General British Directory 1791, Battle, East Sussex


Is six miles from Hasings, and fifty-seven from London. Its original name was Epiton; but took the present from the decisive battle fought October 14, 1066, between king Harold, and William duke of Normandy, in which the former, with 60,000 men on both sides, were killed. This commonly called the battle of Hastings. By this decisive blow in favour of the Conqueror, England became subject to him, and he was soon after acknowledged king of England. On Heathfield, or rather Headfield-plain, where the battle was fought, (so called, probably, from so many heads or lives having been lost on it) which is not far off, he founded a monastery of Benedictines, dedicated to St, Martin, whose abbot was mitred, and called it Battel-abbey, both in commemoration of his own success, and that the monks of it should pray for the souls of the slain. Its abbot could protect the greatest villains that fled to it, and even save the lives of any that were going to be executed. By the remains of it, it was, no doubt a stately pile, and almost a mile in compass. The gate-house, which is almost entire, serves for the sessions, and other public meetings. The incumbent of the church here is called dean of Battel. The town is reckoned unhealthy, because it is low and dirty. Here is made the finest gunpowder in England, which employs a number of labouring people; the town has else very little trade. It has a harbour for barges, and a charity-school for 40 boys. There is a hill near it, with a beacon on it; for which reason it is called Beacon-hill, though its old name is Standard-hill; because the Conqueror set up his standard on it, the day before his above mentioned victory. The town consists of one good street, several inns, and a good church with a fine ring of eight bells. From the beginning of Romney-marsh, that is to say, at Sandgate or Sandfoot-castle, near Hythe, to this place, the country is a rich fertile soil, full of feeding grounds; and an incredible number of large sheep are fed every year upon them, and sent up to London market; also many large bullocks, especially those they call stalled or house-fed oxen, from their being kept within he farmers sheds or yards all the latter season, where they are fed for the winter market, and generally deemed the largest beef in England. In Romney-marsh, as in other parts of England, are found in great timber-trees, lying at length under ground, as black as ebony, and fit for use, when dried in the sun. Fairs November 22, and Whit-sun-Monday, and on Battlefield August 2.

The George and New Inn are the principal inns, having post-chaises and post-horses for the convenience of travelling. At these inns alternately the justices hold their fittings on the second Tuesday in every month, being Battel monthly market-day for cattle, corn, &c. There is also a weekly market-day on Thursdays, for butcher’s meat, &c.

There are two wagons which travel from this place to London; that of which Lawrence and Wickham are the proprietors, sets out every Monday at noon for the Spur inn, in the Borough, where it arrives on Wednesday afternoon, and returns to Battel every Friday evening. The other from Vinehall, John Tutley, proprietor, sets out every Monday, to the White Hart, in the Borough, where it arrives on Wednesday afternoon, and returns to Battel every Saturday morning. These wagons also carry goods from this town to Hastings, to which place they set out every morning and return the same evening.

The Hastings stage-coach, by John Scrivens and Co. sets out from the Swan inn, Hastings, to the Bolt in Tun, Fleet-street, London, every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday morning, through Battel, Rothersbridge, and Lamberhurst, to Tunbridge, where it meets the London coach, changes passengers, and returns to Hastings the same evening.

There is a regular post passes every morning through this place, about nine o’clock, from London on its way to Hastings, with the mail, and returns again about four o’clock in the afternoon, when it proceeds to London. Mrs. Lidwell is keeper of the post office here. – Of the inhabitants, the following are the principal:

Freeland John, Esq.
Thorpe William, Esq.
Webster Sir Godfrey, Bart. Star’s-green
Webster Lady, Battel-abbey
Worge Thomas, Esq.

Bishop Rev. Henry
Barton Rev. Thomas
Ferris Rev. Dr. Tho. Dean of Battel
Vidler William, Dissenting Minister

Dake Sol, Surgeon and Apothecary
Hammond John, sen. Surgeon
Watts Giles, M. D.
Young John, Surgeon and Apothecary

