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Section 3

Some Old Residences (Continued)

The Grove

"The Grove" is not so named in the old parish books. In them it was first "George Elfred′s own".

George Elfred, doubtless, inherited it from John Elfred, Gent, who died in January 1622.

In a church register is the entry, "Elizabeth Elfred, wife of John Elfred, was buried 6th day of September 1609".

Evidently John Elfred married again, and his son John, born after his decease on the 5th March, 1622, was buried on the 10th day of the same month - five days after birth. The mother, Jane, died in 1629.

In 1667 George Elfred married Esther Freebody. They had:-

Esther, who died in 1678 aged 8 years; John, born in 1672 and buried in September of that year; George, born in 1676, who also died prematurely.

George Elfred died in 1704 leaving his property to Mr. Elfred Staples. The rateable value of The Grove rose from £40 in 1663 to £45 in 1706, £48 in 1725, £55 in 1764 and fell to £52 in 1767. In 1806 it was £117.

Successive occupiers were : - Henry Barnes (1705), John Woodhams (1713), Thomas Lavender (1723), John Lavender (1733), John Bristow (1756), William Rich (1764), Benjamin Blackman (1769).

It appears to have belonged to various members of the Stapley family until 1783, then to have passed to Percival Hart-Dyke, from whom it was acquired by the Ashburnhams in 1793. Lord Ashburnham disposed of it between 1914 and 1924. it was occupied for forty years by Mr. John Edmund Brand.

By recent owners The Grove has been much altered, enlarged and improved. Mrs. Wilson, under the guidance of Mr. Marshall Wood, her architect, has made it a charming residence.

Possibly a former building on the site was the residence for a time of Earl Godwin and of Harold the Saxon (the last of our Saxon Kings).

To wealthy, royal, and noble patrons Hooe church was indebted for its interior decoration.

Grove Farm House (1989) GROVE FARM HOUSE PHOTO D. H. N 1989

Court Lodge

Presumably the original Court Lodge was built in the eleventh century, about 1096 - a date given as that of the erection of Hooe Church (Norman rebuilding), or, early in the twelfth century, by Robert, Earl of Eu.

Sometime between 1120 and 1139 it was given to the Benedictine monks of Bec, in Normandy, and remained in their possession until 1340 - the year when Edward III suppressed alien religious bodies.

In the fifteenth century it was owned by John, Duke of Bedford, and later by Sir Thomas Hoo, to whom it was presented by Henry VI. From Sir Thomas, who became Lord Hoo, it passed to Eton College, Ashford College, the Sackville and Fuller families and to Lord Brassey.

The oldest part of the present building dates from 1637, according to the date on a chimney beam that existed in the house forty years ago.

Court Lodge, or John Fuller′s, was the most valuable property in Hooe for more than 100 years.

In 1663 it was rated at £66 a year; in 1670, £50; in 1678, £45; in 1692, £36. In 1696 its value was £46, and increased to £63, in 1728; to £66 in 1740; £79 lOs in 1770; £72 lOs in 1806; and £82 in 1835.

It was "Lady Springetts" in 1672 and was afterwards occupied by George Swain (1678), John Matthews (1685), John Gilbert (1696), Jeremiah Gilbert (1708), Elias Gilbert (1726), Mrs. Mary Gilbert (1729), John Gilbert (1740), Mrs. Gilbert (1744), James Bellingham (1746), Richard Sawyer (1806), Stephen Hilder (1819), William Lewis (1835), Jabez Mitchell (1896).

Elias Gilbert in 1727 held Court Lodge, Green Farm, Mr. James′s, Glides, "Tilleyes′, Fuller′s Land and Barnhorn Pond.

In 1748 John Fuller had two other estates (of £10 and £6 rateable value).

By 1770 he had acquired eight others, with rateable values ranging from £1 to £31. A mural tablet on the north wall of the Chancel records that he died on February 13th, 1777.

Ten properties of the "late J. Fuller" in 1835 were assessed at sums from £10 to £280 a year rateable value. By 1896 they had passed to others.

Besides J. Mitchell renting Court Lodge at £133 in 1896, Mr. J. E. Brand also had a part of the farm, at £97 a year. And Mr. Brand had the Grove at £232.

Not fewer than ten of the Fullers were buried within their (formerly railed in) grave plot south-east of the vestry. Tenants of Court Lodge (including Gilberts, Bellingham, Lewis) were buried north-west of the tower.

A saw-pit and a pond existed on the Barnhorn Road near Court Lodge Lane.

In the 13th century monks trod the path from Hooe Church across House Meadow to Constables Farm in their ministrations at Northeye Chapel.

Under recent owners Court Lodge had undergone costly improvements by alterations and additions.

Colonel Lowther began them; Captain H. H. Kent and Eric Froy, Esq., succeeded him.

The present owner is Sir Henry White-Smith, C.B.E., who also has made many improvements but he has, while doing so, maintained and, in fact, emphasized the interesting character of this ancient house.

Court Lodge (Pen Sketch 1897)
Court Lodge 1936

Church Farm

Church Farm House is one of the very few remaining straw-thatched, half-timbered houses. In its kitchen there is carving on a beam, but no date.

Presumably Church Farm was "Hole′s Farm" for centuries.

"Halls Cross", the modern name for the hamlet, probably should be "Holes Cross," so named after Mr. Hole by whose name the farm was formerly known.

The farm extends to the north side of the churchyard.


The Miss Hewitts (of whom there were four), gave the name "Oldbury" to the residence that was formed for them by building a large addition to two semi-detached cottages. The cottages were used as a farmhouse by a Mr. Gurney before. It was Richard Edwards′s in 1663 and John Hunt′s in 1698, with a rateable value of £16 a year.

The nearby hill is still "Hunts Hill".

Hope Farm House

This residence, built in 1674, was named after a Mr. Hope. In 1695 it was rented by Thomas Easton at £3 10s yearly.

Eastons Farm House

This was built in 1672 and named after the occupier.

Denby′s Farm

This farm was evidently named after Mr. Denby who let it to John Hunt in 1690 at £9 10s a year.

The "n", looking like a "u" in some records, the name has been given as Deuby.

At one time Stephen Doust and Thomas Price shared it, one paying £6 lOs a year rent, the other £3.

There are other residences obviously old which cannot be identified from the old parish books. These include :- Saddler′s Farm, The Platt, Savin Cottage, Pleasant View Cottages, Elm Cottages, Fuchsia Cottage and Halls Cross Cottages. What is now called "Tallies " was probably "Tully′s". "Mill Lane Gardens" was probably John Dunk′s.

Green Farm

At the end of the last century Green Farm was said to have borne the date 1519. Obviously part of the house is very old. It may have been Nicholas Maynard′s in 1665, with rental value £54 a year. Its rapid depreciation to £42 in 1672, £40 in 1678 and £12 in 1679 is inexplicable.

