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Section 2

Voters' Lists

Persons who wished to be registered on the list of voters at one time had to pay 1s for registration.

In 1841 eight people paid their shillings; and for the printing of the list the parish paid 6d.

A Workhouse Master's Agreement

There is extant the "Articles of Agreement Indented, Made, Concluded and Agreed upon the Nineteenth day of May in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy–five between James Blackman and Benjamin Blackman, churchwardens, and Thomas Lingham and James Bellingham, overseers of the poor of the Parish of Hooe in the County of Sussex of the one part, and Robert Barham of Ticehurst, in the same county, clothier, of the other part".

Robert Barham agreed "in a lawful, reasonable, cleanly, decent and proper manner, to lodge, maintain, keep, clothe, provide for, and employ with the parish Workhouse, or elsewhere within the said Parish" poor people and children; to "find" and provide for them, good, wholesome and sufficient meat, drink, clothes of all sorts, washing, lodging and firing, also Nursing and doctors when really needful for the Sick, Aged, Infirm and distempered poor people whatsoever"; to "teach and instruct or cause and procure to be taught and instructed all the poor children of the said Parish put under his Care and Management, to read and to learn by Rote the Church Catechism"; to cause them "duly and constantly to attend Divine Service at the Parish Church of Hooe aforesaid on Sundays and other public days when Divine Service shall be performed"; to find sufficient meat, drink, firing, washing, lodging, nursing, midwife, apothecary or surgeon or any of them that shall be needful in any case of Smallpox, Broken Bones or any other disaster"; also to "bear and pay all Funeral Expenses of such poor people who shall happen to die".

Remuneration for the performance of these duties was £14 monthly with "the free use of the workhouse and almshouses to Keep and Lodge the said poor in and shall and may receive and take to his own use the Benefit, Labour, Profit and Service of the said poor".

Other Workhouse Masters and a Mistress

In 1758 Mrs. Dunk elected "to take care of the poor in the workhouse and to order and direct the same in the best manner she can for the benefit of the Parish and to be allowed £6 for her care of the same from Easter, 1758 to Easter, 1759".

Master Dunk paid the Parish £5 15s for work done by the people in the workhouse.

"Two plots of land in Mill Lane are known as Dunk's Meadow and Dunks Garden respectively".

Richard Webb agreed "to govern the poor in the workhouse and to work on the farm as ordered to do", to have £24 per year and find his wife and self in tea and sugar", (1814).

Peter Carey, the younger, acted as master, receiving 3s 6d per head per week for the paupers in residence with a minimum payment for 25. He undertook to keep and clothe them (1828).

"Settlers" and Gipsies

People who were prepared to become parishioners were welcomed to the Parish; but gipsies were not tolerated. It is evident that assistance was given to "Settlers" for the building of small cottages. The foundation of Russell's existed until 1944 in "Russell's Piece".

Apparently it was fourteen feet long, and ten feet wide, "Work and materials about Russell's house" in 1703 cost £6 9s. As 1703 was the year of the Great Storm, possibly the expenditure on Russell's house was because of damage done by the storm.

In later years we find 5s paid for thatching his house (1708) and another 5s for poles, etc. (1725), besides "straw, and laying it on, 16s, other work 4s 4d".

For glazing the house in 1728 the Parish paid is 6d.

White was granted £2 towards the building of his house (1691). While the building was proceeding, White was accommodated at John Grayling's and the Parish paid 7s a week for him.

Towards Jeremiah James's house £1 was given.

Payments were also made for bricks and ironwork for Hill's house.

At one time there was a fear that gipsies of the name of Lee ("a numerous and bad family") might invade the Parish. As a precaution, a vacant cottage was acquired for £70. This became "Clapsons"; it is now "Spring Cottage".

Hooe Constables

Constables in mediaeval times were officers of high rank. To–day few persons hold positions of dignity as such, but we have a Lord High Constable of England and another of Scotland. Every Hundred and every Parish had its constables for the maintenance of peace until Sir Robert Peel improved the police system early in the 19th century.

Constables were appointed by the Parish during a number of years. The Police Rate levied may have been only on account of expenses connected with them.

Until 1871, two names were submitted each year to the Battle magistrates for their decision as to who should be appointed.

The first mention of a Parish Constable in Hooe is in 1836, although there were those who throughout centuries before did the work of constables. Possibly John Colman was the first in Hooe appointed under Sir Robert Peel's new system.

Early forms of punishment were by the pillory, the stocks and the ducking pond (with a ducking–stool).

The pillory consisted of a pair of movable wooden boards with holes through which the culprit's head and hands were put. While thus fixed, a mob pelted the prisoner with stones and rubbish, sometimes inflicting serious injury. Forgery, perjury and libel were thus punished.

The stocks were a framework of wood with holes to hold the offender'sfeet, and the punishment consisted in being compelled to sit for a prescribed time helpless against any who might throw rubbish or otherwise annoy.

The ducking–stool was a chair at one end of a long pole, suspended over a pond. A "common–scold" was tied in the chair and dipped in the water.

These forms of punishment were abolished in 1837.

A Police Rate was paid in 1841, resulting from Sir Robert Peel's reforms. It was £9 12s 4d. In 1842 it was £12 0s 5d.

Constables' Names

1836 John Colman, who was paid 15s for attendances at Lewes
1840 Henry Carey
1845 Benjamin Cooper
1862 Edwin Goldsmith
1865 James Pilbeam
1866 James Smith, Edward Pilbeam
1869 John Carey, George Carden
1870 John Carey, George Carden
Other names include Jeffery Playfoot, Charles Christmas, John Errey, and James Veness.

Assistant Overseers

1834 James Jenner, who was paid £20 a year
1849 William Rich, at £6
1864 William Christmas
1869 Francis Dodson
1877 Joseph Cuthbert
1878 Richard W. Hayward, at £25 a year
1924 Charles A. Heath

Clerks to the Parish Council

1894 Richard W. Hayward
1924 Charles A. Heath
1927 John J. Newport

Hooe Stocks

Hooe had its "stocks" for the punishment of some offenders as did Ninfield and many another Parish. Those of Hooe were of wood and were placed near the site now occupied by Hooe Village Hall. A local carpenter was paid to make them in 1735.

The Red Lion was probably the place of the parish meeting at which the offender was heard and his ordeal decided upon.

The last to suffer ignominy there (according to tradition) was Jacob Boyce. Having endured punishment for being intoxicated, it is said, he got some kiln faggots which he placed against them and burnt them.

The kiln faggots were the sort used at Brickyard Farm for brick baking.

A Ducking Pond (?)

Ponds existed near the Stocks. One of these may have been a "ducking–pond".

Hooe Haven

It is quite clear that Hooe has in the past possessed a useful haven, a "gate" by which seamen entered the district – some invading, some smuggling, and others (it is hoped) for lawful commerce. Between the years 1739 and 1748 the haven was choked by the sea, and again in 1755.

Saxton's and Speed's maps of the coast give features of Hooe and Pevensey which are balanced in the composite map.

Wallers Haven, which forms the north boundary between Moor Hall and Middle Bridge, may be regarded as an outlet of the River Ashburne.

The Great Plague

In 1665 a Great Plague broke out in London and raged for several months, during which it is computed more than 100,000 persons perished.

By the importation of infected clothing into the country, the disease was carried even to remote villages.

That Hooe did not escape from the scourge may be deduced from the following facts: – 1. The Parish records for ten years are complete for the years 1663–5, 1667–8, 1670–3, but there are none for 1666 and 1669. 2. The assessments numbered 83 in 1665 and fell to 71 by 1670, being 8 fewer than in 1668, indicating that 8 estates had become unoccupied. 3. The Ratepayers numbered 64 in 1665 and fell to 45 by 1670, being 9 fewer than in 1668. 4. The number of burials a year was generally 1, but in 1667 was 7. 5. The average cost of poor relief during the years other than 1670 was £17 5s. For 1670 the cost was £41 1s 9d.

