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Herstmonceux, Sussex

Historical Description

Herstmonceaux or Hurstmonceaux, a village and a parish in Sussex. The village stands 3½ miles NE of Hailsham station on the L.B. & S.C.R., 5½ N by W of Pevensey Bay, and 8 WSW of Battle. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Hailsham. The parish is scattered, and consists of several hamlets, the principal of which is Gardner Street. It comprises 6507 acres; population of the civil parish, 1454; of the ecclesiastical, 1152. The manor belonged anciently to a family who came from Monceaux in France; passed to the De Fiennes, one of whom was at Agincourt; descended from them to the Lords Dacre, who held it till 1708; and has passed since that time through many hands, chiefly the allied families of Hare and Naylor. Herstmonceaux Castle was built in the time of Henry VI.. by Sir Roger de Fiennes; is a brick edifice, the largest and oldest baronial mansion of that material in England; became much decayed about 1777, and was then gutted to supply materials for Herstmonceaux Place; is still, in its mere shell, a very interesting" specimen of the fortified mansion of the later feudal tunes; retains flanking towers 84 feet high, capped by watch turrets; measures 206 feet along the grand front, and 214 along the sides; comprises one large court and two small courts; and was surrounded by a moat which, expanded on one side into a large pond. A row of very ancient Spanish chestnuts is beyond the moat, and possibly shadowed the walls of a manor house which preceded the castle. There is a trug-basket manufactory. Lime Park and Herstmonceux Place are chief residences. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Chichester; net value, £500 with. residence. The church is mainly Early English, stands on high ground commanding a distant view of Beachy Head, and contains a splendid monument of the Dacres, two recumbent figures under a richly-worked canopy, a fine brass of 1405, and a monument to the mother and family of Archdeacon Hare. A great yew tree with a cluster of tomb crosses under it is in the churchyard. Archdeacon Hare, who died in 1855, was rector, and John Sterling, biographies of whom were written by him and by Carlyle, was his first curate.

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 parishHerstmonceaux All Saints 
Poor Law unionHailsham 

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

Civil Registration

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Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Herstmonceux from the following:


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Newspapers and Periodicals

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CountyEast Sussex
RegionSouth East
Postal districtBN27
Post TownHailsham