It acquired its name from Broad Street Green where it is situated.

Denby's Farm -1989 Denby's Farm - Photo taken 1989 (D. H. Newport)
Elizabeth Cottages (Old Workhouse) - 1989 Elizabethan Cottages (Old Workhouse) Photo taken 1989 (D. H. Newport)

The Old Workhouse

Doubtless the Elizabethan Cottages were originally the workhouse erected in accordance with the requirements of the Poor Laws of Queen Elizabeth of 1597 and 1601. On the Common around the able-bodied were required to work unless employment was found for them among local farmers. In these and other cottages belonging to, or rented by, the Parish, the aged and sick were maintained and nursed, and children cared for and instructed.


By comparing assessment lists it is deduced that "Cheyneys" was probably a name for Longdown Farm, rented in 1705 at £17 a year, by John Blackman and three years later by his widow.

In 1725 we find Richard Sampson the occupier and the value £18 a year. His successors were :- Samuel Cramp (1728), John Huntley (1739), James Crowhurst (1756), William Cramp (1757).

Brickyard Farm

"Brickyard" seems a strange name for the small farm which belongs to Mr. W. Cornford. No other bricks are visible but those of his cottage, "Brickyard Farm". Can there possibly be any connection between a brickyard and a farm? is an enquiry prompted by the name. The answer is "Yes", and evidence yet remains in the field at the end of the cartway.

In the long past, down to half a century ago, there were made thousands of bricks for houses built in Hooe, Ninfield and the country around - as far as Eastbourne. Thousands of unglazed pipes made there too, have been laid to drain the fields and roads.

In the last century, John Carey, then of what is now Box Cottage, Hooe Common, built Belton Cottages, (Ninfield), and other residences with such bricks.

In centuries past the clay of the farm has yielded bricks and tiles for the homes of the lords of the manor, for those of the "gents" as well as those of the cottagers and "settlers".

Time was when "kiln" faggots by the many thousand could be obtained from the local wooded country (Ninfield, Ashburnham, Catsfield and Crowhurst) to bake the "kilns" of bricks and pipes - a "kiln" consisting of 24,000 bricks and 2,000 land pipes which needed not fewer than 4,000 faggots to complete them.

Prices of bricks per thousand have varied much. In the 17th century they could be had for 4s; in the last century prices ranged from 28s to 36s according to quality.

Lack of faggots for fuel, and of machinery for moulding, are reasons why Brickyard Farm is now but a name.

Brick Kiln - 1989 Brick Kiln - Photo taken 1989 (D. H. Newport)
Ruins of Brick Kiln - 1899 Sketch of the Ruins of the Brick Kiln - 1899 (J. J. Newport)

The Red Lion Inn

From its modern appearance no one would think the Red Lion Inn could possibly have much of a history. But, with the proprietor's permission and guidance, one may view signs of antiquity in the secret chambers and the garret with its old tobacco (or snuff) mill.

For centuries before 1895 (when by the Local Government Act the new Parish Council could not do so), the Parish business regarding the poor, the roads and bridges, and even the church, was transacted there.

There the Parish Officers, together with about six of the principal inhabitants, assembled for a Parish meeting, or a meeting of the Vestry.

Among matters decided was the guilt and punishment of law breakers. Drunkards were put into the stocks. Troublesome women, possibly, were ducked in a pond nearby. Warrants issued by the magistrates at Battle were applied for in order to deal with undesirable people, that they might lawfully be expelled from the Parish or removed to a "House of Correction" (a prison).

Annual feasts (in addition to the Fairs) have centred around and have been served from within the house.

Friendly clubs hold their meetings there. The "Club" room (or Ballroom) is known to many.

Hooe Post Office

Like the Red Lion Inn, Hooe Post Office does not appear to be very old. But, behind its modern mask, exists some of Goodman French's general store where rustics of past centuries bought their drapery and grocery, their earthenware and hardward, as villagers do to-day.

There were bought the linsey-woolsey, the dimity and the lerkerham by the ell and yard; and cheese by the "nail" and pound.

Junction Garden

The name "Junction Garden" has been given to a triangular plot of land of about 11 sq. rods which belongs to the Parish, and is rented by the sub-postmaster. On September 29th, 1865, the tenancy passed from James Hutchinson to Francis Dodson.

Sandhill Farm

Sandhill Farm was so named because of its sand hill from which sand was obtained for building purposes.

On the porch of the farm house is the crest of Sir James Duke, a former owner and occupier. Sir James was knighted in 1849. The crest is a DemiGryphan (Griffin), winged, with a peacock's feather in its beak, supporting a sword. His motto was "Gradation vincimus" (We conquer by degrees).

Savin Cottage and Spring Cottage

These cottages were sold with the parish Field in 1838 to help pay off part of the loan raised to emigrate poor persons to America.

It is on record that the resolution to sell them was passed at a Meeting held in the Vestry Room of the Church of Hooe on the 29th May, 1836.

Richard Collins then occupied Savin Cottage and William Clapson Spring Cottage.

Savin Cottage is named from a Savin tree that was in existence in the garden, and Spring Cottage from a nearby spring.

Red Lion - 1989 Red Lion - Photo taken 1989 (D. H. Newport)
Old Tobacco Mill Tobacco Mill (Red Lion) Pen Sketch - 1936 (J. J. Newport)

The Ashburnham Family and Hooe

After 1166, the Ashburnham family do not seem to have owned any land in Hooe until 1676 when William Ashburnham, cofferer to King Charles I and Charles II, bought a small amount of land in the Parish - a part of Ladyland marsh, which is still Ashburnham property, and two fields on the road adjoining the Lamb Inn. In 1795, Lord Ashburnham bought Grove Farm from Percival Hart Dyke. The next purchase of land was in 1863 when Burgroves Farm was bought from Cator and others. In 1866 Nutbrowns and The Parsonage were purchased from the Acland Trustees. With the exception of about thirty acres of land in Ladyland Marsh, all the other Ashburnham property in Hooe was sold between 1914 and 1924.

Parish Meetings

The Parish Meeting first mentioned in the Parish books was in 1685.

In 1698 we have a record of a payment of 4s for a new Parish book and an item, "spent at Parish Meeting 4s". From other entries we learn that if the purpose of an expenditure is not stated, it was for beer.

Until 1894 these meetings were held in the Red Lion Inn, under the chairmanship of the vicar (when there was one). He was supported by churchwardens, overseers, surveyors, waywardens, assessors and "Principal inhabitants of the Parish", - together about twelve in number.

The churchwardens were particularly concerned with the maintenance of the church; the overseers' duty mainly was to relieve the poor; the surveyors and waywardens were responsible for the "roads" and bridges, and the assessors for the taxes.

Constables were nominated for appointment by the Justices at Battle.

In 1894 the Local Government Act was passed which brought Parish Councils into being.

