Here on this page is a variety of early views of Fairlight, Ecclesbourne Glen etc,
(with the occasional up to date picture/s inserted).
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By clicking on any picture you are able to get a better view.
A very brief history into Fairlight.
The village is mentioned in record of 1220 as FARLEGH, since then, many changes have occurred in the spelling, e.g., in 1291 it was FARLEIGH; 1535, FARLEY; 1701, FAYRLIGHT; 1738, again FARLEY and in 1823 the spelling is recorded as FAIRLIGHT. There was a manor here before 1066, given by William the Conqueror to the Countess of EU (or OW), near Caen, France, her husband was the first Constable of Hastings Castle. In the 12th century the manor belonged to the Allard (or Alard) family; Stephen and Gervase Allard went to the Crusades, and effigies may be seen in Winchelsea Church; Gervase was Admiral of the Cinque ports, and was the first English man to be called ‘Admiral’.
The manor house formed the foundation of the present farmhouse – Stonelynk Farm. The residence known today as ‘Stonelynk Hall’ was originally the barn, built probably in the 14th century. About 1540 a Judge and Clerk attended the local assizes, held in the manor. A well provides the farmhouse with its own water supply. In the days of smuggling, contraband goods were landed at Fairlight, probably brought inland by an underground tunnel!
Marsham farm dates from 1290, built by Giles Fiennes. Waites Old Farm House (corner of Waites Lane & Meadow Way) is 16th century. Waites wood existed where Fairlight Village Hall and adjacent residences now stand. The cliffs hereabout are subject to natural erosion, but since 1986 the village has had a very actively supported group (now know as the ‘Fairlight Cove Preservation Trust), which takes action to prevent further land loss. In 2007 a multi million pound scheme was adopted to reshape the cliffs, and lay land drains to remove the water before it eroded any more of the cliffs, some 56 wells were drilled to seize the water before it reached the cliffs. 2 years later the scheme has proved itself.
National Trust Land; 215 acres of cliff land (including Stumbletts Wood, Pett Level Road) were given to the National Trust in 1945; Old Marsham farm (170 acres adjoining) in 1958.
Battery Hill: at the turn of the 20th century, a local gun battery is reputed to have practiced firing regularly from ‘The Mountain’. Fire was directed out to sea, this probably gives to the origin of the names: ‘Firehills’ and ‘Battery Hill’. Fairlight Place: built around 1550 at the head of Fairlight Glen, was visited by King Louis Phillipe and his Queen in 1849 after his escape from Paris.
In 1951, Hastings was presented with 211 acres of cliff and country, including Fairlight Place and Farm, the Firehills, Fairlight and Ecclesbourne Glens, the Lovers seat and the Dripping well.
The Country Park (mostly in the Hastings area) consists of some 500 acres of cliff walks and unspoilt wooded country from East Hill Hastings, to the Firehills at Fairlight, including the Ecclesbourne and Fairlight Glens. A car park and tourist information centre along with toilets are situated just off the Fairlight Road, the entrance being some 50 yards west of Coastguards Lane and the Parish Church of St Andrews.
Fairlight Hall, Martineau Lane, is imitation Tudor, built at the turn of the century, it is a private residence.
The present Parish Church of St Andrews was built in 1845 on the site of the former Church dating back to (approx) 1180. It is 535 feet above sea level. Built from locally quarried stone, the tower elevates to 82 feet from ground level. This is open to all during the summer months. The Silver Communion Cup and Paten cover date from 1697. A friend of Mendelssohn, Thomas Walmsley, a master of music and renowned organist, is buried in the Churchyard, also Richard D’Oyly Carte, producer of the Gilbert & Sullivan Operettas. It is a well know fact that the Church of St Andrews and the immediate area was purposely not bombed by the Germans during the last war, as this was a very distinctive Land Mark that guided their planes towards London and back home. It was mentioned on plans drawn up by the High Command in Germany as never to be touched, which have just been released!
What we know today as ‘Chanel Way’, this was taken in 1937.
A view across the fields 1930.
1939 May – A new company, the Fairlight Mining Company, leased land from Major Sayer between the top of Warren Glen and Fairlight Church to dig for sand. It created the large quarry at the top of the glen, and a smaller one nearer the church which is today’s Country Park car park.
More will follow as and when we can sort through the cards and pictures.
A tale or two of Lovers Seat, at Fairlight Downs.
Lovers seat is on an edge of cliff 339ft above sea level.
There are several stories about this seat; one notorious in 1786 was that Mr. Charles Lamb of Rye, an officer in the preventive service, was very much in love with Miss. Elizabeth Boys of Hawkhurst. Mr. Lamb’s job did not make him a suitable suitor for the hand of Miss. Boys, and so the lady was sent to a farm in the neighbourhood of the seat in the hope that, being away from him, the lady would forget him. But they found a way to meet.
Mr. Lamb would arrive by sea in a Revenue Cutter and meet Miss. Boys at the seat. Here, it is said, they planned to run away and get married. They were married in St. Clement Danes in the Strand, London. The story continues that the lady’s father disinherited her for this most unseemly marriage.
There is another story which I find rather amusing and therefore will repeat it. The seat was the meeting place of a pair of sweethearts, but the man was lost at sea and so the broken hearted lady stood at their once happy meeting place and uttered her last lament “The Ocean shall be my bed and the fishes shall wiggle waggle over my head”. She then threw herself into the sea and was drowned.
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