, with Mr. Edward. Milward, junior. The coincidence is that his grandson now lives on the spot where his brother-in-law had his library, just one hundred and thirty years ago.

St. Clement's Caves.

The present entrance to these Caves is of modern origin. They were known to Mr. John Collier the owner of the land, and to his successor, Mr. Edward Milward, senior, long before Gloucester Place was thought of. Probably about the middle of the 18th Century. The following is a rare and quaint view of the Caves from an old print, which was published in the Gentleman's Magazine of 1786, and described as one of "The Antiquities of Hastings."

There is little doubt that the use of sand for building purposes and for sprinkling floors, before carpets were cheap, "or before the use of blotting paper for drying writing ink," caused a want which was readily filled by the inexhaustible supply from that part of the Croft called the Coney Banks, although some think they were used by smugglers for secreting contraband, which idea has been exploded long since, and ridiculed by old hands. Smugglers seldom used a hiding place more than once or twice. After being disused, early in the 19th Century, an opening was accidentally made by a gentleman named Scott while digging in his garden at the back of Gloucester Place. Then an idea struck a Mr. Golding that the opening of these Caves to the public, with music and dancing, would prove a profitable hit. He applied to Mr. Milward, and obtained permission to cut a new and more convenient entrance. This Mr. Golding and his descendants carried them on many years, during which the St. Clement's Caves became one of the " Lions " of the town, and are still open to the public daily. A new entrance from the West Hill, near the Lighthouse, was made during the late Mr. Edwin Smith's tenancy, making a visit less fatiguing than formerly.

One writer states that these Caves were a popular resort of the soldiers from Halton Barracks, for card playing and other games. Every visitor should see these immense excavations.

Hill Street, Church Street, and Croft Road, were generally designated as " On the Hill." It is now called Croft Road, commencing from Paragon Buildings. No. 6 was formerly the rectory house and bears a date and initials R.C.A., 1710. A few doors beyond is a disused burial ground under the charge of the Church-
[ 171 ]

Croft Road Entrance to St Clements Caves - 1786 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. A. G. Fidler. The Entrance to St. Clement's Caves 1786, from Croft Road.

St. Clements Caves Interior - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By G. W. Wing. Lent ly Dr. G. Vickerman Hewland.
The Interior of St. Clement's Caves 1826.

[ 172 ]wardens of St. Clement's. At the top of this burial ground may be seen what is probably one of the original openings to the Caves. The Croft was commenced in 1805, and contains what were then considered some " large and commodious houses." It is still very quiet, but picturesque. Miss Marianne North, the famous traveller and painter, lived there. The late revered Rector of St. Clement's, Canon H. B. Foyster and his wife, lived and died at Croft House, which is now a school. Croft Road appears upon several old maps, and was a common highway from High Street to the Priory Road, from time immemorial.

Before leaving the Bourne Valley the next picture is one of the earliest giving a general view of the old town ; and bears the description, " Hastings taken on the top of Mr. Wenham's House, 1780. Copy of a drawing by S. H. Grimm, in the British Museum."

In Powell's Guide of 1819, a Mr. Edward Wenham occupied East Hill House, in the Tackleway. The author has visited this spot and compared the view with the scene presented at the present time from the Tackleway, The artist intended the houses to represent High Street on the one side and All Saints' Street on the other, with the Bourne Stream running between. There were no houses built in the Croft then, and the gardens represent the slopes to the East Hill, with All Saints' Church and Hastings House, with the tower, on the site of Old Humphrey Avenue ; the present Golf Links above High Wickham, Fairlight Down and Halton, are shewn in the distance.

The Stade was that part of the foreshore from Rock-a-Nore to the present Harbour, and in the jurisdiction of the Corporation under their official called the Pier Warden. It is now covered with the Harbour Works, huts for fishermen's tackle, Fishmarket, the Fisherman's Church, the Dust Destructor, the East Hill Lift, Rock-a-Nore, and Mercer's Bank (see next page).

For centuries past Hastings was dependent chiefly for the coals and other necessaries of life upon vessels of the class seen in the view on page 175. These vessels were a familiar sight until about twenty years ago. They would run ashore on the tide, and lay high and dry, when the operations of unloading the cargo presented a busy scene during low tide. There were several slip ways along the foreshore for horses and carts carrying the coals or other merchandise ashore at the Fishmarket, London Road, St. Leonards, and other places. The business during the 19th century was principally in the hands of Messrs. Breeds and Co., Mr. Will Ginner, and later Mr. W. E. Ginner, Messrs. Thwaites, Messrs. How, Messrs. Putland, etc. Several of these vessels were wrecked on the Hastings Beach from strong winds springing up while being unloaded, until the business was done by rail, when it gradually ceased. The well-
[ 173 ]

Hastings from Mr Wenham's House - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By Grimm. Lent by Mr. F. G. Langham.
Hastings from Mr. Wenham's House 1784. (The original of this view is in the British Museum and dated 1784.)

The Stade - 1790 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By H. Reveley. Lent by the late Mr. Chas. Dawson, F.S.A.
Rare View of The Stade, Shewing the Old Pier, 1790. Opposite Rock-a-Nore and East Cliffs shewing Old Buildings on site of Pelham Place.

[ 174 ]
Viw of the East Hill - 1800- Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

The two figures are standing on the West end of The Fort at East Parade. Date, about 1800.

Viw of the Beach - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. T. Parkin.
A Sketch on the Beach 18th Century.

[ 175 ]known vessel called the " Pelican " was about the last survivor. Besides the sea-borne business, there were four-horse waggons which plied regularly between Hastings and London, also to and from Brighton and Maidstone with goods and mails. They were called Fly Vans.
Unloading on the Beach - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. Thos. Parkin
How Coals and Merchandize were Brought to Hastings.

On the sign board of the Cutter Inn, which is one of the oldest, is the name of " James Bell," whose name is in Powell's Guide of 1819.

There are views of the Fishmarket of a hundred years ago, when all the business was done on the beach, with a row of temporary stalls. The old sailor near the Inn is wearing a pig-tail. This " part

Fly Van c1820 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

[Lent by Miss Clark.
One of the Royal Fly Vans, 1820
(From a block found in Ransom's Printing Office.)

of Hastings was then called "Beach Houses," and consisted of a straggling lot of small houses dotted here and there, most of them let as lodgings to visitors.
[ 176 ]

The Cutter - East Parade - 1815 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. J . Foster.
The Fishmarket, The Cutter Inn, and the Old Lighthouse. By James Rouse; probable date, 1815.

