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Hastings – Description

From Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 1867

HASTINGS is a large borough, market town, bathing-place, and railway station on the seacoast, near the eastern extremity of Sussex, and is the chief town of the rape which takes its name: it is in the diocese of .Chichester, archdeaconry of Lewes, and deanery of Hastings, situated in 50° 34′ N. lat., and 0° 37′ E. long; distant from London about 63 miles by road and 74 by railway, through Lewes or Tunbridge Wells; but by a railway now in progress, connecting London with Tunbridge in a direct line through Sevenoaks, it will he only 62 miles from London. It has a separate court of quarter sessions, is the chief of the Cinque ports, and constitutes, with the following 13 parishes, the Hastings Poor Law Union, viz.:- All Saints, Fairlight, Guestling, Holy Trinity (or Priory), Ore, Pett, St. Andrew, St. Clement, St. Leonard, St. Mary Bulverhithe, St. Mary-in-the-Castle, St. Mary Magdalen, and St. Michael-on-the-Rock. The union House is in the adjoining parish of Ore, and will contain about 200 inmates.
Hastings returns two members to Parliament, and is a polling place for East Sussex: it consists of the towns of Hastings and St. Leonard’s-on-Sea, and comprises a frontage towards the sea of 2 miles, exclusive of the liberty of Bexhill, and about a mile and a half in depth at the widest part, and an area of about 2,650 acres.

    Pop. 1861.
All Saints 398 3,486
St. Clement 140 4,073
St. Mary-in-the-Castle 243 4,809
Holy Trinity (or Priory) 196 1,683
St. Andrew 19 84
St. Mary Magdalen 395 7,106
St. Leonard 300 1,693
Part of Bexhill (or Sluice) 750  
Part of Ore 60  
St. Michael-on-the-Rock 5 441
St. Mary Bulverhithe 185 68


