The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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HASTINGS                             341
Barons of the Cinque Ports are entitled to bear it," and though such was not His Majesty's wish, four­teen barons received the standards of the Three Kingdoms from their duly appointed bearers at the entrance of the quire.
The harbour of Hastings was once in the Priory Valley to the west of the Castle Hill, the Albert Memorial Clock Tower stands where of old ships were moored; it was scoured by the River Old Roar and protected by the headland of White Rock. When so much shingle had accumulated to the west of this obstruction that there was no room for more, then began the filling up of the mouth of the port, while to make matters worse the site of the town kept wearing away and whole parishes went under the waves. The gradual ruin of the port was the subject of bitter complaint, but nothing whatever could be done to prevent the action of the sea. The centre of English sea power was being shifted by purely physical causes to the harbours of the west.
In 1635 it was determined to employ Dutch resourcefulness, but nothing came of it, though on February 15th it was reported "that Thomas Rainolds had accordingly (by God's grace) per­formed, brought one Henrich Cranhalls, a Dutch ingener, who uppon serious survey thereof dooth give his opinion and judgement that a very good haven maie there be made, and hath promised to undertake the same, and to attend the towne's suite and petition in that behalfe whenever he shall be required." De Foe says in 1738: "Its Harbour, formerly so famous, is now a poor Road for small Vessels, having being ruined by the Storms that from time to time have been so fatal to its neighbouring Ports of Rye and Winchelsea."
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