Fishmarket - 1920 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

The Fishmarket 1920. F. J. Parsons, Ltd.

[ 177 ]The Corporation, in 1870, provided the "Rotunda" for the retail fishmongers, and later the building shown on page 176 for the landing and packing of the fish. The erection in the foreground is the lighting stage in connection with the lighthouse on the West Hill.

The market opens at from 5 to 6 a.m. ; several of the public houses around it having special licenses to open at 5 o'clock. The method of selling on the open beach by Dutch auction is still in vogue, no license being required. This is one of the sources of income which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has overlooked. The " Dutch " auctioneer can sell "on a falling price" without a license while those who sell "on a rising price" must pay £10 a year for the privilege. Buyers all stand round the heaps of fish, while the salesman names a price and begins to shout " five bob," " four and nine," " four and six," and so on, until some buyer shouts " SNAP," or something like it, and the lot is his.

Storm at East Parade Nov 14th 1875 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Destructive Storm at East Parade and Fishmarket, November 14th, 1875.
(From a Snapshot taken at the time.)
The prominent building is the old Lighthouse, part of which still remains. The Lifeboat House now stands opposite this on the Parade, and succeeded the old Custom House.

If any reader will rise at five and pay a visit to the fishmarket while business is on, he or she may imagine they are in a foreign country The dress and language so strange. One may be greeted with " Marnin," You reply, "Good morning, much fish this morning ?" " Dere's boco's (plenty) ob feesh dis marnin." Perhaps you will remark that the weather looks queer, and the reply is, " Yus, it looks plannety" (thundery). It is a common saying among the fishermen, " Ven de planets poke up in de westvard and de clouds cum up agin de vind, its sure to raain."
[ 178 ]This denote the pillary clouds which rise in the south-west some hours or days before a coming storm. All this is spoken with an accent resembling the " gobbling of a turkey with a sore throat." " Var b'ze gwain ?" " Down de Priory, will ye goo?" "No, I vaunt." " Vy vaunt ye?" " Cos I vaunt, and dat's vy. "Law is 'laa.'" To get rid of something you are better without, is to " git shet of it." This language has probably been derived from much intercourse with the French Fishermen at sea, and brought down from father to son.


George Street, now quite a brisk business thoroughfare, between the Priory and the Bourne Valley, was probably not known or called by this name until the beginning of the 19th Century. Built outside the town wall it sprang into existence about the middle of the 17th Century and the locality was known as the "Suburbs." The site is briefly alluded to in Barry's Guide of 1797. In describing the town it states (p.41), " At the bottom of the hill (referring to Old London Road), you enter a pleasant shady lane, on each side of which are tall spreading trees, whose branches in the summer form an impenetrable arch, through which you enter the town, consisting of two parallel streets of considerable length, running nearly north and south, and opening to the sea, with several lesser ones intersected by gardens, and a suburb, which extends along the beach."

This description is repeated in his 4th edition published and dated 1815. No mention is made of " George Street " until Powell published his Guide with a directory of the Lodging Houses," dated 1819, where he mentions only 14 houses, including his own residence there. The late Mr. John Banks wrote " that he remembered George Street with only 14 houses, with the road lower than the side walks, where you went up steps at one end and down steps at the other." Such was George Street a century ago. The only Inns mentioned are the "Anchor" and the "Hastings Arms."

The writer and the late Mr. T. B. Brett had some correspondence in 1902 as to the origin of the name of George Street. It had been stated it was derived from Prince George of Cumberland, who laid the foundation stone of the Market Hall in 1833, while others attributed it to George's Hill or St. George's Hill (a former name for the East Hill). Neither of us believed in these theories. The writer afterwards found a title deed of some property dated May 23rd, 1827, wherein " By Indentures of Lease and release of this date the release made between Edward Milward and others, and George Jackson of the sale of the site of a public house formerly situate at the eastern of George Street in the parish of St. Clement in Hastings and called the George Inn," where Messrs. Pearch and Simmonds shop is now, No. 73, and we came to the conclusion that this house gave the name to George Street. Owners of property in George Street might discover a more definite clue in their title deeds.
[ 179 ]Moss, in his History, p. 145 (1824), writes : "Proceeding westward from High Street, we come into George Street, in which is situate the Workhouse." This is shewn in Powell's plan on page 115. Now 42, George Street, once the Literary Institution (1831), and Ransom's Printing Office under, and the Laboratory of the Education Department. The late Mr. William Ransom, but for whose encouragement with that of my late friend, Thomas Brandon Brett, this work might not have been thought of, was a printer.

His father coming from Battle as a printer, began business in George

Early House in George Street - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

One of the Earliest Houses in " Suburb Street." Dated 1657
Afterwards George Street.
(Sketched by the late John Goldsworthy Shorter, the Delineator of Stell's and Barry's Guides.)
It was known as "Mrs. Bodle's House."

Street about 1819. He died in 1855, when the business devolved upon his son William. The late Mr. Brett and the writer, also old printers and newspaper men, used to exchange notes on the progress in the methods and machinery in the printing trade during the  [ 180 ]

Timbered House in George Street - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by the Museum Committee.
Old Timbered House in George Street. From a Water Colour by Miss M. Johnson, about 1820.
This is believed to represent the house formerly the George Inn, then at the corner of High Street at the bottom of Oak Hill. Lent by Miss Clark.

Penfold Ironmongers - 70 George Street - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

No. 70, George Street. Penfold, Ironmongers (Successors, Messrs. Alderton & Shrewsbury, Ironmongers.)
Now Mr. L. J. Butler, Hardwareman,

[ 181 ]last 50 years which has revolutionised the business. It is not generally known that it was Mr. William Ransom who bought from the publishers, about 40 years ago, all the remaining copies of Moss's History at a few shillings each, which have since commanded a ready sale at from two to three guineas. Ransom's printing office is now carried on by Miss Clark, whose father was in Mr. Ransom's employ. Miss Clark kindly allowed the writer to make a selection of blocks from this old printing office to be used as illustrations in this book.
Georg Street - 1920 - P181 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Eastern End of George Street 1920.
Shewing the former Site of the " George Inn," and The Drawbridge Gate, at Oak Hill.

