St. Leonard's dates its origin from 1828: it contains an archery ground, public gardens, libraries, baths, assembly-rooms, and a commodious railway station belonging to the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company. There was scarcely a house in the whole parish of St. Leonard's until 1828, when James Burton, Esq., of the Regent's-park, London conceived and carried out the plan of forming this now fashionable watering-place, and for that purpose purchased the beautiful valley from the Eversfield estate. On the 1st of March, 1828, the first stone was laid, and buildings rose rapidly. In 1832 Mr. Burton obtained an Act of Parliament for "better watching, lighting, &c., &c., the town of St. Leonard's-on- Sea."
The church of St. Leonard, situate on the Marina, is a plain Gothic structure, with nave, chancel and square tower, and was erected in 1831, for which Mr. Burton also obtained an Act of Parliament, the ancient parish church having, it is supposed, been washed away by the sea. The living is in the gift of the Rev. W. Tilson Marsh, M.A., and held by the Rev. Samuel Hadden Parkes, M.A., of Jesus College, Cambridge.
Christ church, situated in the London-road, is in the Gothic style, consisting of nave, sanctuary, north aisle, and bell turret, and will seat about 600, all free: it is in the gift of, and held by, the Rev. Charles Lyndhurst Vaughan, M.A.
The success of St. Leonard's-on-Sea led to building outside the boundary of the town, and there is now an uninterrupted line of houses reaching to Hastings Old Town. The Quarry House is the residence of Sir Woodbine Parish, K.C.H. The Royal Victoria and South Saxon are good hotels here. [Kelly's Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 1867.]
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