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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright March 2010, Oast House Archive; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.

West Hill

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Hastings Castle

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Hastings Castle by Oast House Archive
Remains of castle at top of West Hill. Dating back to 1070, replacing a motte and bailey castle near the shore. The building suffered various destruction over the years. In 1287 it was battered by storms for many months, and in 1339 and 1377 attacked by the French. The following centuries saw much of it collapse as the cliff edge crumbled. During the 16th century King William VIII commissioned that all catholic monasteries were destroyed and the site was left to further decay.

It last suffered damage as a target for bombs during World War II.

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TQ8209 : Remains of the church in Hastings Castle by Stephen Craven

St Clements Caves

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St Clements Caves (Smugglers Caves) by Oast House Archive
The smugglers caves are a series of sandstone caves in the West Hill, said to have been used by smugglers during the 1700s. Hastings was a hotspot for smuggling due to its easy beach access, and protection from the cliffs.

Joseph Golding, a 34 year old greengrocer was cutting a garden seat into the side of the cliff, when his pick went through the rock opening a large cavern.

In The Gentleman Magazine of 1786 a reference to the caves said "An old man and his wife made their habitation from the year 1783, having been discharge from the town workhouse for repeated misbehaviour".

During World War II in 1940 the caves were used as an air raid shelter, housing as many as 600 people.

The caves have been open to the public since the 1800s and the 'Smugglers adventure' as it is known today is open to the public through the year LinkExternal link

TQ8209 : St Clements Caves (Smugglers Caves), Hastings by Oast House Archive

East Hill

Hastings Country Park

See parks and gardens.


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