There are several specimens of the timbered houses still existing in George Street, Nos 63, 64, and 65, between the two latter are the Light Steps leading to Hill Street, where is visible part of the Hastings Wall. About this spot was the Western Tower, shewn in the Map of 1746. At No. 17, now and for many years a Baker's shop, is below the level of the pavement and approached down some steps which is the case of several on the south side. [ 182 ]Having illustrated and described the Old Town in the Bourne Valley, we will now take the reader along the Sea Front and show the gradual development from East to West, starting from the East Cliff.

Peter Malaperte Thuillier Powell, founder of Powell's Library and Musical Lounge (now a Restaurant), the "New Warm Baths " (opposite the Russian Gun was the site of Thwaites and Winter's Ship Yard, where the Yacht " Queen Victoria," and the " Pelican," the last of the old trading vessels, were built) was once a well-known resident, who exerted himself largely in the promotion of entertainment for the few visitors to the town in

Site of Powell's Library - 1920 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Photo. F. J. Parsons, Ltd.
The Present Site of Powell's Library 1920.
(Now a Restaurant, East Parade. West Street on the left.)

his time. His father was a Grandee of Spain, his mother an English lady. Mr. Powell was a man of great energy and enterprise, and published several editions of a Hastings Guide, illustrated with coloured views. In 1 831, he, with his wife and family, emigrated to the United States, where he died, in 1850, aged 79, and his [ 183 ]widow died in 1865, aged 88. Their descendants of the third generation, whose business frequently called them to England, used to visit Hastings, where their grandfather spent many years of his early life. His library was well patronized by the upper classes who visited Hastings for health and pleasure.

Both Barry and Powell provided Musical Entertainments at their respective Libraries during the Season, and the Town Band and Military Bands from the Barracks played on the Parade in the summer season.

James Barry, The Marine Library, Marine Parade, near the Baths, also a Bookseller, Stationer, Pianoforte Dealer, and Fancy Warehouseman, facing the Swan Inn, High Street, was a man of indomitable energy and public spirit. He having purchased Stell's

Hastings Castle from the East - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.pdf.png

Lent by Mr. F. G. Langham
Hastings Castle and Rocks, and the Old Bathing House, 1784.
(Copy of a drawing by S. H. Grimm, in the British Museum.) This old Bathing House was the property of Mr. Edward Milward.

Library and the copyright of his Guide to Hastings, first published in 1794, Barry published a new and enlarged edition in 1797, and several editions followed this at intervals. He was also the proprietor of Warm Baths which stood on the Parade near the Russian Gun. In 1812 Barry was the prime mover in collecting subscriptions of about £1,300 for extending the Marine Parade from his library at the West end of George Street, to the West end of Pelham Place, which was accomplished some eight years afterwards. Visitors were then steadily increasing and were of a well-to-do class. [ 184 ]

Marine Parade and Baths - 1812 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. J . Foster.
Marine Parade and Baths 1812.

Marine Parade - Library - West Fort - 1817 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Powell's Library and Marine Boarding House, East Parade, and Fort, 1817.

The Marine Boarding House had previously been the Bank, under the style of Messrs. Mitchell, Mills, Ward & Co., also of Hailsham, the first Bank which had opened so far westward. The other Banks were Messrs. Tilden, Shadwell, Hilder, Harvey & Gill, at 90, High Street, and Messrs. Breeds, Farncombe, Breeds & Wenham, 85, High Street. All these Banks existed from the latter part of the 18th century. While Powell's Library, after its close, became the Bell Vue Hotel.
[ 185 ]

Page193-Marine Parade - 1824 -Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By W. G. Moss.
Marine Parade and Barry's Library, 1824. (West End of George Street. Afterwards Diplock's Library.)
The Flag is flying from the Battery.

Page193- Barrys Library - 1920 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Photo - F. J. Parsons, Ltd - Present Site of Barry's Library, Marine Parade 1920.
The name of Herrmann has disappeared. It is now a Restaurant.

[ 186 ]
Page194-Hastings from the East Cliff c1810-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By W. Daniels. Lent by Mr. W. E. Brown.
Hastings from the East Cliff.
Probable date 1810. Shewing the Fishing Boats and a Vessel on the Stade, a bit of Old Hastings, East Parade and The Fort, with guns mounted, Ruins of the Castle, and the Coast to Galley Hill, before the Modern Hastings or St. Leonards was built.

Page194-Barrys Library - c1791 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

From Barry's Guide. In the Author's Collection.
Barry's Library, Marine Parade, 1791. (The Fashionable Promenade of the time.)

[ 187 ]Here is given Moss's view of the site of Pelham Place, Crescent, Breeds Place, and Castle Street, described on page 188

Page195-Pelham Place - Gunner Ross Cottage - c1821 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By W. G. Moss.
Part of Pelham Place, Gunner Ross's Cottage, and Castle Cliff, 1824.

Page195- Pelham Place - c1920 -Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Pelham Place 1920. F. J. Parsons, Ltd.
(And the Hippodrome, now the Royal Cinema de Luxe, or Picture Palace.)

[ 188 ]The foreshore in the view given on page 186 was at the date a mere waste of stone-beach with here and there a few " shanties." The land was let by the Corporation to Mr. Edward Milward and probably represents the first Bathing Establishment, which preceded Mr. Barry's Warm Baths. When Moss published his History in 1824, only seven houses of Pelham Place had been erected. He states (p. 145), " Pelham Place consists of a handsome range of modern houses, situated beneath the Chalk-cliffs and the end of the Marine Parade (of which it forms the Western extremity) and is one of those improvements in building which marks the rise of Hastings within the last few years, as well as a proof of the beneficial consequences of the Act of Parliament of the first year of his present Majesty, for paving and otherwise improving the town, and which gives to the Commissioners acting under it, much more ample powers for this purpose than any they were vested with under former Acts. The present buildings form part of a larger design now in progress of execution, with particulars of which we have been obligingly favoured by Mr. Kay, the Architect, and a representation of which, as intended when completed, is given in the annexed etching." This view in Moss shows the complete scheme, viz., 10 houses in Pelham Place, Pelham Crescent, St. Mary's Church with a high tower and dome, and Pelham Arcade. Most of these were well on towards completion in 1825. They were built by order of the owner, the Earl of Chichester. Pelham Place took a long time to build, as some writers state that they were commenced in 1820. It was in 1812 that the extension of the Marine Parade was carried out at a cost of about £1,300, the ground was before this time outside the Western boundary of Hastings, but shortly afterwards came under the jurisdiction of the Commissioners under their new Act. The Fort or Battery was erected about 1760, and mounted with six twelve pounder guns. The Government engineer was a Mr. Green, who married a daughter of Mr. John Collier, of Old Hastings House. Pelham Place soon became an important centre of the modern town, and the Royal Marine Hotel was formed by converting one or two of the houses. The landlord's name was Arthur Deudney, and after him Charles Pope Hutchings, under whose management it became famous. The Empress Eugenie of France made it her residence when exiled from her country in 1870, during Mr. Hutchings' time. After his death the Royal Marine passed through several hands, until the promoters of the Hippodrome purchased the property to erect the fine building shown in the view Their purchase of the Hotel included all its furniture and fitting which were dispersed by auction by the writer, the sale occupying a whole week. The plate consisted entirely of Old Sheffield and realized very high prices. The fittings and some souvenirs from the Empress's rooms found eager buyers. The Sale went into four figures. Sixty years ago, No. 9, Pelham Place was Beeching and Scrivens Bank. " In 1823 the Castle Cliff bordering the road leading [ 189 ]to the Priory has been sold for £2,110, and when cut down will afford space for ten houses." Brett's History.