Hooe Parish Council

On December 4th in that year a Parish Meeting was convened by the overseers to establish a Parish Council. It was held in the schoolroom.

The first Parish Council meeting was held on Tuesday, December 18th, presided over by the Chairman of the Parish Meeting.

It may be noted here that a Parish Meeting is not a Public Meeting. At a Parish Meeting only those may vote whose names are on the Parish Register of Local Government Electors; at a Public Meeting there is no such restriction.

The Council's expenses at first were quite small. From December 1984 to March 31st 1896 they amounted to only £6 lOs 8d. This was because at that time the Parish Property was not vested in them, and the Clerk's Salary as Assistant Overseer included his services to the Council.

Parish Councils and Parish Records

The Local Government Act 1894 enacted:- Sect. 17 (9), "Every County Council shall from time to time inquire into the manner in which the public books, writings, papers, and documents under the control of the Parish Council . . . are kept with a view to the proper preservation thereof, and shall make such orders as they think necessary for such preservation, and these orders shall be complied with by the Parish Council".

When the Hooe Parish Council came into existence there passed into the Clerk's custody several books which had been used by these kinds of parish officers - the churchwardens, the overseers and the surveyors. For the proper preservation of these the clerk at that time asked for consent to buy a "deed" box. In the box so supplied Parish Books have since been preserved.

Hooe Parish Property

Hooe is one of the few parishes that have retained parish property. The property consists of part of the old common land that was enclosed by the Vestry in 1822, and of small properties that fell to the Parish on the decease or emigration of paupers, in consideration of the relief they had received from the poor rate. These small properties include Boyce's Piece, Clapson's Piece, and Russell's Piece. Probably Dunk's Garden and meadow and Cleaver's Field were acquired in a like manner.

One part is known as "Parish Farm" - a name that formerly was applied to all the property except the "Pieces". Paupers have been employed on the farm by the overseers or the workhouse master.

Land east of Mill Lane is "Millfield", divided into North Millfield, and South Millfied.

There are the numbered allotments, the Recreation Ground, Junction Garden (where the two roads join east of Hooe Post Office), and other land. The acreage is 27ac. 3r. 9p.

The Receipts from the property in 1840 amounted to £48 14s and the Payments to only 12s 6d. To-day the Receipts exceed £100.

Hooe Fair

On May 1st, year after year, probably for centuries, a Fair was held at Hooe Common - in some years stretching from Straight Lane to Jarmyn's lane.

Cattle generally were bought and sold, but sheep calves and goats sometimes changed hands.

There were stalls, too, in the neighbourhood of the Red Lion - stalls of delights for the youngsters, particularly toffee apples (on sticks), gingersnaps, cakes and biscuits. Selmes of Heathfield was one stallholder.

There were roundabouts, swings and coker-nut shies, provided by Carter of Cacklebury, Hailsham. Occasionally, too, there were cheap-jacks. Bill Wood, a clarinet player, of Battle, and Sam Waghorn, a comic, are especially remembered.

Probably the Fair originated in the twelfth century, the fees and tolls being paid to the Prior (of Hooe) for permission to bring animals and goods to it and to stand to offer such for sale.

At such fairs merchants displayed their wares and sold them; also various forms of amusement were provided. Travel and transport were chiefly by horse or on foot. The roads were lanes that were beached, bounded by prolific hedgerows and at times impassable in winter.

For a number of years after the Great War there was a gradual decline of business. No fair has been held for several years.

Hooe Club

Hooe Club was one of those very useful friendly societies that assisted the sick and bereaved among their numbers.

The coming of National Health Insurance brought about its end - first, by the members withdrawing their bank deposit of £750 and then by its membership decreasing.

The Annual Feast Day was a great social event, drawing together distant members with their relations and friends in a joyous reunion. the Church Parade, accompanied by a Band, was an important item in the programme which all were required to honour.

The Dinner, which was somewhat Christmassy with its plum puddings, was a sumptuous affair in a large tent. Speeches were usually made by the vicar, churchwardens, and other prominent inhabitants.

There were, of course, the roundabouts, swings, sideshows, and all the fun of the Fair.

Hooe life is the poorer for the loss of its Club Day and its Fair Day.

Hooe Smugglers

Smuggling was a part-time occupation with many Hooe folk, among them being Burts, Careys, Crouches, Freemans and Stubberfields.

Several cottages are known to have been formerly the homes and haunts of smugglers, where contraband goods were stored, illicit stills used (making brandy and whisky), and beer sold without a licence.

There was much traffic across the marsh levels between the coast at the Sluice (Normans Bay) and Hooe Common. But Hooe men and some from Ninfield sometimes travelled as far as East Dean or Bulverhythe to meet the boats. Excise men often raided the district, surrounding suspected cottages or intercepting those who were crossing the levels. Tales have been told of some who found cover from shots by getting into the ditches, and of others who escaped arrest by other means. Secret passages and hiding places were existent in or about buildings.

Night was always chosen for the misdeeds.

One smuggler, Tom Freeman, had a cart lodge and stable where Rose Cottages now stand. Here he had an underground storage to which his confederates brought the smuggled goods. He paid for the stuff as he received it. As opportunity offered he removed it and sold it in neighbouring towns.

Stephen Carey, a shoemaker, lived at Fuchsia Cottage. He had a still in an outbuilding in which he carried on his business. Excise men raided the premises, and arrested him. He was punished; but, after leaving prison, he set up a still in the Highwoods.

One, a Stubberfield, had a lodge near Sewers Bridge in which he hid kegs.

There were "batmen" who protected smugglers.

"Beating the Bounds"

"Beating the Bounds" is an annual Rogationatide event in many a Parish. In Hooe there is but one record of it having been done. That was on July 8th, 1714, when 5s was spent - unquestionably on beer.

The boundary being about nine miles long, with ditches opening into the streams adding to the distance to be traversed, it is almost, if not quite, impossible to "beat the bounds".

It is quite unlikely that anyone will attempt the task. Akehurst Farm, with the boundary through the house is an awkward thing to undertake.

Stained Glass

Edward III and Queen Philippa are said to be represented in the stained glass of the east window of the Church. Sir William Burrell had drawings made of them in 1781.

Stained Glass Sold at Strawberry Hill

At the famous sale of Horace Walpole's curiosities and antiquities at Strawberry Hill in 1842 (which realised £33,450 us 9d in 24 days) it is said there was some stained glass from Hooe Church which contained effigies of Henry III and his queen, Eleanor.

Horace Walpole in his "Aedes Strawberrianae" only mentions a window which was given him by the Earl of Ashburnham and came from the church of Bexhill. In his "Anecodotes of Painting" he gives drawing of it as the frontispiece - where it appears as a two-light window. But on his copy of the "Catalogue of the sale" (which was limited to twenty-five copies) he wrote a note that Earl Waldegrave bought it for £1 5s on the last day of the sale, and added "none of the stained glass windows were sold but at prices which amounted to the cost of supplying the vacancies in plain glass".