The old town of Hastings is situated in a valley between two high hills, and the new part runs along the sea-shore, at the base of a range of steep hills, which protect it in a considerable degree from the north and north-east winds: during the winter as well as in the summer, it is a place of great resort for invalids, and is much frequented by visitors for sea bathing and the beauty of its scenery. The fishery is large and increasing; it occupies 150 boats, averaging about 12 tons each, but varying from 5 to 30 tons each. The town is governed by a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors. Petty and special sessions for the Hastings district of the county are held here, and a county court; the district comprises the following places:- Ashburnham, Battle, Bexhill, Brightling, Bulverhithe, Catsfield, Crowhurst, Dallington, Ewhurst, Fairlight, Guestling, Hastings, Hollington, Hove, Hurst Green (part of), Hurstmonceux, Mountfield, Ninfield, Ore, Pevensey, Penhurst, Pett, Robertsbridge, Salehurst, Sedlescomb, St. Leonard’s-on-sea, Wartling, Westfield, and Whatlington.
There is a small market in George-street for provisions open every day, and a corn market, held every Saturday, over it; the fairs are on Whit-Tuesday, the 26th July, and the 23rd November.
The old town of Hastings, which lies in the valley, has a population of about 8,000 persons, and contains the houses of many of the principal resident families: it was the chief seat of trade, which is now, however, more dispersed over the town. Towards the westward the houses are principally built for visitors, with more regularity; and still further westward, leading to St. Leonard’s, large and handsome rows of houses have been built. Another large series of improvements has been carried out on the Crown lands facing the sea, in the Holy Trinity parish, where a great number of elegant houses have been built, and an hotel, with 200 rooms, has been built and called ‘The Queen’s Hotel.’
Hastings has six churches. The living of All Saints is a rectory, annual value £250, without residence, in the gift of, and held by, the Rev. George Alfred Foyster, M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge.
St. Clement’s is a rectory, annual value £250, including residence, in the gift of, and held by, the Rev. Henry Brereton Foyster, M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge. St. Clements’ and All Saints’ were united in 1770, but are now separate.
St. Mary-in-the-Castle is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Earl of Chichester, and held by the Rev. Thomas Vores, M.A., of Wadham College, Oxford.
St. Clement’s, Halton, is a perpetual curacy, annual value £100, with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Chichester, and held by the Rev. John Parkin, M.A.. of Queen’s College, Cambridge.
The Holy Trinity church, which is built upon the site of an ancient monastery of the Black Monks of St. Augustine, consists at present of nave, chancel, and south aisle, to which a tower 120 feet high, will be added as soon as the necessary funds can be raised; the style is Gothic, with open timber roof: the Rev. Thomas Francis Crosse, D.C.L., of Exeter College, Oxford, is the incumbent.
The fishermen’s church is under the East Cliff.
There are chapels for Wesleyans, Independents, Baptists, and other Dissenters, and a Roman Catholic establishment at All Souls, founded in 1834.
The Castle at Hastings was built in the reign of William the Norman, and occupies the site of a more ancient fortress; it is in ruins, and covers an area of about an acre and a half of land: the view from its walls is very interesting, and commands the old and new parts of Hastings: the grounds are open to the public on payment of a small fee. There was formerly a priory, of which scarcely any remains now exist; they are covered by the farm buildings of the Priory farm.
The Town Hall contains a shield brought from Quebec by General Murray; also a list of the bailiffs and mayors of Hastings from A.D. l5OO. The Gaol is in the middle of the town, and will hold about fifteen prisoners.
Hastings is supplied with water by the Local Board of Health; the principal part of the supply is now derived from reservoirs about a mile westward from the town, and from a well near the Priory meadows. Gas is supplied by a private company: the gas works are in the Priory meadows. It has National, Proprietary, and Endowed schools; also a Literary Institution in George-street, a Mechanics’ Institution in the parish of the Holy Trinity, and another at St. Leonards, and abounds with clothing, lying-in, and other charitable institutions.
The Borough Police, which comprises a superintendent (Mr. William Glenister), six sergeants, and twenty men, is under the management of the Council, which also forms the Board of Health. The police station is at the Town Hall.
A Volunteer Fire Brigade was established here in June, 1861, and comprises a superintendent, with a staff of 44 men, which includes a surgeon: they are divided into three sections, each having charge of one engine, the principal station being at the Town Hall, High street: Mr. William Glenistor is the superintendent.
The hotels in Hastings are the Queen’s, Albion, Castle, Marine, Royal Swan, Royal Oak and Havelock; and the principal inns, the Anchor, York, Cutter, Pelham Arms, and King’s Head.
The Hastings and St. Leonard’s Music Hall is a handsome and spacious building, lately erected in the parish of the Holy Trinity.
A little to the east of the Holy Trinity church stands a highly decorated drinking fountain, executed in Portland stone, in a style to correspond with the church: beneath a groined canopy, supported by four marble columns, is a group of the Saviour and the Woman of Samaria, outside of which, at the corners, are figures of the Four Evangelists; above the group rise richly carved crocketed finials; the whole stands on a high and massive square base, affording room for three jets and basins, and the inscriptions, one of which reads thus: “To Sarah, Countess Waldegrave, in grateful commemoration of the constant support by her afforded to the religious and benevolent institutions of the borough and neighbourhood.”
At the junction of several of the leading streets, and near the Queen’s Hotel and the London and County Bank, stands the Albert Memorial, consisting of a handsome Gothic clock tower, raised by public subscription, at a cost of about £600: an excellent illuminated clock, striking the hours and quarters, has been placed in the tower by the Local Board, at a cost of upwards of £200: the tower is 65 feet in height; one of the four sides of the basement is furnished with a drinking fountain, and there are ornamental lamps at each angle. E. A. Heller, Esq., of Liverpool, was the architect.
The town and neighbourhood offer many objects of interest to the antiquary and pedestrian: the former can trace the old walls, which once protected the town on the seaside, and examine the castle, the churches, the Roman remains on the East-hill, and the old houses in the town, in one of which, in All Saints’-street, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell is said to have been born; whilst the latter will delight in the view from Fairlight, which rises to a height of 600 feet above the sea, and from which the coast of France and the Dover cliffs are distinctly seen on a fine day; the Dripping Well, the Lovers’ Seat, and the Govers on the east side of the town; and on the western side, Hollington church, the Old Roar (a waterfall in a wood), and the green lanes of the neighbourhood.
The borough of Hastings, including St. Leonard’s-on-Sea, contained in 1851 a population of 17,011, and 23,441 in 1861, and now probably contains at least 30,000.