The small house in Moss's view, page 187, was Pelham Cottage, and a century ago was occupied by Master Gunner Ross, father of the late Mr. Thomas Ross, Politician, Councillor, Alderman, Mayor, Justice of the Peace, Chairman of Guardians, Archaeologist, Drawing Master, and Author and Publisher of Hastings Guides, from 6, Castle Street and Claremont. His father, Master Gunner Ross, had charge of the Fort or Battery at East Parade, was before this a soldier who had seen much foreign service. A Scotchman by birth. He was granted by the Government a 99 years' lease of this Cottage

Page197-Pelham Arcade c1825 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. Chas. Dawson, F.S.A.
Pelham Arcade, under Pelham Crescent 1825. (Original drawn on Stone, by Hullmandel.)

and it is still held by the family. This old house known as Ross's Cottage, was practically rebuilt when the Hippodrome was erected. In 1840, the Emperor of the French, then Prince Louis Napoleon, lodged here for a short time, within a few feet of the same apartments at the Marine Hotel his Empress occupied when exiled in 1870, after the disaster at Sedan. [ 190 ]Pelham Arcade, the site of which was cut out of the Rock, and formerly a stonemason's yard, was part of the Earl of Chichester's scheme, already referred to, designed by Mr. Kay. It was a fashionable rendezvous, where Musical Soirees were held nightly, a Bazaar, and fitted up with two rows of shops with a glass roof.

A visitor writing from Hastings to his friend in London a series of letters " From a Cosmopolite to a Valetudinarian," published by Wooll, 5, High Street, Hastings, about 1825, describes his visit here thus : " When near the end of the Parade we heard some music which proceeded from the Bazaar. We joined the circle that was walking round, while others sat and enjoyed the music. A young lady from the Theatre Royal sang an old song, which was received with applause and encored. We next joined in a game with cards, paid a shilling each, when the cards were dealt out, and whoever got the knave of clubs had a prize.

We next went to the Library (Barry's) and heard a duetto from two young ladies. There were several billiard tables here." The Pelham Arcade was leased to a family named Moor, who held it about 70 years. The property was put up to auction a few months ago.

Above the Arcade is the Church of St. Mary-in-the-Castle, consecrated in 1828. It was built by the Earl of Chichester, the possessor of the Castle and Manor. The first stone was laid by the Countess of Chichester in 1825. It was consecrated by Dr. Carr, Bishop of Chichester. The Church is of a semi-circular form, with a gallery, and has seating accommodation for about 1,300, it is raised considerably above the roadway, having the Castle Cliff, which was cut away for the purpose, at its back. The first Incumbent was the Rev. W. Wallinger in 1828, who lived at Castle Down House in Wallinger's Walk, named after him.

Then, by a strange coincidence, the next Incumbent was named Rev. W. T. Marychurch, 1834; the Rev J. S. Jenkinson, 1835, followed by that famous preacher, the Rev. Thomas Vores, 1841 to 1875, then by the Rev. F. Whitfield, then Rev. W. T. H. Wilson. The present Minister is the Rev. R. Talbot.

Just opposite Pelham Crescent was the bed of an old harbour and a place called the "Condemned Hole," in which smuggling craft were placed and destroyed when taken by the Crown. The next view shows the former site of this.

The original of the view on page 191 is dated January 1st, 1822, published for "R. Ackerman's Views of Hastings." This is two years anterior to Moss's view, and is proof of the fact already stated that Pelham Place and Crescent took a long time to build. The first seven houses in Pelham Place in this view are shown in Moss's History, 1824, therefore two years elapsed without a move being made in this locality.

Breeds Place next claims attention. It consists of 10 houses. These were built by Mr. James Lansdell, a builder from Battle, who [ 191 ]married a Miss Breeds, and perpetuated her name. They bear the date of 1828. No. 5 and 6 was once a " Royal Residence," for in 1833 they were occupied by Prince George of Cumberland, afterwards King of Hanover, and during his residence was visited by the Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria (our late Queen), then staying at the new town of St. Leonards. During Prince George's stay he laid the foundation stone of the Market Hall, George Street. The house (now in one) still bear traces of its original character in the entrance hall, and the fine dining hall is beautifully wainscotted. During the 21 years' occupation of Mr. F. Gildersleeves as a Boarding Establishment, who named it " Stanton House Royal," he placed the fine mirrors in the entrance hall, which reflected the moulded

Page199-Site of Pelham Place Crescent and Breeds Place c1822 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By J. Gendall Lent by Mr. A . G. Fidler.
The Site of Pelham Place, Crescent, Breeds Place, and Castle Street, Dated 1822.

ceiling, producing a grand vista resembling an avenue. These were removed on his relinquishing occupation in 1909. It has now become the headquarters of the Y.M.C.A., and the Royal Arms are placed over the entrance, and is admirably adapted to this growing institution. Opposite Breeds Place is Caroline Place, where the Corporation has made a splendid open promenade on the spot which was formerly Ransom and Ridley's Shipyard, represented in the previous view, where ships were built of considerable tonnage, for use in all parts of the world. Both these partners occupied houses in York Buildings. Next is Castle Street, the site of which was [ 192 ]carved out of that part of the Castle Cliff called the Gun Garden, which is seen in the following views.

