Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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CHAPTER XXXVI
HASTINGS
The ravening sea—Hastings and history—Titus Oates—Sir Cloudesley Shovel—A stalwart Nestor—Edward Capel—An old Sussex harvest custom—A poetical mayor—Picturesque Hastings—Hastings castle— Ilollington Rural and Charles Lamb—Fairlight Glen and the Lover's Seat—Bexhill.
Brighton, as we have seen, was made by Dr. Russell. It was Dr. Baillie, some years later, who discovered the salubrious qualities of Hastings. In 1806, when the Duke of Wellington (then Major-General Wellesley) was in command of twelve thousand soldiers encamped in the neighbourhood, and was himself living at Hastings House, the population of the town was less than four thousand ; to-day, with St. Leonard's and dependant suburbs, Hastings covers several square miles. With the exception of the little red and grey region known as Old Hastings, between Castle Hill and East Hill, the same charge of a lack of what is interesting can be brought against Hastings as against Brighton ; but whereas Brighton has the Downs to offer, Hastings is backed by country of far less charm. Perhaps her greatest merit is her proximity to Winchelsea and Rye.
Hastings, once one of the proudest of the Cinque Ports, has no longer even a harbour, its pleasure yachts, which carry excursionists on brief Channel voyages, having to be beached just like rowing boats. The ravages of the sea, which have so transformed the coast line of Sussex, have completely changed
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