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!
c1932 Not much room here!!
A look towards the village from Battery Hill in 1935.
Looking across the sparsely populated area in 1948, today the whole area is built on.
1947 Just as the caption says!
What we know today as ‘Chanel Way’, this was taken in 1937.
A view across the fields 1930.
A view down Battery Hill towards Fairlight Village c1940.
Fairlight Alms House just behind Fairlight Church, Built 1892, this picture was taken in 1912.
This cottage was named ‘Browneves’ c1928, believed to be no longer with us today.
Pixiewood tea rooms c1928, but no longer with us today.
A walk along the cliff tops towards the village c1929.
Believe it or not this is Battery Hill c1930 looking down upon a few houses and bungalows in the village.
Not many Bungalows here in c1932, but take a look at Fairlight Village today!
This is the original Circle at Fairlight in 1937, but today the whole area has been heavily built on with very little space between properties.
1937, this picture could be ‘Waites Lane’!
Circle tea rooms c 1928. Now-a-days this has been transformed back into a private dwelling.
General view c1936
The Haddocks 1930, this was just out of shot on the previous picture.
In 1938 this was originally called the ‘Bungalow Hotel’, we all now know it as ‘THE COVE’.
Now we have moved on to 1946
We now move on to 1950.
And we come a little further up date into 1958.
Coast Guard Cottages in 1907.
Coast Guard Cottages in c1922. (After the First World War the ranges were little used, so the targets were dismantled and the ground given back to nature)
1919, A distance view of the beach, ladder and Coast Guards cottages, the Shanty and old Rifle range; everything in this picture has now gone through cliff erosion.
1914 and the ladder that took you between the beach and the footpath before the Coast Guard cottages.
1918. Notice the large amount of land there before the cliff edge.
1950, and a pleasant walk along the cliff tops towards a nice cup of tea in the tea rooms.
Tea rooms in 1955. Notice the reduction of land from the time periods on the previous pictures.
Coast Guards and Tea Rooms all deserted and ready to be claimed back by the sea, this picture was taken in 1961, these were vacated much earlier, but all within a couple of years they all went over the top into the sea.
An early view of Lovers Seat 1904.
Who were the Lovers here? 1912
On the rock over Lovers seat 1938.
Lovers seat in 1930.
The bridge and steps over Ecclesbourne Glen. 1946.
This is more or less the same view but in 1912.
Passing a tea hut in 1908.
The tea chalet in the glen in 1931.
Hers the same very busy tea hut, but in 1909.
This time now at 1937.
Just gone back a little to 1907.
The water fall 1928.
The dripping well 1938. (doesn’t look as if its dripping!!)
More or less the last look at the old Coastguard cottages before they go over the top, the others have already gone, c1964.
North seat lookout for the public, this remained there for several years before neglect took over and the frame rotted, but also helped by vandals, this photo dates to 1908.
Fairlight Church in 1911.
A look over the top of Battery Hill towards the village in 1962.
Looking down Battery Hill in 1963.
A quick return to Fyrsway in the heart of the village. 1963. (No! I haven’t spelt it wrong, the photographer has!!)
Fairlight Hall in 1910.
Warren Farm nearing the top of Battery Hill, gathering in the Harvest. 1927.
The tea rooms on the corner of Waites Lane in 1984, now converted back to a private residence not unlike all the tea rooms and shops that were situated within the village.
St Andrews Church taken in 2007 by myself. ©richardpollard.co.uk
This again is St Andrews Church taken by me in 2007. ©richardpollard.co.uk
Lychgate at St Andrews 2007 taken by me. ©richardpollard.co.uk
Carillion bells at St Andrews 2007 taken by me. ©richardpollard.co.uk
The hammers that operate the Carillion bells at St Andrews 2007. ©richardpollard.co.uk
St Andrews Church on Coastguards Lane 2007 taken by me. ©richardpollard.co.uk
Quickly take you back to the junction of Battery Hill and Waites Lane to see what was there in c1990, Fairlight Garage. (sorry for the poor quality picture but this was the best available)
1965 Map of Fairlight (not to scale by any means!)
Strictly not Fairlight but Ore. But this convalescent home is still there at the foot of Red Lake Road but was in the parish of Fairlight as when this picture was taken 1923.