Mr. Thomas Ross, who had been apprenticed to a Mr. Waghorne house painter, decorator, and grainer, commenced his career, and probably acquired his knowledge of drawing, which enabled him to become an efficient draughtsman and a fair artist. He afterwards opened the shop at 6, Castle Street, for the sale of pictures, stationery, and fancy goods, from which address he issued the first edition of Ross's Hastings and St. Leonards Guide in 1835, printed by W. Ransom, 60, George Street, with one view of the avenue in Old Lon-

Page200-Relic of Coaching Days-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

OLD COACHING BILLS. 1893. Lent by Mr. J. Parsons.
"A Relict of the Coaching Days."
This was discovered during the rebuilding of Mr. Hickman's premises, No. 14, Castle Street, now a butcher's shop, when a photograph was taken from which this is reproduced. The premises were once used as a Booking Office for the Coaches.

don Road, from his own drawing, and a plan of the Environs of Hastings. His guide frequently augmented, as the town progressed, ran into thirteen editions. Mr. Ross was once in partnership with [ 193 ]the late Mr. Thomas Mann, as printsellers, at Claremont, where The " Black Cat " Tea Rooms now are. He became an Antiquarian, and carried out extensive excavations on the East Hill and at the ruins of Bulverhythe Church. The Museum contains a Ross Collection of great and varied interest.

Page201-View across Priory Valley to Hastings Castle c1772-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present..png

Lent by the late Mr. Chas. Dawson, F.S.A.
Hastings Castle, Sussex.
Published March 1st, 1772, by B. Godfrey, shewing the opening of Priory Valley. The dark long object like a hedge, the late Mr. Chas. Dawson believed, represents an entrenchment.

Page201-Hastings Castle from Priory Farm - 1790 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by the late Mr. Chas. Dawson, F.S.A.
The Ruins of the Castle from the West. Shewing Cart Lodge, and Haymakers, on the Priory Farm. Date about 1790. Artist unknown.

[ 194 ]
Page202-Hastings Castle, Shewing the Gun Garden and Lime Kilns.-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Marianne Johnson. Hastings Castle, Shewing the Gun Garden and Lime Kilns. Date about 1815.

Page202-Castle Rock and Castle Lane with view of Condemned Hole-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

By H.H., 1807. [Lent by Mr. Thos. Parkin]
The Castle Rock and Castle Lane, shewing " The Condemned Hole."

[ 195 ]Leaving Castle Street, is " The Priory," as the busiest part of Modern Hastings was called a hundred years ago when all beyond the Castle Cliffs was open country. Wellington Square was the Priory Field, looking down on the Priory Farm on the west, the Brook Meadows, when " The White Rock " projected so far into the sea as to shut out the view westward, when the Alexandra Park was ozier beds and hop-gardens, and Old Roar, Gensing Valley, and the Priory Farm were places to which inhabitants of the Old Town resorted for excursions and picnics, and beyond which the Corporation had no jurisdiction. Such are the changes which time has wrought. Several views of the former site of Wellington Square at various periods, lent by different collectors, are here given.
Page203-Hastings Castle from the Priory-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by the late Mr. J. Foster.
Hastings Castle from the Priory.

This view of the Castle from the west, was drawn by J. Nixon, and engraved by Harding, and published on January 1st, 1800, by Edward Harding, 98, Pall Mall. The hillocks on the left were part of the present site of Wellington Square, before the Lime Kilns were built, and formed a portion of the Priory Farm. The water with the boat in it was the Priory Stream. On showing this view to Mr. Charles Dawson, F.S.A., he expressed an opinion that the round piece of water was a saltpan, and similar to that in his view on page 193. [ 196 ]
Page204-Lime Kilns on the site of Wellington Square and Castle circa 1815-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Marianne Johnson. Lent by the Museum Committee.
The Lime Kilns on the Site of Wellington Square, and the Castle, 1815.

Page204-Castle Hotel - Bohemia House can be seen in the background c1816-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. T. Parkin.
The Castle Hotel, Wellington Square, 1816, Shewing Bohemia House in the Distance

This hotel has now been modernised and greatly improved. [ 197 ]Wellington Square, as will be seen in the foregoing views, was a hill sloping down from the Castle, as it still slopes, though at a less incline. In Powell's Guide and Directory of Lodging Houses, 1819, he mentions 14 houses in York Buildings, 5 at the back of York Buildings, now called York Gardens, the Castle Hotel, 12 (now 21) in Wellington Place, (afterwards called Wellington Square), 14 in Blucher Place, (now Russell Street), 6 Castle Cottages, and Beach Cottages, 16 houses scattered between the White Rock and Marine Baths (near the Russian Gun). This locality is now Pelham Street, Denmark Place, and Caroline Place. Moss's History, 1824, mentions the Castle Hotel as having been recently built, and states : " Wellington Place adjoins the Castle Hotel, and consists of a double range of very handsome

Page205-Wellington Square 1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Wellington Square, 1920. (Shewing the Castle Hotel.)
F. J. Parsons, Ltd.

houses, forming two sides of a square with an oval plantation in front. The views of the surrounding country, Beachy Head, and the sea, from this spot, are particularly picturesque." By this it would appear from its incompleteness it was not yet called a Square.

It is on record that the Castle Hotel was opened by Mr. Emary in 1 816. This land was purchased from Mr. Milward in 1815 by the Banking Firm of Thomas Breeds, Farncombe, Boykett Breeds and Wenham, for a large sum of money, and a rich deposit of brick earth was discovered, and bricks were made, some of which were used in the building of the Castle Hotel. The same firm were [ 198 ]

Page206-Priory Bridge 18thC-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. E. A. Notcutt.
A Very Rare View of the First Priory Bridge (a wooden one) and the White Rock, 18th Century.
This Bridge marked the western boundary of the Hastings Corporation. The waste land with buildings was the "America Ground."

Page206-Second Priory Bridge - 1831-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

From the Author's Collection.
Second Priory Bridge (a stone one). 1831. (Now the site of the Albert Memorial.)

[ 199 ]owners of the Lime Kilns ; lime-burning being an extensive industry at the time.

