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HURSTMONCEUX (or Herstmonceux) is a parish and town, in the Eastern division of the county, union of Hailsham, county court district of Hastings, Foxearle hundred, Hastings rape, diocese of Chichester, archdeaconry of Lewes, and rural deanery of Dallington, 4 miles east from Hailsham, and 10 south-west from Battle. About a mile from the Hastings and Brighton road, and situated in a valley, stands the magnificent ruin of Hurstmonceux Castle: this castle, surrounded by a moat, now dry, was built in the reign of Henry VI. by Sir Roger de Fiennes, treasurer of the royal household, who obtained from his royal master a licence to embattle and fortify his manor-house of Hurstmonceux, and to enlarge his park, 600 acres of land: the castle is of brick, with window-cases, door-cases, and water-tables of stone, and is one of the oldest brick mansions in the kingdom: the interior was pulled down about the year 1770, before which time it was one of the finest of our castellated relics: the outward walls and towers are yet standing; those of the gateway, when perfect, measured in height 84 feet; the south or grand front is 206 feet long; the east and west sides 214 feet long. The church of All Saints is a quarter of a mile from the castle, and is a large building in the Early English style; it contains a splendid monument to the memory of Thomas Lord Dacre and his father, descendants of Sir Roger de Fynes, or Fiennes: under a richly worked canopy are the recumbent figures of two men in armour. The living is a rectory, yearly value £1,054, with residence and 160 acres of glebe land, in the gift of, and held by, the Rev. Robert Louis Wild, M.A., of Oriel College. Oxford. Here is a National school for boys and girls, supported by subscription; also an Independent chapel. The area is 5,039 acres, and the population in 1861 was 1,287. [Kelly's Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 1867.]


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[Last updated: 18th May 2003 - Peter Christian]



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