Bishop H. M. Attorney
Tilden John, Attorney

Ashby John, Shopkeeper
Ashby William, Shopkeeper and Miller
Ashby Richard, Carpenter
Aldterton John, Victualler (New Inn)
Apps Robert, Clock-maker
Barrow Thomas, Carpenter
Betts Daniel, Clerk in the powder mills
Baker John, Farmer and Grazier
Badcock William, Taylor
Body Henry, Clock-maker
Barber Anthony, Currier
Bell Joseph, Supervisor of Excise
Bellingham Widow, Victualler (George)
Blackman James, Blacksmith
Birch William, Cutler and Toyman
Beney William, Victualler (8 Bells)
Bennet Richard, Shoemaker
Barron Hugh, Slop-feller
Bovis John, Shopkeeper
Croft Samuel, Carpenter
Croft William, Sheriff’s Officer
Cruttenden William, Shoemaker
Cox James, Sawyer
Eversfield John, Victualler (White Hart)
Gurr Joseph, Victualler (King’s Head)
Geer Thomas, Grocer and Draper
Gutsell John, Victualler (Half Moon)
Godden -, Excise-officer
Gausden John, Butcher
Griffin John, Plumber and Glazier
Harvey, Lester, Son, and Co. Proprietors of the Powder-manufactories
Hammond John, jun. Clerk to the travelling Waggon
Hayward John, Sadler and Collar-maker
Hayward John, Miller
Hull George, Shoemaker
Hailes George, Butcher
Inskipp James, Steward to Battel Abbey Estate
Inskipp George and James, Carpenters
King William, Schoolmaster
Kinward Edward, Linen-draper
Katte Stephen, Stationer
Lawrence and Wickham, London Carriers
Lawrence Charles, fen. Ironmonger
Lawrence Charles, jun. Clerk in the mills
Lawrence Thomas, Peruke-maker
Longley John, Farmer
Longley John, Bricklayer
Mayo John, Farmer
Marten William, Farmer
Marten Thomas, Brewer
Mills John, Tanner and Butcher
Morris John, Currier and Leather-cutter
Newington John, Victualler (Checquers)
Palmer Richard, Hat-maker
Pepper Widow, Victualler (Black Horse)
Purfield Widow, Dealer in Malt
Palmer Nicholas, Dealer in Wood
Philcox James, Patten-maker
Pearson John, Wheelwright
Pearson Francis, Taylor and Draper
Penfold John, Shopkeeper
Parker John, Tallow-chandler
Phillipps Richard, Cooper
Ray Daniel, Silversmith
Shaws John, Miller and Baker
Smith Thomas, Blacksmith
Slatter William, Butcher
Slatter George and Nicholas, Blacksmiths
Sinden Widow, Shopkeeper
Sinden Thomas, Butcher
Simms William, Butcher
Twine John, Cornfactor
Tycehurst William, Schoolmaster
Venis Isaac, Victualler (Gun)
Vidler Thomas, Bricklayer
Vidler John, Weaver
Wood Daniel, Staymaker
Weller C. Collar-maker
Yealding William, Taylor

Seats and villages near Battel. – In the parish of Catsfield, reside John Fuller, and William Markwick, Esqrs. justices of the peace. – At Nimfield, resides John King, Esq. – The inhabitants of Pevensey and Wistham are chiefly marsh graziers. – At Harlsham is a market for cattle, corn, &c. every other Wednesday. The principle inhabitants are, Francis Howlett, school-master; John Sinnock, attorney at law; Richard Merricks, and William Long, surgeons and apothecaries. – Near this is Ashburnham Place, the seat of the Earl of Ashburnham. The Rev. Charles Calcall is rector of the village of Ashburnham. – At Heathfield is a weekly market for cattle, corn, hops, &c. Here is a seat of the late Lord Heathfield. The principal inhabitants are, the Rev. Richard Constable, vicar; and the Rev. Thomas Fuller. – Wigzell, in the parish of Sailhurst, is the seat of William Biyse, Esq. justice of the peace; here reside also – Lamb, - Durrant, John Pook, and Trever Cookfon, Esqrs. – Robertsbridge town is situated in the parish of Sailhurst, on the river Rother, which empties itself into Rye harbour, and is navigable for barges as far as Newingden bridge, in the parish of Northiam, which is about half way. – At Crowhurst is the seat of Henry Pelham, Esq. Of this place the Rev. William Delves is curate. Here are two powder-mills belonging to Mr. Richard Delves, of Tunbridge. – At Bodiham, near the edge of the river Rother, is an ancient castle, now in the possession of Sir Godfrey Webster, Bart. called Bodiham-castle, by who is has been so much improved, as to render it not only very pleasant, but a frequent summer residence. The Rev. Rober Russell is rector of the parish. – Northiam is a pretty village, and full of genteel inhabitantsl it is eight miles from Rye, on the turnpike road to London. The principal inhabitants are, Thomas Frewin, M. D. Richard Batchelor, surgeon, and Samuel Jenner, surgeon and apothecary. The rector is the Rev. William Lord.

1791 Directory Index


Transcribed by Mark Collins; Transcription © Mark Collins

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