From the above it appears that 1669 was the year when the plague affected Hooe most.

The Revolution of 1689

Poor relief from 1670 averaged £19 4s 4d a year. In 1695 it rose to £50 13s 3d and in 1696 was £52 14s 7d. In 1697 it was reduced to £45 9s 2d; in 1698 to £44 3s 3d. Again it rose (1699) – this time to £77 11s 7d and again decreased.

Why the abnormal expenses?

First, we have the struggle between James II and William II for the throne. Probably, to check any advance by way of Hooe, bridges were partly destroyed, and Hooe men left their farm work to join in the defence of the coast, against James II and his French supporters.

Later, we have William III's war in France against Louis (1695–1697), followed by the Peace of Ryswick (1697). The war with France meant an influx of "maimed" soldiers who toured the land for alms and work and added to the number of prisoners in gaols. There was also the repair or rebuilding of broken and destroyed bridges. In Hooe this meant (in 1699) the spending of £11 2s 5d on bridges. Remembering that a new bridge was built at that time for about £2 10s, that sum meant considerable work had to be done to the bridges to make them serviceable.

The Poor Rate 1699

The Poor Rate in 1699 was: –

For March, is and yielded £25 1s 6d For September, 2s and yielded £50 0s 6d Thus a Penny Rate produced £2 2s The "Discharge " was £77 11s 7d The "Charge" was £75 13s 6d giving a deficit of £1 18s id, which required another penny rate to extinguish. Thirty–four years before the rate was only 4d in the £.

Special Expenses, 1699

"Paid Edward Badcock for James' girl" 6s 0d
"For a load of straw" 7s 0d
"For laying it on" 6s 6d
"Paid J. Porter for burying John Wise" 2s 6d
"More to John Lock for food and drink and laying him forth" 9s 6d
"Paid John Clark for coffin" 4s 0d
"Paid Thos. Newington" £5 0s 0d
"Paid Woodman" £2 0s 0d
"Carrying Woodman away" £1 3s 0d
"Law expense about Woodman" £1 0s 0d
"Widow Hills, a year's pay" £3 12s 0d
"Mr. French's bill" £5 5s 0d
"To John Russell for the Hill boy's apprenticeship £10 0s 0d
"To Thos. Badcock for Hutton" £13 0s 0d
"To John Lock for keeping the children" £13 0s 0d
"Bridge Repairs" £11 2s 5d
(Total) £66 17s 11d

Some Questions re: 1699 Special Expenses

Was the straw for James' girl? If so, why?

Why did John Lock "lay forth" John Wise, instead of a woman?

Why food and drink to John Lock on that occasion?

Queen Mary II died of smallpox during an epidemic in 1694, contracted when attending sufferers from the disease. This fact leads to the query, "When Thomas Bowers' (the Vicar's) son died in 1697 and his wife in 1699 (aged 31), did they die of smallpox?

Was smallpox the cause of the death of John Wise, and of others?

The Great Storm, 1703

The Great Storm occurred on November 26th, 1703. In London alone more than 800 houses were laid in ruins and 2,000 chimney stacks thrown down. In the country upwards of 400 windmills were destroyed, being either blown down or set on fire by the violent whirling of their sails. 4,000 trees in the New Forest were felled and more than 19,000 in Kent. At sea more than 6,000 seamen lost their lives by the foundering of 15 ships of the Royal Navy and 300 merchant vessels. Eddystone Lighthouse with its architect, Mr. Winstanley, was totally destroyed. The Bishop of Bath and Wells (Bishop Kidder) and his lady were killed by the fall of their palace.

The records indicate that Hooe suffered from the storm. The average expenditure in poor relief for 1678 and 1702 (previous years for which returns are available) was £31 9s 3d, in 1704 and 1705 £35 10s 4d; in the four years, £33 10. The expense in 1703 was £45 7s 7d – nearly £12 more.

As to the church, we find a repair to the steeple in 1703 cost 2s 6d and another in 1705,10s 2d.

For the year 1703–04 the parish met the following extraordinary expenses:

"Work and materials" £3 5s 8d
"52ft. old timber, etc." 15s 10d
"200 bricks, etc." 6s 6d
"Straw, and thatch rods" 10s 4d
"J. Lock, for thatching" 11s 10d
"R. Cane, mason's work" 7s 0d
"Nails for Russell's House" 1s 10d
Total £6 9s 0d

Data relative to the Great Plague and the Great Storm

Year Assessments Ratepayers Burials Poor Relief
1663 78 £21 1s 11d
1664 £11 8s 11d
1665 83 64 1
1666 No Records
1667 8259 7 £9 0s 0d
1668 79 54
1669 No Records
1670 71 45 £41 ls 9d
1671 £26 5s 5d
1762 £25 12s 8d
1673 £10 3s 2d

From 1670 to 1695 the cost of poor relief averaged £19 4s 4d

Year Poor Rate
1678 £26 7s 5d
1702 £36 11s 2d
1703 £45 7s 7d
1704 £31 9s 5½d
1705 £39 11s 2d

The Great Earthquake, 1755

A great earthquake occurred at Lisbon in 1755. It caused such a disturbance of the ocean that there was not only destruction of property but also great loss of life in the city – 40,000 to 50,000 people being drowned.

Our own shores were much affected, although more than a thousand miles distant. Hooe Haven was choked with beach, salt pans and works were destroyed, and the church and other buildings were damaged.

Several times before then the Haven had been choked and cleared at great expense (£11,000 in one year). It was not cleared in the above case.

As to Hooe Church, the damage done put 4d on the rate. The cost of the carpentry done was £6 9s 10½d and the glazing, £2 9s 8d. The next greatest expense for glazing was lOs 5d in 1700. In many years it did not exceed 6d; on occasions it was 4s–5s, so the cost of nearly £2 lOs gives us an idea of the wreckage of glass caused in the church by the earthquake. Doubtless, it was not the only building in the village to suffer in that way.

So great was the general havoc and alarm, the government ordered a Fast for February 6th, 1756. On that occasion, the vicar, Dr. Nathanael Torriano, preached a sermon which was afterwards printed. A copy of it is in the British Museum. One passage in it raises a question as to the edifice, for it reads. "Do not prostitute His House of prayer by changing it into a Dormitory, or Place to sleep in. This is not the Fact that God hath chosen, as you have heard in the Chapter for this Day".

The Church Rate; its application

The Church Rate varied from id to is in the £. When extensive repairs were being carried out, the highest rate was levied. From i700 to 1778 it varied from 2d to is, the proceeds amounting to £4 5s 7d from the lowest rate to £34 is 3d from the highest – generally the rate was 3d or 6d. In 1865 it was id. A rate of is produced in 1705, £34 is 3d; in the next year £23 16s; in 1756, £26 11s 6d.

The following entry was written in June, 1870 –"Resolved:

  1. The church rate to be continued and collections made in church, but voluntary subscriptions for church expenses will always be thankfully received.
  2. That landlords of such tenants as refuse to pay church rates be applied to on that subject at the discretion of the vicar and churchwardens".

Nine years later it was recorded that the church rate and subscriptions yielded £5 5s 3½d while the bills amounted to £9 3s 10½d

"Church" lands were exempt from the Church Rate. These included the Vicarage, The Vicar's Farm, The Church House and The Parsonage. Until i663 the clergy had the responsibility of rating their lands themselves.