The Baptist Chapel was built there by a Mr. Fletcher, in 1838, as a thank offering for the recovery of his daughter from a serious illness. The houses were readily let at rents ranging from £80 to £100 a year, and were largely occupied by Doctors and other well-to-do residents. The Castle Hotel with spacious stabling ran down to Meadow Road, and was for many years carried on by the late Mr. George Gaze, who sold a portion of the site to the Castle Hotel

Page207-York Buildings and Albert Memorial 1873-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

From the Author's Collection.
Albert Memorial and York Buildings before the Shops were Added. 1873.

Co., Ltd., and built the Gaiety Theatre and Gaiety Hotel on the Queen's Road frontage. The Theatre is also in the hands of a Limited Company. At the north-east corner of the Square is an opening leading to the West Hill and Hastings Castle, and going in this direction was the site of the ancient Church of "Saint Andrew before the Castle," the ruins of which, according to [ 200 ]Horsfield's "Sussex," stood about 1820. The old St. Mary's Cemetery is close by.

The Memorial Clock Tower is on the site of the former Priory Bridge. The Old York Hotel, formerly kept by Councillor James Hayter, was purchased by the Corporation for street improvements at this busy corner.

On reference to the maps of Hastings of 1291 and 1746, will be seen the Old Haven, which is shown flowing through the Priory Valley now the Queen's Road and Alexandra Park, and mentioned in Cole's "Antiquities of Hastings," as the Portus Novus of the Roman period. It was fed from the Old Roar stream which still runs through the Alexandra Park and carried to the sea through two

Page208-Albert Memorial - C1900 - Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Photo. F.J. Parsons, Ltd.
The Albert Memorial, before the Trams came.
The former site of the Priory Bridge. (Now the busiest spot in Hastings.)

culverts opposite the Queen's Hotel. This small stream was open to the sea until the Buckshole Reservoir was constructed and the last Priory Bridge disappeared after 1835 or thereabouts. The greater part of the Priory Valley consisted of meadows and farm-lands owned by Sir Godfrey Webster, of Battle Abbey, from whom they passed to Mr. Edward Milward, in 1812, for the sum of £30,000, being then in the tenure and occupation of John Phillips, his under tenants or assigns. The Priory Farm Estate is mentioned in Barry's Guide of 1797, as belonging to Sir Horace Mann. The first [ 201 ]
Page209-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

[ 202 ]mention of building operations in the Valley is Meadow Cottages and Blucher Place, in Powell's Guide of 1819. Soon after this, Meadow Road, from Albert Road to the Bedford Hotel, now Nos. 10 to 35, Queen's Road, were built. The only plan of the Valley the author has been able to obtain is here shown, and is part of the Sayer-Milward Estate, which was sold by auction, the purchasers' names being given in the margin. In 1823 Queen's Road, from the Post Office to the Theatre was called Meadow Cottages. The site of the Gas Works and Waterworks Road was the property of the Countess Waldegrave from her first husband, Mr. Edward Milward, junior, from whom she inherited it. On the site of the Gas Works was Water Mill House, also shown in the Collier Plan. This old Water Mill was worked by the Priory Stream, for what purpose is not related. It was removed to build the Gas Works which were opened in 1830. The Gas Company had Offices at 45, High Street, in 1852, when Mr. Will Ginner was Clerk. St. Andrew's Church, in Queen's Road was consecrated November 30th, 1870, the late Rev. George Hodges, the father of the late Canon Alfred Hodges and Archdeacon George Hodges, of St. James, Bury St. Edmunds, was the first Vicar. The Church was built by the Misses Sayer, descendants of the Milward family, who resided for many years at Parade House, George Street, now occupied by Dr. W. Daunt. At the bottom of Queen's Road was once a railway viaduct, or tunnel, generally known as the St. Andrew's Archway, which was removed in 1898, mainly through the exertions of the late Alderman Tuppenney, who initiated the movement in the Council, which resulted in the final determination to replace the "hideous hole" by the erection of the noble iron viaduct now spanning Queen's Road. Alderman Tuppenney was elected Mayor that year, a fitting reward for his achievement.

The Blacklands district beyond the Archway has become a populous and popular residential one, the laying out and building of which is within the recollection of the present older inhabitants; Blacklands Farm, where Elphinstone Road is, named after Sir Howard Elphinstone, the owner of the land ; St. Helen's Road, once part of the farm, will be remembered by the first house built there by the late Alderman Thomas Ross, one of the historians of Hastings, and called Ross's Folly. He was thought mad to retire to this spot, but lived to see it peopled, and was, with the late Mr. H. M. Baker, one of the first Churchwardens of Blacklands Church, where Canon Alfred Hodges laboured for over 30 years. " Old Wyatt," as the owner was known amongst residents, whose large white house stood in Mount Pleasant Road, was a conspicuous landmark 40 years ago. He was the owner of considerable land in the immediate neighbourhood. Mr. H. E. Wyatt was formerly a London Brewer. He got into trouble for trying to stop up public footpaths, and did net love the Public Authorities over much for stepping in to prevent him.

When the old Rock Fair ceased to be held at White Rock, he found [ 203 ]accommodation for the showmen who came here annually, in a field now Manor Road, where a fair was held some years till it gradually ceased. Mr. Wyatt died about 50 years ago, and his widow and children resided there for some years after. At the death of Mrs. Wyatt they removed from the town, and the residence stood until it became almost a ruin. The old house was sold by auction some time ago and was acquired by a local builder, who demolished it, and the ground is now covered by modern houses. It contained some costly sculptured marble fireplaces, and other fittings, which were dispersed by auction about 20 years ago, and realized upwards of £800, the marble mantel pieces going to America. Its site is now occupied by the residence of Dr. Carnock Smith and adjacent houses.

Page211-Alexandra Park - circa 1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Photo F. J. Parsons, Ltd
View in Alexandra Park at the Present Time.

The beautiful Alexandra Park was created by a celebrated Scotch landscape gardener, who absorbed the Newgate and Shornden Woods, adapting them to the formation of pleasure grounds. The original and small portion near the Queen's Road entrance was known as Shirley's Pond, and when first opened to the public, was called St. Andrew's Gardens. They were extended to Buckshole and a path carried through Shornden Wood out to Bohemia. On June 26th, 1882, Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales opened the extension during the Mayoralty of the late Mr. W. F. Revill. Its lovely woodland dells, flower beds, lawns, lakes, and the stream running through all, have now made it one of the loveliest Parks on the South Coast, containing an area of about 77 acres. The Royal visits were commemorated by planting two trees marked by tablets. [ 204 ]The beautiful district of St. Helen's Wood which was opened up some. years ago, when several auction sales of the land took place at the Kite's Nest Hotel, but the development has not been so rapid as was anticipated by the promoters.