St. Leonard’s dates its origin from 1828: it contains an archery ground, public gardens, libraries, baths, assembly-rooms, and a commodious railway station belonging to the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company. There was scarcely a house in the whole parish of St. Leonard’s until 1828, when James Burton, Esq., of the Regent’s-park, London conceived and carried out the plan of forming this now fashionable watering-place, and for that purpose purchased the beautiful valley from the Eversfield estate. On the 1st of March, 1828, the first stone was laid, and buildings rose rapidly. In 1832 Mr. Burton obtained an Act of Parliament for “better watching, lighting, &c., &c., the town of St. Leonard’s-on- Sea.”
The church of St. Leonard, situate on the Marina, is a plain Gothic structure, with nave, chancel and square tower, and was erected in 1831, for which Mr. Burton also obtained an Act of Parliament, the ancient parish church having, it is supposed, been washed away by the sea. The living is in the gift of the Rev. W. Tilson Marsh, M.A., and held by the Rev. Samuel Hadden Parkes, M.A., of Jesus College, Cambridge.
Christ church, situated in the London-road, is in the Gothic style, consisting of nave, sanctuary, north aisle, and bell turret, and will seat about 600, all free: it is in the gift of, and held by, the Rev. Charles Lyndhurst Vaughan, M.A.
St. Mary Magdalen church is situated in the Norman-road-east: it consists of nave, chancel, side aisles, and square tower, in the Early English Style: it is in the gift of the Bishop of Chichester, and held by the Rev. William Wheler Hume, M.A.
The Episcopal Chapel of St. Matthew, Tivoli, was built by the Rev. John Cumberlege, B.D., and is his private property: it was opened on the 16th of May, 1861.
The Congregational church, which was opened in October, 1863, stands at the junction of the London road (leading from St. Leonard’s to Battle and London), and the Pevensey road, St. Leonard’s; it is a Gothic building, which cost about £9,000; Messrs. Habershon, Spalding & Brock, 37 Bedford square, London, were the architects; it is a very handsome building of a clear sandstone from Ore, near Hastings (the stone was the gift of Thomas Spalding, Esq., of Ore Place, Hastings); the outside is rough rustic; the windows are of Bath stone and a beautiful clear stained glass: the nave is 91 feet by 29 feet, and the roof is supported by five iron columns, from which spring timber arches, the spandrils being filled in with cut tracery, and two aisles 91 feet by 11 feet each, clerestory lights and slides for ventilation; a beautiful gallery and platform or pulpit at the northern end of the church of wainscot: the roof is open timbered, stained dark oak and varnished, and looks remarkably light, elegant and airy. The seats, also of stained and varnished deal, will accommodate 850. The church has a double front entrance through the tower, which with the spire is 130 feet high. Underneath the church is a large schoolroom, 80 feet by 51 feet, used often as a lecture hall. Minister, the Rev. Andrew Reed M.A., son of the late Andrew Reed, D.D., founder of Earlswood Asylum, &c. &c.
An archery society was established in 1833, which, in 1834, obtained the patronage of Her Most Gracious Majesty, who, with her Royal Highness the late Duchess of Kent, passed some months at St. Leonard’s in the same year. The success of St. Leonard’s-on-Sea led to building outside the boundary of the town, and there is now an uninterrupted line of houses reaching to Hastings Old Town. The Quarry House is the residence of Sir Woodbine Parish, K.C.H. The Royal Victoria and South Saxon are good hotels here.

BUNGER HILL is one mile north-east; HASTINGS FILSHAM, 2 miles north-west.

Sub-Postmaster.- James Dorman, Royal Victoria library, Parade

The letter box is cleared as follows:-

Time of closing box. For what Mail closed.
*8. 5 a.m. London, Brighton & Lewes day mail
*11.35 a.m. London & through, & St. Leonard’s & Hastings
9.30 p.m. London & cross post night mail

*These mails do not exist on sundays

Money orders are granted & paid at this office from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; on saturdays till 8 p.m.

Albert Life, Putland & Son, 7 London road
British Equitable Life, James Page, 13 Norman rd. west
Church of England Fire & Life, William John Rodda, 3 Western road
City & County Fire & Life, Andrew Munro, 3 Norman road east
Commercial Union Fire & Life, William Savery, 1 Norman road east
County Fire, William Pain Beecham, 14 Warrior square
Crown Life, F. W. Rust
Gresham Life, George Johnson, 47 Norman road west
Guardian Fire & Life, Charles Henry Gausden, 48 Marina
Lancashire Fire, James Page, 13 Norman road west
Law Property Life, Charles Henry Gausden, 48 Marina
Liverpool & London & Globe, C. N. Norris, 1 Norman road east; T. West, Preston house, West Marina
London Assurance, J. Dorman, Parade
Midland Counties Fire, Putland & Son, 7 London road
Mutual Life, Robert Kent, 46 Norman road west
Norwich Union Fire & Life, John Oliver Davis, 1 Eversfield place
Pelican Life, C. T. How & Co. 44 Marina
Phoenix Fire, C. T. How & Co. 41 Marina
Plato Glass Insurance & Mutual Life Association, Thomas Brandon Brett, 28 Norman road west
Reliance, Aaron Sellivan
Royal Fire & Life, John Kenwood, Mercatoria
Scottish Commercial Fire, Thomas Elworthy, 15 Norman road west; Charles John Batstone, 29 Gensing Station rd
Scottish Equitable Life, Charles Musgrave Norris, 1 Norman road east
Scottish National, L. A. Turner, 4 Castle street
Sovereign Life, W. Russell, 13 Norman road east
Standard Life, John G. O’Neill
Star Life, Charles Hollebone & Son, 10 Grand parade