The last Church Rate, of 1½d in the £, was levied in April, 1890, as a "voluntary" rate.

Churchwardens' Accounts

Churchwardens' accounts were rendered under the headings "charge" and "discharge". The "charge" was their receipts and the "discharge" their payments. Cash items were set out in £ s d columns with two figures in each however small the amount, until 1725. Sixpence was written "00/00/06"; five shillings as "00/05/00".

The churchwardens bought coverings for the Communion Table, "fair linen cloths" for the vessels, "mats", communion bread and wine, surplices, registers and other books, furniture, a sprinkling basin, a bier, a ladder; they paid for repairs to the walls, roof, seats, locks, sundial and a stile; for bell ropes and bell ringing; for cleaning, hedging, ditching, mowing and "vermin" killing; they gave alms to poor persons, made collections on behalf of distressed areas, paid pensions to retired clergy, paid rent and tithe for a church field, law expenses and various fees and taxes.

Rubrics at the end of the order for the Administration of The Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion, enjoin: –

(a) "The Bread and Wine for the Communion shall be provided by the Curate and the Churchwardens at the charge of the Parish". (b) "That every Parishioner shall communicate at the least three times in the year, of which Easter to be one".

Records for eighty–six years, 1698 to 1784, relate how these requirements were met in the parish two centuries ago.

The first entries were made during the incumbency of the Rev. Thomas Bowers, 1698 to 1708, and were signed by him until 1704.

During his time there were three celebrations a year to meet the minimum requirements of the rubric. In 1698 they were recorded separately. Each cost 3s, showing there was no larger attendance at the Easter Communion.

Holy Communion and Communicants

In 1700 there were only two celebrations, with expenses 6s 10d. In that year, time and money were spent on a lawsuit about the Church House.

The average cost of the celebrations was 3s 7d.

A note in 1707 informs us a bottle was broken. Possibly bottles at that time were rather costly.

As a bottle of wine cost 2s (1732), considerably more than a bottleful was used on each occasion. From this fact we may infer the number of communicants was large. As there was no church at Little Common or Normans Bay then, probably residents in those districts had to come to Hooe Church for Holy Communion. Also, the number of celebrations being the minimum, church folk were under a particular obligation to attend.

We come now to the period when the Rev.Thomas Lord was the vicar (1708–1728). He signed five entries.

During his incumbency there were generally three celebrations a year, but in each of three years there were four. In 1722 there were only two, costing 7s 2d. Evidently there was a cause for the omission, for we find in the following year's return a "register" is mentioned for the first time and 5s paid to a Mr. Thorne "for the register". This item we find in subsequent accounts, paid to the vicar. A register book was provided in 1724 for £1 7s.

The average cost of celebrations during this period was also 3s 7d.

In 1723 there were five celebrations. From this year the number was generally four a year. In 1729 and in 1737 there were five. From the separate entries in 1731 (3s 10d; 3s 9d; 3s 9d; 3s 10d), we find still no special attendance at Easter.

The bread and wine used at the Communion on February 6th, 1756 cost 4s 4d. this indicates a remarkable attendance, although the vicar (Dr. Nathaniel Torriano) had rebuked one of his congregation for sleepiness.

The average cost of celebrations from 1723 to 1783 rose to 4s 2d. This seems to imply increased numbers of communicants.

A Carpet of Silk

Churchwardens are required to provide "a carpet of silk or other decent stuff for the Communion Table", "a fair linen cloth", "a large Bible", and (among other things) a pulpit, a surplice, "a parchment register of baptisms, marriages and burials, and a chest for keeping it in".

A new Communion Cloth was provided in 1755 which cost 18s 6d. There were also "mats" in 1700 and in 1733. "A new napkin" in 1704 was 3s 4d; another was supplied in 1723 with a tankard and a plate, together costing 8s 2d. A communion "cup and cover" now used in the church bear the date letter, 1640.

Sundry Mats

Other mats were furnished – mats for the pulpit and desk, in 1700; for the seats or benches, in 1725, costing 14s, and others in 1733. A cloth for the pulpit "pillow" (7s 7d) and making (3s 6d) cost 11s 1d.

An Altar

Mats for an altar, costing 3s, were bought in 1723, for cleaning and washing the altar in 1732 the clerk was paid 6d.

We may presume this altar was in St. Margaret's chapel. The chimneystack of the vestry was not erected until 1825. In it may be seen what appeared to be the sculptured stones of an altar – possibly of this altar. It may have escaped destruction before 1825 because it belonged to a private chapel.


Surplices do not seem to have been bought ready made. We have an entry of the purchase of holland and thread for making a surplice in 1740. The materials cost 2s 6d. A general annual payment to the clerk for washing and mending surplices was is 6d. In 1739 we have an item "mending the surplice and holland and thread", 2s 6d.


There is no mention of the purchase of a Bible. We find it stated that the Church Bible was sent away for binding in 1722, and again in 1754. With the cost of carriage the outlay was 9s and 8s 6d respectively.

A Common Prayer Book in 1711 cost 1s. One in 1715 was 15s. A book "for the alteration of the Common Prayer" in 1715 (when George I was crowned) was 1s. A book "For the Proclamation of the Thanksgiving" (1715) was 1s 6d. Five papers "for the cattle and for the Fast" in 1746 were 5s. A book for the Fast (1756) cost 2s. One "for the Thanksgiving" (1759) cost 2s. This may have been after the victory at Plassy.

Hymn books and psaltars are not mentioned.


A new pulpit and desk were obtained from a Mr. Weston at Battle in 1771. They cost £21.

A chest for parish documents in 1708 cost 10s. Two locks were added to it in 1763 for 3s 6d.

Four hinges at 2s were fixed on "doors of church seats" in 1716.

There was a Poor Box in 1708 to which hasps and keys were added for 2s. "A sprinkling basin to set in the font" was purchased for 1s 9d in 1718. This, a heavy pewter article, is now in the vestry.

In 1700 a bier was provided. It cost 2s 6d. Another in 1724 was 6d.

Mending the church door in 1732 cost 3s.

Repairing the steeple, by "Thomas Brown, mason, and his boy, for one day" (1703) cost 2s 6d. 1s 8d was then a day's wage.

Repairs to a buttress and the steeple in 1705 cost 10s 2d.

A ladder was provided for the church in 1762. Its spar cost £1 5s, staves and making 8s.

Repairs to the roof and walls being executed by the churchwardens, who bought the materials and employed the workmen, it was necessary to have a ladder for the church.

Doubtless a number of the congregation came on horseback. For their need a "horse block" was provided. For this, timber and board, rail and nails "for fitting up the Block bass" (base) cost 5s 4d.

The Royal Arms

The King's arms (George l's) were "drawn out" by Richard Waggoner in 1723 and the church "beautified" for £7 19s 6d. "Paint, pencils for the king's arms, 17s 6d.

A weathercock costing 10s was erected in 1704. Two years afterwards 3s was paid for setting it up twice.

Between the nave and belfry in 1771 a partition was built. "Deals, laths, mortar, lime" cost £2 15s; wages amounted to £1 11s 2d. The total cost, therefore, was £4 6s 2d. Many a worshipper since its destruction has wished for a similar check on the draught from the west door.

Possibly the partition was removed when the "singing gallery" was put up.

Other Expenditure

Hooks, brads, glue, and nails for seats in 1700 cost 14s 9d. Deal boards from Hastings cost £3 2s 9d (1700) and the carriage was 10s.

Two posts, two rails, and five bars for a stile, and carriage amounted to 7s.
4 lbs glue (1755) were 2s 8d.
3 screws for the Dial (sundial) in 1755 were 6d.