The stained glass belonged to an Early English window. It was certainly never in Hooe Church. It may have belonged to the Priory. Fragments of windows of that period which escaped burial in 1890 were lying in the churchyard in 1898. (there may have been a building opposite the north door - to which the door gave access).

The stained glass is now in St. Peter's Church, Bexhill. It has a brass tablet below it stating it was removed from that Church in 1740 and returned to it in 1921.

St. Margaret's Chapel

The piscina in the south-east corner of the nave of Hooe Church is evidence there was formerly an altar nearby. There was a flooring slab, probably before the altar, on which was inscribed:"Thomas Acrouch, yeoman, and Elizabeth, his wife. He died the XXVIII day of December, 1576; she the X day of July, 1569. Santa Margarita, ora pro nobis."

From this we may conjecture there was a chapel dedicated to St. Margaret on the site of the pulpit.

St. Margaret

St. Margaret's Day is July 20th - the day of her death.

Olybius, prefect of Antioch, ordered that she should be torn with steel combs, then her flesh was to be scorched with hot coals; afterwards she was to be plunged into cold water.

This ordeal was delayed by an earthquake, a dove from heaven set a crown of gold upon her head and healed her wounds.

These reputed miracles led to the conversion of 5,000 men, besides women and children.

She was afterwards executed, praying that expectant mothers who called upon her should find relief.

Therefore such women were taught to pray to her: "Santa Margarita, ora pro nobis."

St. Martin

St. Martin was a Roman soldier, born in A.D. 317, who became the Bishop of Tours (France). He was a bishop for 36 years, and died in 397.

A story is told of him that, when a soldier, he saw a poor man in need of clothing and that he divided his cloak with his sword, giving him one half; that the following night he had a vision in which Christ appeared clad in his cloak and saying to the angels around Him, "Martin, yet a catechumen, has clad Me in this robe".

His day (November 11th) was a day of feasting on goose and drinking of wine, also a day for salting beef and smoking bacon for winter use. Michaelmas now includes Martinmas or Martlemas.

St. Oswald, Patron Saint of Hooe

Northumbria, one of the reputed seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, became Christian under Edwin in 627 through the influence of his queen, Ethelburga (a daughter of Ethelbert who was baptised by Augustine in 597) and Paulinus (who became the first Archbishop of York).

Edwin was slain in battle by Penda, King of Mercia, in 633 and the kingdom was split into two separate ones and became pagan again.

Oswald, son of Ethelfrith, (a former King), in 634 restored its unity and its Christian religion. He became Bretwalda, (King over Angles, Britons, Picts and Scots). In 642 he was slain by Penda in a battle. The church honours him as a martyr on August 5th.

There has been some confusion as to the patron saint of Hooe. At one period (it was understood) the church was named after St. James.

We may be sure St. Oswald has always been its patron saint, and we may surmise the confusion arose with the patron saint of Nordy Chapel, who was St. James. The school-church at Norman's Bay is named after St. James.

Hooe Church: Its Position

There can be no doubt that the position of Hooe Church was quite a good one when it was built. According to Camden's "Britannia" (1586) it was well surrounded with residences. A century ago and for centuries before, inhabitants of Picknell Green, Barnhorn, Cooden, Little Common, Whydown, and the Sluices (Norman's Bay) had to choose between attending St. Peter's Church, Bexhill, and Hooe Church.

Rights of way over the levels, with their foot-bridges maintained by the Parish, enabled worshippers to attend from the surrounding district. One way led from Constables Farm to Court Lodge by a footbridge over the East Stream and another bridge over the dyke that crosses House Meadow. The way continued through the carriage gate of Court Lodge across to the orchard, by the orchard and fish pond to another public right of way that led from Gilbert's Farm to the south wicket gate of the churchyard.

Another way, from the Wheatsheaf Inn, led to the Church, crossing the East Stream by a second foot-bridge. By this route forty years ago Mr.Gordon Green (founder of the firm of Gordon Green and Webber, Bexhill),Mr. E. E. Hurst, J. P. (of "Ocklynge", Little Common), Mr. Kingsley Candler, Mr. John Keefe and others walked to and from Hooe Church on Sunday mornings and appreciated the ministry of the vicar, the Rev. C. Routh.

For dwellers at Whydown a route left the Bexhill Road by Whydown Farm, crossed Whydown Stream by a footbridge, continued through Holmes's Farm to Quiddleswell Mount, thence on to Green Farm and Hope Farm to Church Lane.

Inhabitants of the Sluice reached the Church by the Court Lodge route, or by Sewers Bridge. In both cases they crossed Chapel Bridge which recalls the existence of a Northeye Chapel nearby at some date. It is said the chapel there had to be quitted because of floods, and another was built by (or on) Constables Farm.

The route from Sewers Bridge crossed the fields from Sewers Bridge (or Mount pleasant) Hill to what is now Grove Cottage and led to the Church by the south-west wicket gate, passing Church Field and (probably) the Church House.

By the Vicarage (now marked by Glebe Cottages) a path led to the northwest wicket gate. To the same gate was a path from the Parsonage.

There was also Church Lane with a north-east gate.

The Vicarage route was also usable by people at Wartling, and the Parsonage route by those at Boreham Street.

It has already been stated that there were (almost certainly) a Roman Church and a Saxon Church on the same site as the present one - which may be said to be Norman and built late in the eleventh century - 1096 has been given as the date.

As with most churches during their reign, there were architectural changes made by Edward III and his Queen Philippa; other alterations and restorations since have produced the present building.

The indications of turret stairs in the south wall; the remains of a stoup in the porch; the corbels, blocked doorways, and piscina in the nave; the corbels, piscina, and sedilium in the chancel; and recesses in the vestry, have historical associations for inquirers to discover.

The font, the sprinkling basin, the King's Arms, and the ancient muniment chest above all, are of much interest.

At Hooe Common, there is a hexagonal stoup formerly in the Church (until 1890), which is also interesting because there appears to have been no need for it in the Church. It may have belonged to the Priory and have been placed in the Church when that was demolished.

It has been conjectured there was a north porch; but the masonry around the doorway precludes such view.

Standing in the nave and looking eastwards, one may observe that the chancel is not oriented as the nave and therefore appears to be "bent" to one's right hand. Reasons given for this inclination are :-

  1. It is to symbolise the drooping of the Saviour's head as He hung upon the Cross.
  2. To represent the exact position of the rising sun on the day of the patron saint.
  3. To express better the length of the edifice.
  4. It is a builder's error.

The first of these reasons we accept as probably correct.

But there is the possibility the chancel retains the direction given it by the Saxon builders, and that the direction of the nave was given it by the Normans who re-built it in place of the former one (which they destroyed).