Page212-Christchurch Blacklands c 1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Christ Church, Blacklands, as it now is.

This Church was beautified by the late Mrs. Todd, in memory of her late husband, who formerly lived at Oakwood, St. Helen's Park. It was built in 1877, and consecrated July 14th, 1881, the Tower and Bells being added in 1891.

Emerging from St. Helen's Wood the Borough Cemetery is reached, and close by is St. Helen's Church, Ore. Turning down the Old Ore Lane, now called Elphinstone Road, opposite the Cemetery Gates, just off the road, are the ruins of the Old Church of St. Helen's, Ore.

In 1794, at the time of his death, General James Murray, the first Governor of Quebec, who married a Miss Collier, daughter of Mr. John Collier, was Lord of the Manor of Ore, and was buried in Ore Churchyard, and there was a monument to his memory in the Church.

Brett says : "I was sometime in the choir of Ore Church, along with Alexander, James, and Benjamin Giles, uncles of the Organist, William Giles, and Mrs. Hermitage, nee Dinah Giles, (grandmother of the present Messrs. Hermitage). I remember its [ 205 ]

Page213-Kites Nest Cottage-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. Arthur Watson
Kite's Nest Cottage, Blacklands.
From a Water Colour by Mr. A. Watson. This thatched Cottage formerly stood upon the site of the Bungalow, in St. Helen's Park Road, and was occupied by a dairy-man named Bates. The spot is now covered by modern houses.

Page213-Ore Place-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. Thos. Parkin.
Ore Place, near Old Ore Church. By G. Rowe, published by P. M. Powell, Hastings. Large additions have been made and Ore Place is occupied as a Jesuits' College.

[ 206 ]being enlarged in 1841, the same year Ore Place was purchased by General Sir Howard Elphinstone. I also remember the last service performed in the old Church in 1870, previous to its being disused, when a large number of children were baptised. The late Rev. Dr. Fearon laboured there for many years, and lived at the Rectory, in Ore Lane." His name is perpetuated in Fearon Road, called after him. The ruins of the Church are almost hidden by the trees that surround it.

The Borough Cemetery is close by. It was opened in 1856, and the first body buried in it was that of a man named Smith, who was contractor for the Earl of Chichester, for cutting down and clearing the Castle Cliffs for building purposes.

Page214-Old St Helens Church circa 1817-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Lent by Mr. A . F. Wood.
The Village Church, Ore, and House. By H. Morton, 1817. Now in Ruins.

"In 1269, John of Gaunt received the Honour of Hastings and built a house adjoining Ore Church," Cole's Antiquities, p. 95. This will be found on the Map of 1291. It is recorded in Horsfield's " Sussex " that " it was built by John O'Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and afterwards converted into a religious house." After General Sir Howard Elphinstone's widow's death, the house was purchased by a Mr. T. Pannell, who resold it in 1863 to Mr. T. B. Spalding, by whom the old house was practically re-built ; but in one of the windows were the Arms of John of Gaunt. It is now a very extensive house and grounds used as a College for Jesuits and Students. Its position is on an eminence and commands most [ 207 ]

Page215-Town Hall c1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

The Present Town Hall, Queen's Road. Opened September 7th, 1881, by the late Mr. W. F. Revill, Mayor.

Page215-Gaiety Cinema c1920-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

Photo F. J. Parsons Ltd.
The Gaiety Theatre, Opened August, 1882. (Opposite the Town Hall.)

[ 208 ]beautiful land and sea views, and it is seen from all parts of the neighbourhood, especially from the circular route on the trams.

In the Queen's Road is the General Post Office, the Town Hall and the Gaiety Theatre. During late years, Queen's Road has gradually become a busy commercial thoroughfare.

Returning to the Memorial and carrying one's mind back no longer than a century ago, one could have stood on the old wooden structure marked on the early maps, -"Priory Bridge," and looked up the Priory Valley without seeing anything beyond the Water Mill House down the Brooks, and a few old farm buildings scattered about the Priory Farm, and the Priory Stream, meandering through the valley where the Cricket Ground is, and running westward along the present site of Pelham Street ; and on the western side of the valley, the Priory Farm, and White Rock, jutting far into the sea.

On the site of the Farm was an Old Priory of the Holy Trinity, founded in 1191, and destroyed by an inundation of the sea about 1430. Relics of this Priory were discovered in 1796 when a pond was drained off, and consisted of enormous sluice gates and timbers of huge dimensions.

A lot of old shanties on the America ground, fully described elsewhere, were beyond the jurisdiction of the Corporation.

The site of the present railway station, Havelock Road, and Cambridge Road, as far as Priory Street, were then on a level with the sea, and once the bed of the Old Haven. Robertson Street and Terrace, Carlisle Parade, Trinity Street, and Harold Place had not been dreamt of. The Priory Farm was tenanted by a Mr. Foster, and was a favourite resort for picnics. The writer has spoken with several inhabitants, now past the meridian of life, who used to stay there when youngsters for a change.

Naturally, like St. Leonards, this part of the Borough has undergone marvellous changes. The writer of Diplock's Guide of 1846 says : "South-east of the Priory Farm is what is called the Government Ground, which has been considered as offering the most eligible site for a harbour or docks. Several surveys have been made at different times and plans drawn out ; the first, by the late Sir John Rennie, civil engineer, in 1816, and in 1837 by Mr. Cubitt and Mr. Brooks, civil engineer, for the site opposite the Government Ground, at the estimated expense of £150,000. This proposed harbour is shewn in the Panorama of Hastings. [ 209 ]

Priory Farm - Hastings of Bygone Days.png

By J. Barnard. Lent bv Mr. E. A. Notcutt.
The Old Priory Farm, Hastings. (Now Cambridge Gardens.)
From the Author's Collection.

Page217-White Rock-Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present.png

The White Rock from the East Side. Removed about 1834.