Roof and Wall Repairs

Carriage of sand to the church (1699 and 1719) cost 2s.
13 bus. lime, 2 bus, hair, cost 8s 6d
400 bricks (1755) 4s 0d
Laths and nails (1703) 1s 0d
Lampblack, white lead and nails (1720) 2s 1d
2 loads of lime used about the church (1699) £1 2s 0d
"For fetching two great barrels of water" 1s 0d
2 loads of sand 2s 0d
1 load of earth 1s 0d
2,000 tiles £1 16s 0d
9 ridge tiles 1s 6d
"Paid John Smith, the Carpenter, for materials and for work" 2s 3d
2 loads of sand from the sea 8s 0d
Other sand was fetched from parish Farm. "Parish Officers" were free to get sand ("binding sand") from the hilly bank there and water from the pond.
Paid the carpenter, Roger Harrison, for work about the church (1699) 14s 2d
Paid the mason (bricklayer) 11s 0d
Paid Matthew Richardson 2s 0d
For lime (1703) 16s 0d
A load of rock sand 2s 0d
6 ridge tiles 1s 0d
A load of sea sand 7s 0d
Half a hundred tiles 9d
Carriage 1s 5d
4 bus. lime (1723) 4s 0d
1 bus. hair 1s 0d
300 paving bricks (1730) £1 4s 0d
500 tiles and 3 bus. lime (1732) 11s 6d
50 laths and 200 nails 1s 6d
34 bus. lime and 2 loads of sand 19s 0d
2,500 tiles and 8 bus. lime £2 14s 0d
3 ridge tiles 6d
Fetching 2 loads of timber (1736)
9s 0d
For getting up the rafters (1739) 5s 0d
Fetching rafters, sand, lime, tiles and sand 10s 0d
Fetching 4 loads of sand (1742) 12s 0d
Fetching water 3s 0d
2,000 tiles and 6 ridge tiles £1 17s 0d
Lime and two loads of sand (1754) 5s 0d
Four hundred bricks 4s 0d
3 bus. lime, 1 load sand (1757) 2s 6d
Drink for the mason 1s 0d

Clerk 's Wages

The clerk's wage for many years was £1 6s 8d a year. It was raised to £2 2s 8d in 1771.

Church Cleaning

For cleaning the church walls (1703) 2s 0d
For cleaning away the snow (1726) 1s 0d
For mowing the churchyard (1719) 1s 6d
For cleaning the church (1720) 1s 6d
Cleaning church wall of ivy (1702) 2s 0d
Brooms to clean with were a penny each and three or four were bought at a time.

Lighting and Heating

There is no record of any payment for heating the church. The chimney in the vestry was not privided until 1825. The record runs, "The Vestry agreed to build a chimney to the chancel, and to put in a grate".

We find only one expenditure for lighting:

"Candles for the singers" (1755) 1s 2d. This was when the Rev. Nathanael Torriano was the incumbent.


In 1866 "several pews and sittings were allotted, and applied to the several farms and holdings in the parish, according to the names and notices this day attached to them".

Court Fees and Expenses

Court fees were usually 5s. In addition to the fees were "expenses". Expenses allowed were by a Resolution in 1701, of which the following is a copy.

"Memorandum, April 21st, 1701. It is agreed and concluded upon by the Parish of Hooe that the allowance for the churchwardens' expenses at the first

Visitation (over and above the Court fees) shall be fifteen shillings and the second Visitation, eight shillings.

Witness our hands:– Thomas Bowers, Minister
George Elfred
John Gilby
John Longley
John Blackman
John Blackman
John Tuttesham
John Hunt
Walter Paris
Michael Atkins
Richard Brook

When entering the sum of 15s in the 1703 accounts, the writer added "by consent of the Parish for beer allowed". Possibly the resolution was moved because "expenses" (beer money) at the Citation in 1700 amounted to £2.

On such occasions the vicar was allowed 2s 6d for his dinner.

The Bells and Bellringers

The church has a peal of five bells which probably date from the fifteenth century. In 1789 they were recast and again in 1899. The massive tower was built to carry a great weight of bells.

Among expenditure on the bells we find:–

A set of bell ropes (1700) 14s 0d
Billing the bell frame and mending the floors (1703) £26 10s 0d
A set of bell ropes (1704) 12s 0d
Other sets were bought in 1719, 1741, 1745, 1757 costing from 12s to 16s each
1 pint of oil for the bells (1704) 1s 0d
Oil and honey for the bells (1708) 6s 0d
1 qt. of oil (1747) 4s 0d
Oil and tallow for the bells (1744) 5s 4d
"Setting up Gosblock for the bells, and timber" (1704) 3s 2d
Mending bell Ropes (1741) 1s 6d
Coronation, Thanksgiving and Guy Fawkes Days were grand times for the bell–ringers, Here are some entries:–
November 5th. (1700, 1702 and other years) 5s 0d
Queen Anne's Coronation (1702) 7s 6d
Thanksgiving Day for the victory at Blenheim (1704) 10s 0d
September (1704) 7s 6d
On Anniversaries of Thanksgiving Days 5s 0d
"Paid for the ringers' beer" (1730) 10s 0d
On Anniversaries of the Coronation 5s 0d
"A Gallon of Brandy at the Raising of the bell" (1704) 4s 0d

On the Coronation Days of George I (1715) and George 11(1729) the churchwardens spent respectively £1 1s 6d and £2 us Od

Re "Gosblock"

To learn what a "gosblock" was, inquiry was made of Mears and Stainbank, the Whitechapel bell founders. They referred the question to Mr. H. B. Walters, F.S.A. who replied that it might be "goblock", a lump or mass, or, "goose–block", because possibly resembling in form a tailor's "goose".

A third sugestion, offered by the founders, is that it was what is known as a "Salley–block", – a solid piece of wood, bored, with the hole well "trumpeted", that is, showing a "gob", or mouth.

The Churchyard Hedge

The following entry about the churchyard is surprising:

"Making hedge and ditch against the churchyard" (1719) 5s 0d

Was a part of the boundary without a hedge and ditch before this? Had the work anything to do with closing South Church Lane?


"Given to distressed seamen" (1711) 1s 0d
"Paid 8 seamen having a pass" (1717) 1s 0d
"Given to seamen where the sea broke in" (i722) 5s 0d
"Paid to a great . . . . woman" (1720) 2s 0d
"Given man in distress" (1724) 1s 0d
"Given two lame men" 1s 0d
"Gave two women (1730)" 1s 6d
"Gave a man from Turkey" (1732) 1s 6d 1s 6d
"To several slaves from Algiers" (1753) 1s 6d
"To 4 redeemed slaves" (1754) 1s 0d
"To 5 women and 6 children with separate passes" (1762) 5s 0d

Other gifts to seamen are recorded. "Maimed Soldiers" and "charitable uses" are included with "gaol money" in payments of 15s 2d (1700) and 15s (i702).

Payments for Killing Vermin

Among "vermin" were included hedgehogs, polecats and foxes.

"Killing a hedgehog" (1703) 2d
"Paid for hedgehogs" (1705) 3s 6d
"Paid for a polecat" (1705) 4d
"Paid for a fox's head" (1706) 1s 0d


Confirmations were held with intervals of three or four years. These incurred expenses.

In 1752 the cost was 16s 6d, in 1755, 10s 4d. Presumably the outlay was on beer.


Pensions of 3s 4d a year were paid to clergymen who do not appear to have been incumbents of the Parish.

In 1725 two years' pension "due to the vicar of Bexhill was paid to Mr. Granstone; in 1729 another 3s 4d.