An inspection of the Church gives one an impression that in its day it has had ceiled roofs to both chancel and nave - possibly beautifully decorated, and artistic walls; for mural painting was revealed in 1890 when the nave was renovated.

The Vestry

Glancing to the roof of the vestry we may conceive there was at some period a room above. From the fact that in 1890 a walled up turret staircase was found in its south-west corner which corresponded to another by the pulpit, we may surmise there was a room to which that staircase led - a room connected with the roof loft.

When the Benedictine monks of.Bec and Okenburne were in the Parish they may have used the Church, and have occupied the room. They may have built another (smaller) church which stood near the present one, perhaps on the north side near the walled-up doorway.

In the east wall of the vestry is a large arched recess in which, until 1890, there was an old fireplace. Then it was removed and a pilot stove substituted.

It has been supposed there was at some period an altar and that the vestry was a ladychapel, but the exterior wall is against such a view. Masonry in the chimney stack (which was erected in 1825) may have been an altar in St. Margaret′s Chapel.

Monks were sometimes priests. Priests′ Marsh may have belonged to Hooe Priory or to Battle Abbey, St. Martin′s Marsh possibly belonged to Hooe Priory or to one at Hollington.

The Old Muniment Chest

In the Church is an ancient muniment chest which was retrieved from an outbuilding on Grove Farm in 1898 and restored to the Church after being renovated. It is assigned to a period not later than the eighth century. It is a "dug-out" showing the form of the limb (or trunk) from which it was cut. When found it had no lid, its iron bands were defective and its surface was daubed with paint and tar.

The present lid was made from unseasoned oak. This fact accounts for its shrunken and warped appearance.

Its lock is interesting because its bar is bent so as to pass through two eyes as the key is turned. The key, hasp and hinges were made by A. Carden, the village blacksmith.

One end of the chest contained the Communion plate, books and vestments. In the 19th century coal was stored in it.

An idea of its great age may be gathered from the condition of the wood.

There is another chest having two separate locks. This was purchased in 1708.

The Pewter Sprinkling Basin

In the vestry is a pewter sprinkling basin, bought in 1718 "to set in the font", at a cost of 1s 9d. It measures a foot in diameter and stands an inch-and-a-half high.

Such basins were introduced in the 14th century when the sprinkling of infants (instead of immersion) became an established custom. As we learn their use was prohibited in 1571, we are unable to account for the purchase of this basin about a hundred-and-fifty years later.

When repairs were being done in the Church in 1890 it was removed to John Carey′s yard at Hooe Common. There it was found in 1898 among builder′s rubbish. It was cleaned, and returned to the vestry.

The Church Registers

The Church Registers date from 1609. They record baptisms, marriages, deaths and collections for charity - among which are some made in the 17th century on behalf of needy persons in distant parts of the country. Between November, 26th, 1680 and February 15th, 1681, there are stated to have been seven burials "in wool". The phrase afterwards used is "according to the Act". On April 6th 1681, a burial in linen took place and was "allowed" by authority.

Interesting Entries in the Church Register

  1. "Joseph Bemitt, chosen Register by the parrishioners of Hooe in the Countye of Sussex accordinge to the late Act, tooke His oath to performe the sayd office, and is approeved by mee in the testimony whereof I have sett to my hand the 14 of December 1653. James Temple." (James Temple was a Regicide).

  2. Entries of Banns and of Marriage of Mary Elfred. On December 25th 1653 and January 1st and 15th, 1656 was published their "Consent of Marriage" and on January 31st, Henry Coby of Halisham, Gent,. and Mary Elfred of the Parish, Widow were married in the Parish of Hooe by Nathanael Studley, one of the Justices of the Peace in the County of Sussex in the presence of John Wenham and George Wenham, Gents., and others.

The above entries remind us of Cromwell′s "Council of State" which he formed after his dissolution of the Rump Parliament (April 20th, 1653). By their enactment civil magistrates alone solemnized marriages.

October 21st, 1680. John Browne was inducted into the Vicarage of Hooe by John Bowyer, Clerk.

Signatures of James Temple and Elizabeth

Church Restoration, 1899 - Reredos, Etc

As already stated the interest aroused in the state of Hooe Church by the issue of "An Illustrated Historical and Descriptive Account" of it in October, 1898, led to its renovation in 1899. The nave and chancel had been dealt with in 1890.

The reredos made of old oak from a demolished residence of Herstmonceux, was well and beautifully carved from the solid wood by George Foster, of Gardner Street, who was employed by William Dawes of the same village. The vicar, the Rev. Cuthbert Routh, had desired to beautify the east wall of the chancel, and had consulted William Newport, of West Hampstead, London, as to the provision of a reredos. He submitted a design and a price which the vicar showed Mr. Dawes, who then offered to produce what he wanted at about half the cost, because the oak would cost him nothing and his carpenter could execute the wood-carving at a low wage. Really the work is mainly Mr. Newport′s design, but less elaborate. What the work might have been may be gauged from that in the handsome screen in St. Mark′s, Little Common, much of which was done by his brother Robert, of Exeter.

There was also provided a Church Bible for the lecturn, the gift of Richard W. Hayward, of Quiddleswell Mount, the people′s churchwarden.

Also there were rich covers for the prayer desk and the pulpit, given by Mrs. Brand. On July 26th, 1899, Archdeacon Sutton, Vicar of Pevensey, dedicated (or rededicated) the whole of the work done.

The Archdeacon expressed himself as very grateful for the invitation which brought the bell-ringers from Pevensey there to play a part in the proceedings by being the first to ring the restored bells.

Special psalms and hymns and an anthem were sung (Caleb Simper′s "Walk about Zion"), Mr. J. J. Newport being the organist.

The service was followed by a joyous peal rung by Messrs. E. Beal, T. Beal, G. Bray, J. Bray (Senior), J. Bray, H. Colbran, S. Costick, G. Penfold, and S. Miller under their Captain, E. Brunt. Afterwards they were entertained in the Grove by Mr. J. E. Brand, vicar′s warden.

The following is the hymn especially composed by the Vicar and the organist: -

1. Gracious Lord, these gifts accepting,
Which we dedicate to Thee,
Tower and bells, and porch and vestry,
Safe beneath Thy care shall be,
For thy service,
From all profanation free.
2. Tower strong of souls believing,
Safe in Thee may we be found,
And in Thy salvation joyful,
May our lives Thy praise resound,
Heavenly music,
Pealing clear to all around.
3. Holy Father, God Almighty,
Humbly Thee our hearts adore,
Who vouchsafedst to Thy servant,
Bells and tower to restore,
Be Thy favour,
With her now and evermore.
4. Unto God the Father praises!
Praises unto God the Son,
And to God the Holy Spirit,
While eternal ages run;
Glory, honour,
Be to God the Three in One.

The first lesson (2 Kings XII, 4-16), was read by the licensed reader and the second (Heb. X, 19-26), by the Archdeacon.

