Directory section details

Directory: 1791 Universal British Directory.

Pages: 268 - 270.

Name: Battel.

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Is six miles from Hastings, 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:.

Gentry, &c.

John Freeland Esq.

William Thorpe Esq.

Lady - Webster of Battel-abbey.

Sir Godfrey Webster Bart. of Star's-green.

Thomas Worge Esq.


Rev. Thomas Barton, Minister of religion.

Rev. Henry Bishop, Minister of religion.

Rev. Dr. Tho. Ferris, Dean of Battel.

William Vidler, Dissenting Minister.


Sol Dake, Surgeon & Apothecary.

Watts Giles M.D.

John Hammond sen., Surgeon.

John Young, Surgeon & Apothecary.


H M Bishop, Attorney.

Tilden John, Attorney.

Traders, &c.

John Aldterton, Victualler of New Inn.

Robert Apps, Clock-maker.

John Ashby, Shopkeeper.

Richard Ashby, Carpenter.

William Ashby, Shopkeeper & Miller.

William Badcock, Taylor.

John Baker, Farmer & Grazier.

Anthony Barber, Currier.

Hugh Barron, Slop-feller.

Thomas Barrow, Carpenter.

Daniel Batts, Clerk in the powder mills.

Joseph Bell, Supervisor of Excise.

Widow - Bellingham, Victualler of George.

William Beney, Victualler of 8 Bells.

Richard Bennet, Shoemaker.

William Birch, Cutler & Toyman.

James Blackman, Blacksmith.

Henry Body, Clock-maker.

John Bovis, Shop keeper.

James Cox, Sawyer.

Samuel Croft, Carpenter.

William Croft, Sheriff's Officer.

William Cruttenden, Shoemaker.

John Eversfield, Victualler of White Hart.

John Gausden, Butcher.

Thomas Geer, Grocer & Draper.

- Godden, Excise Officer.

John Griffin, Plumber & Glazier.

Joseph Gurr, Victualler of King's Head.

John Gutsell, Victualler of Half Moon.

George Hailes, Butcher.

John Hammond jun., Clerk to the travelling Waggon.

Lester Harvey Son & Co., Proprietors of the Powder-manufactories.

John Hayward, Sadler & Collar-maker.

John Hayward, Miller.

George Hull, Shoemaker.

George Inskipp, Carpenter.

James Inskipp, Steward to Battel Abbey Estate.

James Inskipp, Carpenter.

Stephen Katte, Stationer.

William King, School master.

Edward Kinward, Linen-draper.

- Lawrence, London Carrier.

Charles Lawrence sen., Ironmonger.

Charles Lawrence jun., Clerk in the mills.

Thomas Lawrence, Peruke-maker.

John Longley, Farmer.

John Longley, Bricklayer.

Thomas Marten, Brewer.

William Marten, Farmer.

John Mayo, Farmer.

John Mills, Tanner & Butcher.

John Morris, Currier & Leather cutter.

John Newington, Victualler of Chequers.

Nicholas Palmer, Dealer in wood.

Richard Palmer, Hat-maker.

John Parker, Tallow-chandler.

Francis Pearson, Taylor & Draper.

John Pearson, Wheelwright.

John Penfold, Shop keeper.

Widow - Pepper, Victualler of Black Horse.

James Philcox, Patten-maker.

Richard Phillipps, Cooper.

Widow - Purfield, Dealer in malt.

Daniel Ray, Silversmith.

John Shaws, Miller & Baker.

William Simms, Butcher.

Widow - Sinden, Shop keeper.

Thomas Sinden, Butcher.

William Slater, Butcher.

George Slatter, Blacksmith.

Nicholas Slatter, Blacksmith.

Thomas Smith, Blacksmith.

John Twine, Cornfactor.

William Tycehurst, School master.

Isaac Venis, Victualler of Gun.

John Vidler, Weaver.

Thomas Vidler, Bricklayer.

C Weller, Collar-maker.

- Wickham, London Carrier.

Daniel Wood, Staymaker.

William Yealding, Taylor.

Other People Mentioned

Earl of - Ashburnham of Ashburnham.

Richard Batchelor, Surgeon of Northiam.

William Biyse Esq., Justice of the Peace of Wigzell, Salehurst.

Rev. Charles Calcall, Rector of Ashburnham.

Rev. Richard Constable, Minister of religion of Heathfield.

Trever Cookfon Esq. of Salehurst.

William Delves Esq., Curate of Crowhurst.

- Durrant Esq. of Salehurst.

Thomas Frewin M.D. of Northiam.

John Fuller Esq., Justice of the Peace of Catsfield.

Rev. Thomas Fuller, Minister of religion of Salehurst.

Francis Howlett, School master of Hailsham.

Samuel Jenner, Surgeon & Apothecary of Northiam.

John King Esq. of Ninfield.

- Lamb Esq. of Salehurst.

Mrs - Lidwell, Keeper of post office of Post office.

William Long, Surgeon & Apothecary of Hailsham.

Rev. William Lord, Rector of Northiam.

William Markwick Esq., Justice of the Peace of Catsfield.

Richard Merricks, Surgeon & Apothecary of Hailsham.

Henry Pelham Esq. of Crowhurst.

John Pook Esq. of Salehurst.

Rev. Robert Russell, Rector of Bodiam.

John Sinnock, Attorney at Law of Hailsham.

Sir Godfrey Webster Bart. of Bodiam Castle, Bodiam.

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.

Transcription details

The text for this section was transcribed by: Mark Collins.

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