"Paid Mr. Mimer 3 years' pension" 10s 0d
"Paid to Mr. Ashburnham his pension" (1741) 3s 4d
"Paid Dr. Ashburnham" (1751) 3s 4d
"Paid Rev. Mr. Goodwin" (1756) 3s 4d
"Paid The Rev. Bishop Isbarham" (1756) 3s 4d


Queen's tax, 10d, was paid in 1703. Church Tax, 8s 6d was paid in 1725 and 1s 8d in 1729.


The churchwardens paid a tithe on the church field to the vicar until 1712 when the following resolution was passed:

"Memorandum, April 21st, 1712. That whosoever use the church field for the time to come shall pay the tithes (if any be due) and that it be not paid by the churchwardens nor be allowed in their accounts". This "memorandum" was not signed but it was adhered to.


"Lord's rent", or "quit rent", was paid to the lord of the manor for the church field.

Sundry Other Payments

"Paid to the Summoner" (1698) 1s 0d
"Carrying out of dirt and sand from the old seat" (1716) 2s 0d

This item suggests there was gross neglect of church cleaning, or that materials for church repair had been stored in the building.

In 1716, a shilling was paid for mending Horsebridge. What had the churchwardens to do with the bridge?

"Half a pound of flattes" that cost i½d was an entry in 1705. What was "flattes"? From another entry we find flax is meant.

"Paid for parchment" (1741) 1s 10d
"Charge for going to Pevensey after the Rev. Whenam" (1746) 5s 5d
"Writing church book and accounts" (1719) 3s 0d
"Horse and man to carry Donstone to Battle" 2s 6d
"For order, copy of order and warrant" 6s 0d

Who was Donstone? Why did the churchwardens get an order to remove him and have him conveyed to Battle?

"Carrying wood from the churchyard to J. Porter" 1s 6d
"1 bus, of malt in J. Porter′s sickness"(John Porter was the clerk) 4s 11d
"To malt expended on account of the workmen while they were new roofing the north side of the church" (1763) 5s 0d
"July 3rd, 1756: For going to Rye for the salt fish" 2s 6d
"Paid Francis Gover for a Trut" 1s 0d
"John Dunk, Ringing money" (1756) 10s 0d

The "trut" appears to have been a sea–trout (salmo trutta). Why did the churchwardens spend 2s 6d to get a shilling fish from Rye in the year of the Fast which was on account of the Lisbon earthquake? Was there a Fast in July 1756, as well as in February?

Why, too, did the churchwardens pay John Dunk 10s for bell–ringing? Was there extraordinary bell–ringing in 1756 and that by John Dunk of Mill Lane, Hooe Bogs?

Annual Church Expenditure

Church expenses varied much from year to year. In 1704 they amounted to £38 3s; in 1705 to £47 10s; in 1784, £4 only.

The average for sixteen years was £17. Expenses in 1756, the "earthquake" year were £15 4s lOd.

Church Alms and Poor Relief (1 670–1 705)

From 1670 to 1695 Poor Relief averaged £19 4s 4d a year.

In 1671 it was £26 16s 10d
In 1694 it was £27 13s 11d
In 1695 it was £50 13s 3d
In 1696 it was £52 14s 7d
In 1697 it was £46 9s 2d

We have no record of "alms" before 1698.

Year Church Alms Poor Relief
1698 7s 9d £44 3s 3d
1699 £2 15s 3d £77 11s 7d
1700 None £52 15s 0½d
1701 15s 0d £47 2s 4d
1702 15s 0d £36 11s 2d
1703 15s 2d £45 7s 7d
1704 15s 2d £31 9s 5½d
1705 15s 2d £39 11s 2d

The Alms in 1698 and 1699 were to "Passengers" – that is, to men, women and children who were tramping the country in search of employment and homes.

The £2 15s 3d represents payments to about 80 persons.

The 15s paid from 1701 to 1705 was "gaol money and for wounded soldiers".

Law Expenses

A law suit was begun in 1705. Having spent more than £8 on the case, a halt was called the next year, as the following decision shows: –
–"Memorandum, March 25th 1706. It was agreed by the Parishioners of Hooe that before any further prosecution of the suit be made for the recovery of the church house and land, the case be fairly stated in writing and the advice of two counsellors had generally upon it; and after the advice is had, a Parish Meeting be called to consider further what Resolutions to take.

Thos. Bowers, Vicar,
Henry Barnes,
John Gilbert,
John Longley,
John Hunt,
John Ticehurst,
Richard Brook,
John Blackman.

Expenses incurred in 1705 were: –

"To Mr. Ashbee in the spiritual court" 1s 6d
"When he called the evidence at Boreham" £1 1s 2d
"Paid Mr. Ashbee at the Stocks (Hooe)" £2 3s 0d
"Also" 16s 8d
"Copies of the church house" 2s 0d
"Two copies from Mr. Meddley at Lewes" 14s 0d
"Six subpoenas" 6s 0d
"Goody Hills, a witness at Lewes" 5s 0d
"Goody Hills, Goody Lunsford, Stephen Doust, Roger Harrison, George Colman, John Ticehurst" £2 2s 0d
"Other expenses" £1 2s 0d
"Horse hire to Lewes, 3 times" 6s 0d
"Horse hire to Burwash, 4 times" 4s 0d
"For copying the will of the Parish (or Church) field" 5s 0d
Total £8 8s 4d

Additional expenses in 1706 and 1707 were: –

"Spent at Woods Corner with Mr. Chambers for the parish business" 2s 6d
"Expenses July 19th" 10s 0d
"Paid Mr. Medley his fee for searching for a copy of the survey book of the Manor of Hooe" 3s 4d
"Paid Mr. Barratt for searching for Brooker′s will" 1s 0d
"Expenses at that time and horse hire" 14s 0d
"Paid Mr. Chambers" £3 8s 10d
"Expenses when Mr. Chambers drawed the case to show the Counsellors at London" 5s 0d
"To Mr. Thornhill as Counsel in Chancery for advice" 13s 4d
"Expenses to London" £1 2s 7d
"Journey and horse hire to London" £1 0s 0d
"Goodman Ticehurst for use of the parish suit last year" 4s 0d
Grand Total £17 14s 5d

It is evident there was no need to do more than procure advice, for we find the property in dispute was recovered by the parish from the lord of the manor.

The Church House

We find the following references to the church house, otherwise called the "parish" house and the "vicar′s" house:

–"Paid Richard Smith for rent of the church house" (1667) 13s 4d
–"For bricks, dust and a mason′s time for making an oven in the church house" (1685) 8s 0d
–"Spent on timber and work about the church house" £3 16s 0d
–"Mason′s work" 18s 0d
–"For bricks to underpin the parish house" 6s 0d
–"For earth to mend the wall of the house" 5s 0d
–"Mud to make earth for the parish house" 2s 0d
"For glazing the church house" (1701) 2s 8d

The church house was probably the priory of St. Martin, Hooe, which was founded by the abbot of Bec Abbey when he received the gift of the manor.

By 1667 it had become dilapidated, and was rented from the occupier of Court Lodge, or from a tenant of Lord Ashburnham, by the overseers. Extensive landlord′s repairs were carried out by the overseers and it became the "parish" house.

We have an entry that the parish paid 10s to John Matthews, occupier of Court Lodge, for Doust′s rent – that is, presumably, for the church house. When John Gilbert resided at Court Lodge the parish paid him the 10s.

Richard Smith is given in 1697 as a tenant of Lord Ashburnham′s (rateable value £4 p.a.). In that year the parish paid Goodman Gilbert 8s 6d – probably a part of the year′s rent. In 1698 half a year′s rent was paid to Mr. Bowers, the vicar. In 1699 and following years, to 1702, rent was paid for the "vicar′s house" at £1 10s a year. But the vicarage, his residence, was assessed at £20 p.a.