Sunrise over the sea from the top of Fairlight Village in September 2007, taken by me ©richardpollard.co.uk
This was known as the Shanty another tea hut in 1910.
Looking at this rare colour picture of the area it’s unimaginable to how much erosion has taken place over the past 100 or more years to just leave nothing to what you see here in c1937. It is hard to say, but, I would imagine that we have lost more than 200 feet back to the sea in that time to this!
This is exactly to what the card reads ‘ The Bridge at Ecclesbourne Glen’ c1925.
Ecclesbourne Glen 1860.
Ecclesbourne Glen 1910.
Ecclesbourne Wood 1865.
Old Haddocks Fairlight c1920.
Part of Ecclesbourne rifle range 1913. The range was opened in Warren Glen on May 6th of 1901 for the use of all volunteer servicemen.
The bridge at Ecclesbourne Glen in 1915.
Showing the rifle range 1904.
This was the Daily Telegraph’s prediction of cliff erosion in 1987.
Fairlight in 2010. (And they still try to build on every space they can in the village today).
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.
The deserted sand quarry 1969.
More sand 1969, this picture like others were taken in 2 parts and pasted together, hence the line down the middle!
Sand Quarry 1969, taken slightly around to the left!
Sand Quarry 1969.
Fairlight Down water tower 1969.
Fairlight Radar Station air vents 1969.
Radar Station Guard house 1969.
This was a pond at North Seat Fairlight 1969. Wonderful fly tipping area!
RAF station at Fairlight, now looking rather sad in c1955. This was part of the Radar station that was closed after the war.
Looking down from the top onto the Haddocks with very few other buildings in sight c1908. What you see here is now densely populated today with array of houses and bungalows.
Looking west across what is to be the new village, this picture dates as from c1916. Again, this area has more or less been filled too!
Ecclesbourne Glen 1908.
On the edge at Ecclesbourne Glen. 1960.
The old tea shack at Ecclesbourne Glen 1955.
A much wider view of the coastguard cottages before too much cliff erosion had taken place. c1940.
A nearly dry dripping well 1902.
Dripping well at Ecclesbourne Glen c1910.
Dripping well with just a drip or two! 1929.
A ramble through the glen 1911.
Fairlight Glen 1925.
Steam Lane 1915.
The bridge at Ecclesbourne Glen 1932.
Early Lovers Seat not leap! Hence the fence. c1902.
Ecclesbourne Glen Valley c1900. (This picture is slightly different from others similar shown)
Fairlight Glen. 1903.
Dripping well in 1905.
A quiet walk through the Glen. 1911.
Fairlight Glen in 1914.
A lovely panoramic view across the fields in 1916.
More walks through the Glen. 1916.
Not the same as the other one a few pictures above. 1903.
North seat after the observation tower fell into disrepair, it wasn’t replaced but only seats around the base. 1921.
Dripping Well c1902.
Water Fall at Ecclesbourne Glen. 1910.
The old Ecclesbourne Coastguard station and the cafe’s after the war. 1947.
An etching of Ecclesbourne in 1860.
Delivery Van for Hunt’s Fairlight Poultry Farm. 1921.
Fairlight Hall – Fairlight. 1915.
Fairlight Hall. 1911.
Tea Chalet at Fairlight Glen. 1947.
The Haddocks station in the early 1900s, just before closure.
In July 1832 – The Coast Blockade Service had largely won its fight against smuggling, so it was abolished in 1831, with the Coastguard taking over its roles and investing in them. This included the leasing in July 1832 of more ground for the Ecclesbourne Coastguard Station for an extension. Its new area was 50 ft by 323 ft, with much of the extra land to be a garden. A parade with bastion protected the building from the sea. At the same time the Haddocks station at Fairlight Cove was rebuilt. This included a terrace of five small houses, the eastern one of which still stands on the edge of the cliff.
Fairlight fancy dress wedding at the sanatorium. 1921.
Fairlight Sanatorium in the snow with people sitting outside. 1921.
Fairlight Sanatorium in winter. 1921.
Frognal Fairlight. 1910.
Magic lantern slide of Lovers seat Fairlight. 1890.
More will follow as and when we can locate further 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.
Many Thanks to you all for looking.
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©Richard Pollard@aol.com 2010-2018