Assembly Rooms, Henry Beddoes, agent
Coast Guard Station, Bopeep, John Nicholas Mundy, commanding officer
Eversfield Library & Reading Rooms, Butler & Beagley, 3 Eversfield place
Fire Engine Station, Mercatoria, William Glenister, superintendent
Hastings & St. Leonard’s Club, Assembly rooms, George Scrivens, esq. treasurer
London, Brighton & South Coast & South Eastern Railway Booking Offices, at the Royal Victoria hotel, & 1 Eversfield place
London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Station, Bopeep, Thomas Wise, station master; Alfred Comber, goods’ clerk
Mechanics’ Institute, Norman road west, Alfred Burton, esq. president; John Davis &; Arthur Neve, hon. secs
Police Station, Mercatoria, Wm. Glenister, superintendent
Queen’s Royal St. Leonard’s Archery Grounds, Richard Beaney, keeper
Royal Baths, Marine parade, George Parker
Royal Victoria Library & Reading Rooms, James Dorman, Parade
South Eastern Railway Station, Peter Descou, station master
Subscription Gardens, Henry Beddoes, agent
Telegraph Offices, South Coast & South Eastern railway station, & at Royal Victoria library, Marine parade; James Dorman, agent
Temperance Hall Working Men’s Reading Room, Norman road west, Richard Bengley, sec

Assistant Overseer for St. Mary Magdalen, Benjamin Tree, 16 Norman road west
Collector of Income Tax for district of St. Leonard’s, William Edward Skinner, 6 White Rock place
Collector of Assessed & Income Taxes for the out bounds of St. Leonard’s, Richard Lamb, St. Leonard’s green
Collector for the Improvement Commissioners of St. Leonard’s, Joseph Yarroll, 21 East ascent, & John Bayley, 26 George street, Hastings
Commissioner for taking Oaths in the Stannaries of Cornwall & Devon, William Pain Beecham, 14 Warrior sq.
Commissioner for taking Oaths in Chancery and all Common Law Courts, William Pain Beecham, 14 Warrior square; & Charles Musgrave Norris, 1 Norman road east
Perpetual Commissioners for taking Acknowledgements of Married Women, William Pain Beecham, 14 Warrior square; & Charles Musgrave Norris, 1 Norman road east
Vestry Clerk for St. Mary Magdalen, William Savery, 1 Norman road east

St. Leonard’s Church, Rev. Samuel Hadden Parkes, M.A. incumbent
St. Mary Magdalen Church, Rev. Wm. Wheler Hume, M.A. incumbent
St. Matthew Episcopal Chapel, Tivoli, Rev. John Cumbelege, B.D.
Christ Church, London road, Rev. Charles Lyndhurst Vaughan, M.A. incumbent
Congregational Church, London road, Rev Andrew Reed, B.A. minister
Presbyterian Chapel, Silver hill
Primitive Methodist Chapel, Gensing road
Wesleyan Chapel, Norman road west
St. Thomas of Canterbury (Roman Catholic) Chapel, Magdalen road, Rev. John Foy, priest
All Soul’s Convent, Magdalen road, Mrs. Cornelia Connolly, superioress, Rev. Thomas Richardson, chaplain

National, Mercatoria, John Gibson, head master; William Ingledew, second master; Miss. Sarah Gibson, head mistress; Miss Phoebe Hall, second mistress; Miss Fanny Tindall, infant mistress
National (St. Mary Magdalen), Magdalen road, William Gandy, master; Mrs. Charlotte Gandy, mistress; Miss Fanny Davis, infant mistress
Roman Catholic
Christ Church (infant), Alfred st, Miss Fanny Davis, mistrs St. Matthew’s (mixed), Bohemia, Mrs. Mary Avis, mistrs

Brett’s St. Leonard’s & Hastings Gazette, published every saturday (Thomas Brandon Brett, proprietor & publisher), 28 Norman road west
Hastings & St. Leonard’s Advertiser, published every thursday (James Dorman, proprietor & publisher), Royal Victoria Library, Parade

Royal Victoria hotel, John Starkey, Marina
South Saxon hotel, William Vaughan, Grand parade

For Coaches & Carriers, see HASTINGS