Afterwards we read of the dispute, which led to an action at law. Possible the lord of the manor considered he had a right to the church and field which had belonged to the monks when they had the manor. The overseers and churchwardens, having spent much money on making the house habitable for poor persons and the field servicable, claimed them for the parish and established their claim.

The ruins of the foundations of the "priory", recorded to have been visible in 1849, were probably those of the "church house".

There are entries which show the church and field were at times rented together for the poor.

Stephen Doust, at one time a churchwarden, at another an overseer, lived in the house at a rent of 10s a year paid by the parish.

From entries in 1695 we gather the house and field became "Thomas Reeves′ house and craft", the parish paying the rent of £2 10s for the house and 30s for the field. The churchwardens paid the tithe, 3s, to the vicar.

In 1703, the rent (£2) was paid to Mr. Fuller, the lord of the manor "for the use of his house, due Ladyday, 1704".

Quit rent, or "Lord′s tax", was also paid until 1767. The churchwardens raised the rent of the field to £2 10s from 1760 to 1764 and in 1767.

The Church Field

An entry in the churchwarden′s book in 1710 informs us there was paid "Lord′s rent for a field belonging to the church of Hooe . . . . holding of that manor". The receipt for the sum paid (5s 4d) for eight years′ rent was signed by Jeremiah Gilbert, of Court Lodge.

The rent was not paid regularly annually. At one time eleven years′ rent was paid (1723). For 1744 the rent was 10d.

In 1757 seven years′ rent (4s 8d) was paid to James Bellingham of Court Lodge.

Besides the rent the churchwardens received money from sales of faggots. Their expenses at times were heavy. They spent on–

"Cutting out tree tops and making faggots" 3s 0d
"Planting quicksets" 7s 6d
"Felling, cleaving, hewing and holeing posts and rails" 12s 0d
"Two double hole posts, hewed and holed" 1s 4d
"Rails for enclosing the field" 18s 1d
"Other material and labour for fencing" 18s 4d
"40 rods of ditching, at 1½d to 3d a rod" 7s 9½d
"Posts and rails" (1706) 16d 0d
"For measuring the field" 1s 6d
"45 posts, rails and setting up" (1723) £1 13s 8d
"11 rods of hedge and ditch" 11s 0d
"100 stakes" 3s 6d
"Fence" (1755) 11s 3d

In 1698 they spent £3 11s 8½d and received £2 0s 6d suffering a deficit of £1 11s 2½d.

To relieve the Poor Rate, in 1834 grants were made to persons who would, to enable them to emigrate to America. The grants were made from a loan and the loan was partly met by selling the field and two houses and gardens, August 16th 1838. The sale realised £210 19s 10d. The area of the field was given as 2a. 3r.; to–day the ordnance survey gives it as 2.9 acres.

Another Law Case

Another, called "Dickerson′s" suit, is referred to in 1706. We have this entry:

"Paid Mr. Ashbee arrears in Dickerson′s suit, £1 13s 4d. Mr. Dickerson was the occupier of Hunts (now Oldbury) Farm.

Regular Clergy and Secular Clergy

Priests of the religious orders, including abbots, priors and monks, were "regular" clergy; those who owed their positions to the state church (archbishops, bishops, incumbents, curates) were "secular" clergy. Hooe has been served by both. Under regular clergy Hooe was a prebend of the Collegiate Church of St. Mary–in–the–Castle, Hastings (sometimes with Ninfield or Wartling, at other times with both), and the clergy officiated in that church.

Although bishops and abbots sat together at Synods, there was not always harmony among them.

Between 1278 and 1280 Edward I seized the barony of Hastings (among others) and held the prebends (including Hooe) in his own possession for twenty years or more. This appears to have been from his need of money, from his dislike of the wealth and growth of monastic bodies, and his strained relations with France. The value of Hooe prebend then was about £16 a year.

In his reign there was a dispute as to the Bishop of Chichester′s right to cite the chaplains and canons to his synod. On January 28th 1300, the Archbishop of Canterbury was prohibited to visit the chapel (St. Mary–in–the–Castle Church) and prebend. In the next year, when the Archbishop attempted again to visit, the Constable of the castle (Hastings Castle) was ordered not to admit him or anyone from him. On September 15th, 1302, the Archdeacon of Lewes was also prohibited visiting. In the year following the Archbishop cited John de Cadomo, whom the king (Edward I) had collated (placed in a benefice–rectory or vicarage) to answer for the intrusion. The King immediately ordered the Archbishop not to intermeddle till the affair was determined by his own court; but in 1305 the Archbishop did visit and appointed a dean. For this he was summoned before the King for contempt. Not until the reign of Henry VI (1422–1454) were the chapel and its appendages put under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Chichester. Possibly it was then that the parsonage was built.

Here we may note that the Abbot of Battle Abbey had in Hooe 50 acres of land besides marsh land and two salt works "free from all episcopal and other ecclesiastical jurisdiction and from all temporal exaction and service" (that is, free from all intermeddling by secular clergy). Twenty–five acres formed part of the endowment of St. Martin′s, Hollington; the Canons of Holy Trinity, Hastings, were provided with a salt pan in Hooe by Peter de Scotney; 20 acres of marsh were given to the Chapel of St. James, Northeye (Speed′s Nordy Chapel) by William de Northeye.

By building churches, "cells", and "chantries" (chapels) and by endowing them so that sacrifices of masses and prayers might be offered by monks on their behalf, people expected to procure the salvation of their souls and those also of their forefathers and descendants. In the 14th century there was quite a mania for erecting and endowing such places.

The Priory of St. Martin at Hooe may have been suppressed by Edward III in 1340. Henry VIII may have had the buildings demolished between 1535–7. Tons of masonry of ecclesiastical architecture which were obviously never part of the present edifice were found under the floor in 1890 and buried in the churchyard.

At its demolition the property was vested in the crown and passed to laity.

Parsonage Farm

The original Parsonage Farm House may have been built in the 15th Century. In the rear of the present house there is an interesting well, irregularly lined with boulders and bricks, that supplies the house. But another old well has been recently discovered in a field, and it may have belonged to the Parsonage.

The Parsonage was a "church" estate. This we know because a Church Rate was not levied on it. It is mentioned in 1663 as occupied by William Boorne and rated at £16 a year.

There appears to have been an addition or considerable alteration in 1672, for the assessment was reduced during twenty–four years – (f23, £21, £20) to £19 in 1696 when Walter Paris (or Price) occupied it. In 1748 it was assessed at only £6 a year.

In the last century the farm house was divided into four or five tenements for labourers on Grove Farm.

In recent years it has been thoroughly renovated.

The old well is a curiosity because its upper part is roundish in shape, but after about six feet below it is roughly oval. The lower part is of yellow sandstone boulders, the upper of a greyish rock – possibly iron–stone, and of bricks of different thicknesses and sizes.

It is covered by two flagstones. It is sixteen feet deep and water is drawn from it by a pump in the house.

The Vicarage

There is no mention of a vicar or of a vicarage in parish books before 1668.

During the Commonwealth there were Puritan "Ministers of the Word", or "parsons". On the accession of Charles II in 1660, Episcopacy was re–established, and all incumbents were required to conform to the Act or resign. The clergy had to be episcopally ordained, to declare their assent to the Book of Common Prayer, and subscribe to the Thirty–nine Articles of Religion, to take the oath of canonical obedience, and to renounce the right of taking arms, on any pretence whatsoever, against the king.

About two thousand parsons refused to conform to the Act and left their livings.The Rev. William Watson, parson of Hooe, may have been one of them.