Within six months, after, Miss Routh passed away (2nd December).

Lord Hoo and Hastings

The family of Hoo was of Saxon origin and settled in Kent. They spread over several counties, including Bedfordshire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Sussex and Northamptonshire. Their motto was "Bien agiert" (well gotten).

Sir Thomas Hoo, to whom Henry VI presented the manor of Hooe, Sussex, was a son of a Sir Thomas de Hoo who was a sheriff of both Surrey and Sussex for six years (1384-50; 1356-8), an owner of land in Hooe, who died in 1420.

He became Keeper of the Seals in 1435, and Chancellor of France in 1436.

In consideration of his services a grant was made to him of the fee of the castle and the Lordship, barony and honour of Hastings in 1439. His Lordship was disputed by the Peihams, but in 1448 he was finally created Baron Hoo of Hoo, Bedford and of Hastings, Sussex. He died in 1455.

He bequeathed 20 marks worth of land in Hooe (yearly value) for two monks to pray in the chapel of Saint Benyngnys, Battle Abbey, for his soul and souls of all his ancestors. He left no son. He had a half-brother who was also named Thomas.

There was some success, but the unexpected happened in that adult communicants refused to attend Guild meetings with non-communicants and Holy Communion with children. The vicar was unwilling to arrange separate services for them.

From records of attendances kept for several years we find:–

(a) The total attendances at the three chief celebrations was 51 on average. (b) Attendance on Easter Day was between 11 and 24; on Whitsunday, 9 to 25; on Christmas Day, 13 to 25.

"South" Church Lane

A tradition has it that the lane to the Church was a thoroughfare, and that it was stopped by one of the Churchwardens who was also the owner of the property.

It has been suggested the lane followed the north boundary of the Churchyard, along the old hop garden and through the narrow shaw of the glebeland. This reputed route has been surveyed by the owner, Mr.Stapley, and by the clerk to the Parish Council, and they agree that the lie of the land and the entire lack of beach which was used for maintaining "roads" are against such a view.

Probably the lane was a thoroughfare to Pevensey Road, passing by Church House and Church Field. An enlargement of the Churchyard, previous to that of 1903, could have taken place only on the east side, and may have absorbed a part of the lane and led to the abolition of the remainder.

Hooe Churchyard

When we reflect that the churchyard existing before 1903 must have been used for interments during many centuries, we are astonished it was not enlarged before. We know the time came when the sexton could not find a vacant spot and the digging of a grave was a gruesome task. It was then that additional ground was given by the Earl of Ashburnham.

The added site was dedicated on January 11th, 1903, by the Bishop of Chichester.

The following is a hymn written for the occasion:

1. Within this soil, 0 Father,
Will precious seed be sown -
The dust of ransomed sinners,
Thou claimest as Thine own,
Safe ever in Thy keeping,
From toil and sorrow free,
In Jesus peaceful sleeping,
Their souls shall rest with Thee,
Not lost are saints departed,
But only gone before,
They live, they live for ever,
They live to part no more.
2. In weakness and dishonour,
′Midst tears and grief and pain,
We sad may cast our treasure,
But it shall rise again,
When Christ in power returneth,
Our bodies He shall raise,
O′er death and hell triumphant,
That we Thy name may praise -
That heav′nly and immortal,
In joy and peace and light,
Thee to adore unceasing,
With angels we unite.
3. To Thee, Almighty Father,
Creator of our race;
To Christ, Thy Son, our Saviour,
For boundless love and grace;
And to the Holy Spirit,
To Truth Divine the Guide,
The Quickening Sanctifier,
Tho in us doth abide,
To God, Triune Jehovah,
From all in earth and heaven,
Praise, worship, glory, honour,
For ever more be given.
J.J.N. January 1903

A Missionary meeting for Men

On November 20th, 1895 an extraordinary meeting was held in Hooe Schoolroom. It was one for men only, and dealing with overseas missionary work under the Church Missionary Society. About forty were present. Addresses were given by the vicar, the Chruchwardens (Messrs. J. E. Brand and R. W. Hayward), a Sunday School teacher (Mr. A. T. Stevens), and the schoolmaster (Mr. J. J. Newport).

Four men accepted an invitation to subscribe to C.M.S. magazines. Other people followed, and for some time such magazines were circulated every month.

For twenty-five years after this meeting, year after year, there were deputations from the Society preaching in the Church and lecturing in the Schoolroom, with acceptance.

During the C.M.S. Centenary Year (1899), £10 5s was raised.

Missionary Lantern Lectures were given in the Village hall by Miss Gibson on behalf of the North Queensland Auxiliary during the Rev. C. A. Week′s incumbency.

Hooe Temperance Society and Band of Hope

A Branch of the Church of England Temperance Society and a Band of Hope were formed in 1896, supported by the Vicar, the Churchwardens, Mrs. Brand and the vicar′s father, Mr. Oswald Routh. They ceased to exist in 1902.

In the Temperance Society there were 26 members; in the Band of Hope, 18.

On several occasions there were lantern lectures, teas and tours.

Temperance sermons were preached by the vicar, and addresses given in the school by Miss Davis.

Sermons on November 19th, 1897 were at the Bishop′s request.

Hooe Scripture Union

In October, 1895, a branch of the Scripture Union of the Children′s Special Service Mission was started. It continued until April, 1902.

Once a month, on a Friday evening, members assembled for a short service, addressed by one of their elders, who were being trained to prepare addresses and to speak in public.

Hooe Sowers′ Band

On another Friday evening the children met to think on Overseas Missionary Work (of the Church missionary Society) and to do some handwork. Letter-drawing and cutting out (from paper of various colours) was the chief occupation.

Members of one of the organisations were members (generally) of the three. The first report of the Band of Hope and Scripture Union was issued in 1896.

Hooe Religious Revival (1905)

A stirring Revival of Religion had begun in Wales and was affecting the country so much and so acceptably that many of the clergy of the Church of England were moved to seek a similar revival in their parishes. In February, 1905, the Bishops agreed, "that, in view of the present conditions of religious life in England, it would be well that the clergy and people should be invited to unite in special prayer to God for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit among us, and for the strengthening of our hold as Christians upon the deeper realities of our faith". The Archbishop of Canterbury forwarded a letter to every Incumbent of the Province through the Bishops informing them of this episcopal agreement.

To give effect to the invitation the Parishes of Catsfield, Crowhurst and Ninfield were united with Hooe in Preparatory Services during Rogationtide in 1905 with Special Services on Whitsunday, June 11th.

The Rector of Ninfield, the Rev. William H. Saulez, conducted a service in Hooe Schoolroom that was preceded by an open-air service opposite the Forge addressed by the Churchwardens, Mr. John E. Brand and Mr. Richard W. Hayward and the licensed lay reader, Mr. J. J. Newport.

The vicar of Hooe, the Rev. C. Routh, held a Service in Ninfield Church on the following evening (Whit Monday).

