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Eastbourne, Sussex

Historical Description

Eastbourne, a town, a parish, and a municipal borough in Sussex. The town stands in a valley at the eastern extremity of the Downs, and at the terminus of a branch of the L.B. & S.C. R., 62 miles from London. It is probable that Eastbourne was a Roman station, for early in the last century a tesselated pavement, a bath, and other Roman antiquities were discovered in a field between the Marine and Grand Parades, and further discoveries of tesselated pavement were made in 1878 in the same field. It was the place of Henry I.'s detention by a storm in the autumn of 1114. It figured for some time as a market-town, then went into decay, but of late years has so much revived that it is now one of the most fashionable and favourite sea-side resorts on the south coast. The pureness of the South Downs' and sea air, the excellence of the bathing the luxuriant trees, and the well-laid out streets and fine promenades are the main causes which have led to the progress of the town. The distinguishing feature of Eastbourne is the unusually fine growth of timber trees in the streets of thr town and in the roads in the immediate vicinity. The land on which the town is built is chiefly the property of the Duke of Devonshire, and under his direction the ground plan has been formed with great regularity, and many streets and terraces lined with mansions have been formed. A beautiful esplanade has also been constructed at the expense of the duke. The Grand Parade extends from the Marine Parade on the east to Holywell Meads on the west, and is lighted with the electric light. The united parades have a frontage of about 2 miles in a straight line, and there are in addition two other promenades at lower levels, the slopes of which, facing the sea, are planted with tamarisks. The whole gives. a total length of 2¼ miles on the sea front, and the parades being laid out on various levels afford pleasantly-sheltered walks. The sea wall at the east end of the town extends from the end of the Marine Parade to the Redoubt Fort. The pier, situated at Splash Point, was opened in 1872, and consists of 12 spans. It is 1000 feet long and 60 wide. It is seated for about 2000 persons. There is a pavilion and concert hall capable of holding 900 persons on the pier. Tli— town was incorporated by royal charter in 1883. Its corporate body consists of a mayor, 8 aldermen, and 24 councillor;-. There is a separate police force for the borough. The street's are well paved, chiefly with red brick, and the town is well drained. Out of the mother parish of St Mary, Old Eastbourne, seven ecclesiastical parishes have been formed in the modern town, viz:-Holy Trinity in 1847, Christ Church in 1864, St Saviour in 1867, St John the Evangelist, Meads, in 1870, All Saints' in 1882, St Anne's in 1883. Holy Trinity was erected in 1838, and enlarged in 1884. It is in. The Early English style. The income of the living is derived chiefly from pew rents, the endowment being only £9 per annum. Christ Church is also in the Early English style. The living is a vicarage; value, £300. Patron, the Vicar of Eastbourne. St Saviour's is a building of red brick, and beautifully decorated. The living is a vicarage; value, about £300. All Saints is a building of Kentish rag in the Early English style. The living is a vicarage; value, £537. St Anne's, Upperton, isa stone edifice in the Early English stylr. The living is a vicarage; value, £570. Patron, the Bishop of Chichester. All Souls Church is a pretty building of brick and terra-cotta in the Lombardic-Byzantine style, and wa'.i the gift of Lady Wellesley. The living is a vicarage; value, £380. Patron, Lady Wellesley. Meads, a hamlet on the slope of the South Down Hills, now forms part of the town. The church of St John the Evangelist is an edifice of red and white brick in the Early Decorated style, The living is a vicarage; value, £300. There are Presbyterian, Baptist, Wesleyan, Calvinist, and Roman Catholic-chapels, besides several mission halls. The town-hall and municipal buildings were opened in 1886. The buildings, which cost nearly £50,000, are of dark red brick in the Renaissance style, and comprise a police or county court, judges' or magistrates' rooms, police offices and cells, a superintendent's house, and other offices. On the first floor is the town-hall, 83 feet long by 45 feet wide. It is very finely decorated, and a mayor's reception-chamber, a council chamber, parlour and ante-rooms, and the town-clerk's offices and muniment room. The building is lighted by the electric light. The town contains many very fine and first-class hotels and boarding-houses. The baths in the Carlisle road, at the west end of the Grand Parade, comprise extensive swimming and private baths, and were erected in 1874 at a cost of nearly £30,000. The Devonshire Park. close to the baths, comprises about 13 acres. There are lawns for tennis, cricket, and other out-door amusements. There is also a large pavilion containing a concert hall, a. floral hall seating nearly 2000 persons, and a reading-room, There are several good social clubs, a working men's club, a head post office, three hospitals, several convalescent homes, a free dispensary, two coastguard stations, a lifeboat station, and a large redoubt or fort arranged to hold 200 men. The old town or village of Eastbourne stands to the north of the new town, and is built in the shape of a cross, in the centre of which stands the old parish church of St Mary. It is an ancient edifice of stone, chiefly in the Early English style. The living is a vicarage; value, about £350. Patron, the Bishop of Chichester. A fair for cattle is held annually on Oct. 11. Compton Place is a seat of the Duke of Devonshire, who is the chief landowner. Acreage of the municipal borough, 5504; population, 34,969. Beachy Head, where the South Downs terminate in an abrupt precipice 573 feet in height, is about 3 miles from Eastbourne. See BEACHY HEAD.

Eastbourne Parliamentary Division, or Southern Sussex, was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 66,460. The division includes the following:-Hailsham- Alfriston, Arlington, Chiddingly, Eastbourne, Eastdean, Folkington, Friston, Hailsham, Heathfield, Hellingley, Hurst-monceus, Jevington, Laughton, Litlington, Lullington, Warbleton, Wartling, Westdean, Willingdon, Wilmington; Lewes (part of)-Alciston, Beddingham, Berwick, Bishopstone, Blatchington (East), Chalvington, Denton, Glynde, Heighton (South), Newhaven, Ringmer, Ripe, Selmeston, Tarring Neville, West Firle; Uckfield (part of)-East Hoathley, Waldron; Pevensey-corporate town; Seaford- corporate town.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountySussex 
Ecclesiastical parishEastbourne St. Mary 
Poor Law unionEastbourne 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Eastbourne from the following:


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Newspapers and Periodicals

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CountyEast Sussex