In the old assessment lists the name of the vicar was given as the "clerk" (in Holy Orders), and was generally the first which was rated (for the Poor Rate) at £50 a year. This sum was soon reduced: in 1678 it was £35; in 1698, £25; in 1748, £1. At the close of the nineteenth century it was in such a bad state that it was demolished, and Glebe Cottages were built on its site.

Nordy, or Northeye Chapel

John Speed in his map of 1610 places Nordy Chapel between Hooe Village and the "Scluce". Probably its site was near the present Chapel Bridge.

But we learn that marsh floods proved too much for the chapel there, and another was built on (or near) Constables Farm at Barnhorn. Of this a ruin existed in 1898.

It is highly probable that the monks who ministered in that "cell" co–operated with those of Hooe priory, traversing the track from the church, by Court Lodge, over "House Meadow" and a footbridge, by the "crooked wall", over the East Stream by another bridge, and across the fields.

On the suppression of the Priory, the parish may have been ministered to by a parson.

A parson of Hooe, Marmaduke Burton, is mentioned in 1612 as having a musket.

Bee Abbey

Bec Abbey was built in 1034 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The monks were of the Order of St. Benedict, vowed to poverty, obedience and chastity. Several rose to high positions, as Lanfranc, Archbishop of Can–terbury; Ernuif, Bishop of Rochester) and Gilbert Crispin, Abbot of Rochester.

Bec posessed both the manor and the priory at Hooe.

In 1415 Henry V attacked the abbey and the monks had to garrison a for–tress to protect it.

St. Mary–in–the–Castle Hastings

St. Mary–in–the–Castle, Hastings, of which Hooe was a prebend, was founded by Henry of Eu in the reign of Henry I. or by his father.

Incumbents of Hooe shared in its revenue or officiating there at stated times.

Revenues of abbeys and priories were from rents, tithes, legacies, tolls and fees (as at fairs), by which they became wealthy and able to relieve the sick, poor and needy. In time the monks and nuns were suspected of licentious living and it was thought wise to check their activities.

Edward III suppressed the alien priories and with money so acquired made alterations to churches, substituting two–light windows for the narrow lancet ones. We may, therefore, be sure the perpendicular window now in the church replaced the Norman ones at the cost of the Priory. This in 1340.

Then St. Mary–in–the–Castle became the "King′s Free Chapel" – "liberated" from foreign control.

Two centuries later Henry VIII appointed Commissioners to inspect all monasteries, priories and nunneries. Their report was adverse, with the result that "376 monasteries were suppressed and their revenues, amounting to £32,000 a year, were granted to the King; besides their goods, chattles and plate valued at £100,000".

This act was followed by insurrections among the poor and the Pilgrimage of Grace.

These disorders were ended by hanging the offenders in trees, quartering them and beheading them. Such a fearful fate was met by many abbots.

Altogether 645 monasteries were suppressed, 2,374 chantries and free chapels, 110 hospitals and 90 colleges were demolished. All their property and tithes went to the King and through him to laymen. Thus Hooe was given to Sir Anthony Browne who also received Battle Abbey.

Parsons and Vicars of Hooe

John de Woodford John Ivot John Gilmor
John de Flete Henry Brackle Robert James
John de Thornton Thomas de Stanley John Moore
John de Wade William de Aston John Bushnell 1656–1660
John de Haselarton Salomon Haywode William Watson 1660–1668
Armond Flitting Thomas Staundon Henry Fisher 1668–1680
John de Flete Thomas Boteler John Brown 1680–1687
John de Tamworth Walter Gibbes Thomas Bowers 1687–1708
John Ellerker Ralph Repyngdon Thomas Lord 1708–1728
Robert de Walton Nicholas Mocking Richard Thornton 1728–1748
Nicholas Talmach Thomas Standon Thomas Budd 1748
William de Osberston Hugh Holbache Mr. Wilkinson 1758
William Stanford Richard Blythe Mr. Lewes 1759
Thomas de Alston John Everdon Joseph Wise 1762
John Henry Thomas Bailly Thomas Fuller 1796–1832
John de Erdington William Mokking George Haygarth
Thomas Alston Richard Wells Charles C. Snowden 1836
Robert Richond John Champayn Richard King Sampson 1839
John Landreyn John Wood John Oswald Routh 1840–1853
John de Roxceby James Whitstone Thomas Jones 1853–1857
Robert Faryngton Robert Phipps Naason Manning 1857–1889
John Scarle Richard Hollyer Cuthbert Routh 1889–1921
Richard Stockton John Eglionby Charles A. Weeks 1921–1934
Nicholas Slack Marmaduke Burton Archibald W. E . Dowse 1934–
John Vyne John Gilvin
William de Aston William White

The Highway Rate: Its Application

The Highway Rate was levied at Michaelmas for the ensuing year. It was generally 6d in the £, in other years 3d, 9d, or is. In 1835 the period was changed from "Michaelmas to Michaelmas" to "Ladyday to Ladyday". The assessments were those of the overseers, and were not as numerous as those for the Poor Rate.

In 1794 the number of ratepayers was 43, including 19 "outdwellers"; in 1825 the number had risen to 47 and in 1840 was 50.

One ratepayer, John Blackman, had ten estates.

In the surveyors′ Composition lists, ratepayers′ names are given in alphabetical order.

The Surveyors′ Books

The surveyors′ books give very little interesting matter. Utensils provided by the parish were: –

1 Road plough
1 Cross mattock
2 Half mattocks
1 Hoe
1 Shovel

The prices per ton the parish agreed to pay for cartage of beach trom the sea to various distances are stated – the highest being 3s.

Items of expenditure are not supplied: only parish officers′ "bills" which were paid are given.

A small brown paper covered book of only sixteen pages gives an account of the labour, material, and costs of groyning at the Hooe, Barnhorn and Cooden levels. Seven men were employed at about one shilling a day, Sundays included.

Horses hired at 4s a day hauled the timber.

Piles varying from 7 to lOft in length, were bought at id a foot. Some "cords" of piles cost 13s a cord. Faggots were from 2s 6d to 7s a hundred.

Land ties, 33 and 36 feet long, cost about 13s each.

The expenses of one job are recorded thus:

Labour £9 9s 0d
Surveyor £1 0d 0d
Carpenters £1 16s 0d
136 piles £4 10s 8d
700 faggots £2 9s 0d
8 cords of piles £5 4s 0d
7 land ties £4 10s 0d
The smith's bill £2 6s 0d
12 land tie burs £2 8s 0d
Haulage £5 8s 0d
Total £39 0s 8d

From this we learn the parish extended to the shore and included Barnhorn and Cooden.

Lower's Statistics

Lower, in his "Sussex", informs us that in 1864 the inhabitants of Hooe numbered 600 and that there were 64 houses. If his figures were correct, in 70 years the number of houses had almost doubled while the population has decreased 30%.

Buildings of the Past

The Bell House

Confidentially we may assert there was a bellhouse in Hooe in Saxon times – a house that was a landmark to seamen off "Sciuce" land (Speed's spelling), having a "bell" of some sort that could be struck whenever necessary to call together the workers on the fields around. On an outbreak of fire or the approach of an enemy the bellhouse keeper would sound an alarm.

The Normans may have maintained it or rebuilt it.

There is evidence that it was not a church building, for it was rated by the vestry, who did not rate church buildings or the incumbent's farm. In 1663 Edmund Bodle occupied it and it was rated at £1 lOs a year. Later the property was described as "the bell farm" and as "the bell house and craft" (1677). From Goodman Bodle it passed to John Colbran and from him to Sir Nicholas Maynard (1678). In 1679 it became John Clark's with whom it remained until 1695. As we find the value raised to £2 lOs in 1692 we may infer its owner (John Clark) executed extensive repair, or addition, to it. We note also that it was no longer called the "bell house".