Sundry Notes

1896: Monthly Prayer Meetings in connection with the Three Years′ Enterprise of the Church Missionary Society (second Fridays).

1898: January: Hooe and Ninfield Parish Magazine circulated. By having one magazine for both Parishes it was hoped to gain enough subscribers to make the venture self-supporting, but it failed because "parishism" prevented it being acceptable to either Parish.

1899: July 16th: The Tenor Bell was rung for the first time after being re–hung (with the other four).

1900: May 20th: Relief of Mafeking celebrated.

1901: March 27th: Lantern Lecture on James Hannington, Bishop and Martyr.

April 7th: George Harmer, Verger and Sexton, died.

May 16th: Hooe Club attended Ascension Day Services.

Hooe School

Extracts from the School Log Books

It is obvious that education was not neglected during the centuries before the Elementary Education Act of 1870. Besides handwriting, reading and simple arithmetic, some attention was given to other arts. In 1763 the clerk′s wages were advanced "ten shillings per annum in consideration of his teaching singing and his extraordinary attendance in the season of Lent".

There was a trust deed of Hooe School in 1845. Of this a copy was made in August, 1846, which was submitted to the Board of Education for amendment in January, 1903. By the deed, the trustees are the Archdeacon of Lewes, the incumbent and the two churchwardens; the religious instruction is to be consonant with the principles of the National Society through whose grants the building was erected.

The first extant log book dates from April, 1863, and opens with a copy of the Government Report for 1864, which states: "A boarded floor should if possible be laid down". Some of the entries are interesting to-day. Among them are: -

1865 "Punished . . . . for bird′s nesting"
1866 "A full school on account of its being the new master′s first day. Examination before the parents by Mr. Maning and myself."
1868 "Weather hot. Children restless. Allowing five minutes recreation in the afternoon".
1869 There were 68 present at an examination. The Government Report ran: "The attendance is large, larger in fact than the room will well accommodate. It would be well for the managers to add to the size of the room,if possible."
1870 The Report stated: "The buildings are not good. The school is badly supported, the voluntary subscriptions amounting to only £9 5s. The income besides the subscriptions was made up of Government Grant, £36 19s, grants from societies, £10, school pence, £30 10s 6d".
1871 "Weather warmer. Several boys played truant in the afternoon. Sent home three of the R family for owing six weeks′ schooling and also G. and M. B. - G. and M. B. were received back the next day; the others were away for six weeks".
1872 "Colonel Lane and Dr. Wallis visited. In July, 17 children left to attend a dame′s school until it was closed in October, 1873".
1873 "116 names on the registers. Mumps reduces the attendance to 40 per cent".
1874 "First visit of a Sanitary Inspector who inspected the premises quarterly".
1883 "First School Attendance Officer′s visit - The Entertainment Committee bought the school clock. The Government Report stated: "The playground should be well covered with ashes, brick rubbish or good gravel. The gallery is very steep - almost too steep to be safe for the little ones".
1888 "No child came to school although the bell was rung". The previous day was Hooe Club Day.
1889 "Scripture lesson from 11 to 12 on Wednesdays, to suit the Rev. C. Routh′s convenience".
1890 "Church seats (the Church being renovated), occupied part of the infants′ room, so the kindergarten work was suspended".
1893 "school in charge of the mistress and paid monitor this morning as the master was engaged at the Church repairing the instrument there. Holiday in afternoon for same reason".

School Photo 1916
Click on the picture on the left to see a larger version and a list of the names of those in the photograph

The Head Teachers

John Psarea Hunt was appointed in 1864, and was succeeded by Edward North, Fred Hewlett, Isaac Winchester, Robert Atkins, Richard Eager, Charles Woodcock and Thomas Badcock (who left in 1878). Woodcock was master for four years, the others about 18 months each. Joseph Ridel began duties in March, 1878, and remained for six and a quarter years. His successors were George Bu!brook, Charles Smith, Henry Foora, John Phillips and Godfrey Wolfe, who each stayed about two years. John J. Newport was appointed in May, 1895, and continued to October, 1920, 25½ years, and was succeeded by Arthur G. Fuller.

Educational Statistics

School attendance has been the subject of many an argument. When Free Education was introduced, many argued that attendance would fall off. The following facts are based on graphs covering 25 years.

Before education was made free, in 1892, the percentage of annual attendance in Hooe School was 74.5. During the succeeding five years, it rose to 78.7. The average percentage from 1892 to 1902 was 79.6. The lowest, in 1887, was 72, and the highest, in 1910, was 95.7.

In 1903 there were two outbreaks of diphtheria, whooping cough in 1904, measles in 1906, chickenpox, bronchitis and colds in 1907, and scarlet fever in 1910.

Admissions fluctuated much, the lowest being 11(1898), the highest, 31 (1896).

The average annual attendance in 1893 was 85. From this number it droppped year after year to 68, in 1898. After rising to 71, it fell again - to 65, in 1902. It rose again - to 81, and was steady between 77 and 82 (1912), afterwards falling to 67 (1915).

From the above it is evident there are circumstances affecting school attendance beyond managers′ control. There may not be the child population to attend; and epidemics may prevent many attending. But, it is also evident, the attendance of those who should attend the elementary school is much higher than it was forty years ago.

Hooe Reading Room

One night in 1897 several lads approached the schoolmaster who was at his work in the schoolroom, with a request to be allowed to share the warmth and light of the room with him.

Tom Corke was their spokesman and Albert Markwick one who supported him. They asked to be allowed to read books and they promised to behave themselves.

Subject to the Managers giving consent they were allowed in - seventeen of them. On the conditions that schoolmaster was present with them all the time and that they contributed to the cost of fuel and light, the Managers consented.

Numbers soon rose to thirty. Books were asked for, and received, and indoor games were provided.

After a time, Mr. John Brand introduced Sandow′s Physical Culture, dumb-bells and bar-bells were bought, and physical training became the thing.

Among several circumstances that brought about the end of all this, were two outbreaks of diphtheria in 1903, on account of which there was a general destruction of books and papers through fumigating the rooms with sulphur.The fumigations were followed by thorough redecoration, the expense of which led to caution on the part of the Reading Room Committee and the Managers. There was also the prospect of a Parish Room being provided and available for their use. The Village Hall was opened in November, 1912.

Hooe Hop Gardens

In the course of a century great changes have taken place in local agriculture.

There was a time when hop gardens and cornfields were numerous. Harvests then were times of merriment as well as toil. According to accounts hop gardens were many on the Court Lodge and Grove Farms. Other farms also had hop gardens.

The last hop garden was on Grove Farm and adjoining the Churchyard.

Hooe Diamond Jubilee Celebration

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria′s reign was duly celebrated in Hooe. On the Sunday, June 20th, there were special hymns and an anthem "Happy are the People" (Caleb Simper′s) and a special preacher in the morning (Rev. W. Routh).