[ 210 ]


I am indebted to the Controller of His Majesty's Stationery Office for his permission to reproduce the Official Plan of the Derelict Lands at Hastings, and the Report of the Commissioners of His Majesty's Woods, Forests, and Land Revenues, to the Government, of the steps taken to determine by Act of Parliament the ownership of this waste land with the view of clearing the ground. This part of modern Hastings has undergone greater changes than any other spot in the Borough. It was left a waste by the reflux of the sea, and was outside the jurisdiction of the Corporation of Hastings. It may be defined as the present site now covered by Harold Place, the Queen's Hotel, Robertson Terrace, Carlisle Parade, Robertson Street, Trinity Street, and Claremont, and formed the mouth of the Old Haven depicted in the Map of Hastings of 1746, shewn on another page. The inhabitants of Hastings took possession without leave, licence, or interference, and built houses, shanties, warehouses, and other erections, for which they paid no rent or consideration. The result was that frequent tumults arose, and the place became a " No Man's Land," as it was sometimes called. The Corporation approached the Government to take some steps to get rid of the nuisance.

This was ultimately done, then followed the development of building operations and the erection of the fine streets, terraces and parade, already mentioned. The series of views are arranged so as to shew the reader the gradual changes effected in this locality from 1834 to the present day.

Official Report (published by permission).

" Extract from the Seventh Report of the Commissioners of His Majesty's Woods, Forests and Land Revenues ; being the First Annual Report of the said Commissioners."
" In obedience to an Act passed in the 10th year of the Reign of His Majesty George IV., instituted k An Act to consolidate and amend the Laws relating to the Management and Improvement of His Majesty's Woods, Forests, Parks and Cha?es, of the Land Revenue of the Crown within the Survey of the Exchequer in England, etc' "
[These Derelict Lands, which will be seen by the annexed Plan, included that portion of the Coast line from the West bank of the Priory Water (West of present Memorial to Claremont) and described in the Report to the Lords Commissioners. These Lands were commonly called " The America Ground," "No Man's Land," or "The Desert," and formed the present site of Harold Place, Carlisle Parade, Robertson Terrace, Robertson Street, Trinity Street and Claremont, and was for ages part of the bed of The Haven and [ 211 ]
Plan of the Original Site of Robertson Street, Robertson Terrace, Carlisle Parade, Trinity Street, Claremont and Harold Place.

[ 212 ]shewn on the Corporation Map of 1746, and said to have been navigable up to Hole Farm. ]

The following is an extract from the Report issued from the Office of Woods and Forests :
" Office of Woods and Forests, "
April 14th, 1829.

" My Lords,--We beg to transmit to Your Lordships herewith Copy of a Letter we lately received from Mr. Green, our Solicitor, inclosing two bills, which were some time since transmitted to him by Mr. Miller, of Bedford Row, Solicitor ; one amounting to £43 18s., in respect of business done in the investigation of a Claim which he had been advised to institute on behalf of the Crown to certain lands at Rye, and the other for £27 8s., for his professional assistance in establishing the title of the Crown to a considerable tract of Derelict Land near Hastings, which has within these few years been taken possession of by a number of persons who have erected a great many Houses and other Buildings thereon, without any authority from Your Lordships, or from this Department, for so doing, or paying any rent to the Crown for the ground in acknowledgment of the Crown's title thereto.

" The last-mentioned lands adjoin to the town of Hastings, under the Western Cliff, and occupy a space of nearly a quarter of a Mile in length and 500 yards in width, which from its situation and appearance was, without doubt, formerly part of the seashore, upon which the sea in its ordinary tides used to flow and re-flow, the Cliff, immediately under which it is situated bearing evident marks of having formed the ancient barrier against the sea, and of having been in former times overflowed by the daily and ordinary tides, but that by the accumulation of the shingles, the sea has gradually receded, leaving the ground in question waste, and for very many years totally un-productive.

" The great increase, however, which has taken place in the population of the town of Hastings within these twenty years having created a great demand for Building Ground in the neighbourhood of the town, the land was gradually encroached upon by the erection of Buildings thereon, some under leases, or with the permission of Lord Chichester, who claimed the whole of the ground as owner or lord under a grant thereof in the reign of James the First, and others, with the sanction of the Corporation of Hastings, who claimed that part of the land which lies within the liberty of the town, under a Grant made to the Corporation in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and small rents or acknowledgments were paid to his Lordship, and to the Corporation, by several of the parties by whom the Buildings were erected.

" Having some years since, received information that by neither of these Grants was the ground in question conveyed either to Lord Chichester, or to the Corporation of Hastings, but that the whole would be found to belong to the Crown, we laid a case in the 

References & Notes

  1. It must be borne in mind that much of Dawson's work on Hastings Castle was found to be plagiarism - Transcriber
  1. Mr. Stell, in the preface to his Guide of 1794, says : "It is now six years since I opened a Circulating Library in this Town, during which time the constant enquiry of every stranger has been, 'Have you any History or other account of Hastings. ' A late much-lamented author, on receiving the usual negative, replied, 'Why don't you write one ?' Thus encouraged, I determined to attempt the task." Barry's Guide of 1797 was a reprint of this, with the same title page, but without the preface. It is to be noticed that Barry uses the final "s" in Hastings. I am inclined to think Barry took over Stell's Library. Author.
  2. Mr. Charles Lane Sayer, who compiled " The Collier Letters," a private work in 2 vols., forming the family letters of John Collier, Esquire, from the beginning of the 18th Century until his death, and embracing a most interesting description of the social, political and commercial life in Hastings during that period, from which Mr. Sayer has so kindly allowed the author to make extracts for the purpose of this book. Mr. John Collier lived at Old Hastings House, High Street, Hastings.
  3. The piles of the Elizabethan Fier which were visible for centuries opposite East Parade are now covered by the beach and may never be seen again.
  4. Here Mr. Collier refers to the scheme previously mentioned for supplying the town with water from the Bourne Stream, which was partly carried out (as appears from this letter) but afterwards continued. The heads of the agreement between Henry Carleton (Mayor of Hastings, 1706 and 1714) and Mr. Collier of the one part and Robert Rosam (the contractor of the work) of the other part, are with the correspondence. An action for trespass was brought against Messrs. Collier and Carleton, by two discontented inhabitants, and the scheme was for some reason discontinued.) [See chapter on the Bourne Stream . Author.
  5. Note. There are three distinct houses referred to here ' His dwelling ' house (Old Hastings House), Torresfield (now Torfield House), and Bayley's House and Garden. This latter would seem to refer to the traditional residence of Titus Oates, several views of which are shown in the article on Titus Oates. It was once occupied by Mr. Edward Milward. Author.