Page:Item 7 1858.pdf/16

From Historical Hastings
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The Archaeologist’s Rejoinder
Sir, I see that Mr Ross, in replying to my letter, which appeared in your paper of the 22nd of January, infers, from the passage I quoted from Stell’s old Hastings Guide, that the ruins of St Leonards Chapel[Notes 1] therein alluded to were those situated a little to the westward of White Rock Villa. This, however, is a mistake which I feel the more bound to set right, as it appears to have originated in my own omission to give the whole of what Stell says upon the point. The entire passage runs thus: Pass the Bathing Room under the castle cliffs, and over the White Rock, a little beyond which are the remains of a ruin at the edge of the cliff, supposed to have been St Leonards Chapel. About a quarter of a mile further on at a place called the Old Woman’s Tap is the rock on which it is supposed William the Conqueror dined after his landing. It hangs over a pool of water, and still retains the name of the “Conqueror’s Table”. It is quite clear from this description that the ruins referred to were those which stood near the present site of the Saxon Hotel, from whence to the “Old Woman’s Tap”, now covered by the Victoria Hotel, the distance is very nearly that stated by Stell, viz about a quarter of a mile. As to Mr Ross’s observation that he cannot see what claim St Leonards can have to any religious house built in St Mary Magdalen’s, I have only to observe that I made no allusion to any such claim or to any other part connected with the subject than the simple archaeological view of it, the consideration of which, in my opinion, afforded strong grounds for calling on all good churchmen and archaeologists to preserve the name of St Leonards in a locality to which a chapel bearing the name, did, according to tradition, in olden times give sanctity. [Supported also by the name “Chapel Field” on which much of the property eastward of the Archway was built, and by the discovery of human bones when digging for the foundations of such property]. Mr Ross says he cannot think that anyone in the Borough of Hastings has any desire to obliterate the name of St Leonards; and if that observation is intended to apply to the locality in question – the only one referred to by me – it will, doubtless, tend to remove much of the irritation which has been caused by a different impression. The existence of remains of other religious buildings in the vicinity to which he alludes, certainly gives additional interest to the archaeological view of the matter; and if further investigation should bring to light any new information regarding them, it may, perhaps, be some compensation for the less interesting discussions which have lately been forced upon the inhabitants of 
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