In 1695 John Clark and his house ceased to be mentioned. In 1700 the property re–appeared in the assessment list and in the name of John Clark "for his own".

Why the omissions between 1695 and 1700? We may conjecture there was an epidemic of smallpox to which John Clark succumbed and that, in consequence, his house was unoccupied for years; that some time in 1699 his heir, bearing his name returned with his mother, brothers, and sisters.

Whatever the cause, the property decreased in value to £1 a year for twenty–four years, and afterwards – until 1740, – it was noted on assessment lists as not rated.

Parish books provide us with some history of the Clarks from 1699 to 1737. John Clark made a coffin for John Wise in 1699; in 1704 he sold the churchwardens "½ lb of flattes (flax) for 1½d".

In 1707 William Clark was paid £16 by the parish to take Thomas Aston as an apprentice and £12 10s to take one of the Selves girls.

The overseers rented part of the house for Sue Hart at 14s a year in 1710 and 1711, and for Widow Deadman in 1715, paying him £1 5s. The widow nursed him in sickness in 1720 and received 5s from the poor rate. In 1723, 1724 and 1725 he was paid 10s a year rent on her account. For "setting up Widow Deadman's housell" (home) the parish allowed him 2s 6d. they paid his "poor tax" of 1s in the years 1721 to 1723 and 1s 6d in 1724. The last rent paid him was in 1737.

His sister Mary's marriage in 1728 cost the parish £17 1s 10d while her mother received in goods £4 15s 7½d.

Another sister, Elizabeth, nursed their mother, who had a bad leg, while she herself needed medical treatment.

"For nursing Goody Clark and Elizabeth Clark and other charges" in 1730, £3 17s was paid. For treatment of Goody Clark's leg for 39 weeks, £1 19s; afterwards, £1 6s; £1 5s; 12s; £1 1s and £1 7s 6d.

Faggots for her cost £2 8s (for 400), 6s 6d and 13s.

Attendance on her cost £1 i9s 6d and £1 4s.

Dr. Bodden's bill for attendance on Elizabeth was £1 11s 11d. For tapping her he received three guineas. Nursing her cost £2 5s.

She had 5½ bottles of wine costing us and 4½ bottles of brandy which cost 6s 9d.

Parish pay granted her, at 2s a week, amounted to £14 7s 6d. Goods given her cost 15s 3d, meat 8s, 100 faggots 12s. Sums paid Goody Weeks for keeping her amounted to £25.

Expenses on account of Goody Clark were £22 14s 1½d, and on Elizabeth £49 0s 5d – totalling £71 14s 6½d.

Among these is a payment of one guinea to John Clark "for looking after his mother's leg".

Goody Clark's wood (1730) 13s 0d
Looking after her £1 19 6d
Looking after her (1737) £1 4s 0d

John Clark

For removing him in 1751 5s 0d
and in 1755 6s 0d

In 1755 his half year rent £1 was paid. Of many "ells" of cloth to be disposed of, he bought 9 ells. His window tax is and goods to the value of £2 19s 3d were paid.

In 1756 his "bill" for wheat, faggots and wood was £5 10s 1d
1763 his bill was £2 8s 6d
1764 he had sums amounting to 6s and goods £2 2s 9d
1768 his bill was £3 9s 0d

He is not mentioned after.

Hooe Mill

The earliest mention of a mill in Hooe is soon after the Conquest, when it is said to have belonged to the Earl of Eu and to have been of a rental value of 7s a year.

During very many years it was know as John Colman's assessed at £1 a year.

In 1806 it was the property of William Wrenn and rated at £8 10s. Four years later its value was £10 a year. It appears that he died in 1810 and that his widow carried on the business until it was bought by William Walters and (afterwards) by Thomas Badcock. From 1833 to 1841 the mill was owned by Walter Wrenn.

Later the owners were:– Stephen Goldsmith, Harry Simmons, James Cuthbert and Stephen Cuthbert.

The last named sold it in 1899 and it was then demolished. On its site "The Retreat" was built by Miss Hannah Routh for a Miss Elphick, who was a faithful servant to her. Miss Elphick survived her mistress only a short time, dying in 1901 on the same day as Queen Victoria (February).

In the seventeenth century it is stated the mill had a "house and craft", also a "barn". Some millers lived at Akehurst Farm.

The road that led to the mill is still known as Mill Lane.

Hooe Winmill Hooe Windmill

Some Millers of Hooe

1670 Nicholas Barnes
1678 John Tampkin (mill, house and craft)
1679 Richard Colman
1685 John Dean
1690 John Colman
1691 Stephen Doust
1692 Thomas Dengate
1694 Thomas Young
1700 William Connoy
1705 Thomas Duke
1709 Richard Miller
1710 Will Gibson – Thomas Palmer, owner
1732 James Blackman
1806 Wm. Wrenn
1811 Mrs. Wrenn
1818 William Waters
1828 Walter Wrenn
1830 William Waters
" Thomas Badcock
1833 Walter Wrenn

Some Old Residences

Houses first mentioned in the oldest extant parish book include Holmes's and the Parsonage (1663); also Kitchenhams and Tuftons, with which names no houses now exist.

Residences of which we know the dates of their erection include Green Farm House (one part 1519 another 1778), Court Lodge (1637), Longdown Farm House (1651), Eastons (1672) Hope Farm House (1674), Pleasant Veiw (1693), School Farm House (1712), Hooe Lodge (before 1813), Olives Bungalow (1814).

Hooe Lodge

In the "Morning Chronicle" of May 26th 1813, Hooe Lodge was advertised as for sale. It was described as "a neat small villa, compact, fronting the sea, a little more than two miles from Pevensey Bay, four from Bexhill, seven from Battle, ten from Hastings and Eastbourne, premises new built a few years ago". From this information, with our parish books before us, we infer Hooe Lodge must have been a ruin for at least one hundred and fifty years, for Lodge land and Lodge fields existed in the middle of the seventeenth century when no residence was noted.

For more than thirty years Hooe Lodge was occupied by the Rev. Cuthbert Routh as the Vicarage. He kept a pony and trap (also a chaise) by which he travelled to and from places he needed to visit.

At one time a cow also was kept – in an outbuilding opposite the coachhouse.

In the front is a lawn with a shrubbery; on the south side a hothouse, a vegetable garden and an orchard; on the north a shrubbery and a small pond.

The Rev. C. A. Weeks resided in it as the Vicarage for several years, until he removed to "Highfields" (Hooe).


Holmes′s is the description of the farm with its residence in 1663, when it was occupied by Thomas Young, and valued at £36 a year "full rent".

In 1672 it was divided between Sir Nicholas Pelham (rated at £28) and John Longley (rated at £8).

In 1685 it was rated at £20; in 1698 at £17.

The present residence consists of a part that was built on the site of cottages, with additions and alterations made since.

As Longdown Farm is not mentioned in the old books, it may have been a part of Holmes′s – in fact, it is more likely that Longdown Farm house was Holmes′s to Sir Nicholas Pelham.

Holmes′s occupies a commanding site with views over Whydown Stream, the Levels, Quiddleswell Mount, and Hooe Common. It is just within the parish boundary. Its present owner, Mr. Philip Constant, has carried out great improvements by adding a tennis court, rose and other gardens, making up the drive from Whydown Road, and adorning with trees, re–building and re–designing.

Holmes Farm House (Pen sketch 1899)
Holmes Farm House (Photo 1989)

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