On Tuesday, June 22nd, 1897, a "grand free meat tea, worthy of the auspicious and glorious event", was provided at the Grove.

Ninfield Volunteer Band led a procession of Hooe Cricket Club and the school children through the village, with banners, flags, and Coronation medals gleaming.

About 340 persons assembled - every resident in the Parish for the time being (including van-dwellers and tramps) being invited. Some were fetched. Those unable to be present received gifts in their homes.

There were sports for all. Balloons were sent up. Cricket and dancing were indulged in. Swings delighted the children. Cricket was played in Burgroves, and Stoolball in Kiln Field.

"The time was one unsullied round of delightful sociability, calculated to strengthen the harmony and well-being of the Parish, and thus to bind all hearts in loyalty to the beloved Queen whose record reign had brought about the gathering".

On the following evening a Service of Song, "Queen Victoria", was rendered by a special choir of three dozen young people in the schoolroom. A good and appreciative audience assembled.

The following was a special hymn, of which hundreds of copies were printed and sold in London and elsewhere:


Tune: "Old Hundredth"

1. We praise Thee for Thy goodness, Lord!
The earth is with its fulness stored!
We thank Thee that upon our Queen,
Thy choicest gifts bestowed have been!
2. Beloved Victoria′s happy reign,
To threescore years doth now attain!
Bless her! Preserve her! Grant her peace!
Her knowlege of Thyself increase!
3. Thy precious Holy Word we own,
Has been her source of strength alone;
By righteousness her kingdom stands,
A power and honour in all lands.
4. Around the earth with breaking morn,
On wings of faith to Thee upborne,
Her people′s prayers and praises soar
From ocean, land, from many a shore.
5. In every clime her servants move
To tell Thy great redeeming love;
Thy mercy doth their labour claim,
In saving souls to praise Thy name.
6. With this our humble song of praise,
The prayer "God save the Queen" we raise;
Grant her at last felicity,
Before Thy throne eternally.
7. We praise Thee from Whom blessings flow;
Praise be to Thee from all below,
From men and from the angel-host,
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Queen Victoria Memorial Services

A Memorial Service, held on Saturday, February, 2nd, 1901, at 2.30, was unique in several respects. Though a Saturday afternoon, the Church could not seat the congregation, and chairs were brought from The Grove and placed between the pews. All appeared as mourners and maintained a solemn quietness. The Holy Table, the Pulpit, and the reading desk were draped with black. The tenor bell was tolled; the other bells were silent. Hymns sung were:- "Saviour, when in dust", "0 where shall rest be found", and "Hush blessed are the dead".

A Miss Elphick, well-known in the village as the devoted companion of Miss Routh, died the same day as the Queen did, and bereaved relatives and friends attended.

The following day the Services were continued.

"Hush! blessed are the dead" was adapted by the organist in the form here given:-

Hush! Blessed are the dead,
In Jesu′s arms who rest,
And lean their weary head,
For ever on His breast.

Their tent-life now is past,
Its sorrow, toil, and care,
Its withering midnight blast,
Its fiery noonday glare.

Ours only are the tears,
Who weep around the tomb,
The light of bygone years,
And shadowing years to come.

We mourn a tender heart,
An Empire′s love that kept,
From her we grieve to part;
O blame not! "Jesus wept".

Blest hope! There dawns a day,
Our Heavenly Father′s voice,
Stronger than death, shall say,
Awake! - Arise! - Rejoice!

Hooe Choral Society

A Choral Society was founded in Hooe in 1891. Miss E. Brand was the pianist, Miss A. Roberts, Harmoniumist, Mr. F. Tatham, the secretary. Members met for practices at The Grove and at Hooe Schoolroom alternately and paid threepence each week towards cost of music.

Charitable concerts were held in which the society took part, assisted by Mr. and Mrs. W. H. G. Peel, Mr.John Keefe, Mr. Kingsley Candler, Mr. H. Chown and others.

Among the concerts was one on behalf of the Transvaal War Fund, at which a Miss Else, then resident at Moor Hall, Ninfield, sang Rudyard Kipling′s appeal to the audience to "Pay, pay, pay".

The Primrose League

Hooe and Ninfield had a branch of the Primrose League - the Waterloo Habitation.

Hooe Salvation Army Fort

The Salvation Army had a fort in the granary of Church Farm, Halls Cross, when the farm was held by a Mr. Fuller.

Hooe Village Hall

An outcome of the Education Act of 1902 was the closing of Hooe School against all use other than for public elementary education and local government purposes.

The Rev. C. Routh, to meet the situation thus created, offered £40 towards the cost of an iron building that would answer the Church′s requirements. Others suggested additional accommodation to seat two hundred people.

It was agreed there should be two rooms - a small one generally for Church gatherings, a larger one for others. The schoolmaster acted as Secretary until the work became too much for him. Then Mrs. Weston, of Castlehurst, consented to carry on, and initiated a Ladies′ Sewing Party to raise money for the project. Associated with her were Mrs. Brand of The Grove, Mrs. Dodson, Hooe Post Office, and Mrs. Lemmon, of Holmes′s Farm.

After a time it was decided to erect a permanent building. A plot of Parish land was bought for £15.

Dissension arose as to the purpose of the "Parish Room" to be. Although the Sewing Party had the free use of the Vicar′s house and garden (with refreshments) for their meetings and sales of work, they resolved that he should have no control of the "Room". The Hon. T. A. Brassey (afterwards Viscount Hythe) offered to provide a Village Hall for general Parish purposes. But when he learnt of the dissension, he withdrew his offer.

The Chairman of the Parish Council, Mr. Brand, interviewed his lordship, and persuaded him to give the building.

A draft Trust Deed, drawn up by his lordship, was submitted to a Parish Meeting for approval. It was resolved not to agree to the vicar having any right to hold Church services.

In November, 1912, the Hall was opened as a Working Men′s Club Room and continued as such for seven years.

When, in 1919, peace was to be celebrated, parishioners clamoured for it to be open to them.

A Public Meeting was held in it on September 30th, with Mr. Brand as Chairman. This was followed by another on October 8th. A Committee was appointed to give effect to the people′s wishes, his lordship′s advice was sought and his draft Trust Deed followed, except that religious services were as sanctioned by the Committee.

A Cloak Room was added in 1932 and was opened by Master Paul Sparke.

Hooe Boy Scouts

At the suggestion of Lord Brassey to a schoolboy named Sidney Plester outside Hooe School one midday in 1913, a troop of B.P. Boy Scouts was formed which, by permission, was styled "Brassey′s Own". The scoutmaster was Mr. J. J. Newport who organised Wolf Cubs too, and had patrols in Ninfield and Catsfield. Mr. Lancaster lent his barber′s shop for meetings in Catsfield. Hooe School was the headquarters where all equipment was stored. All expenses were met by donations of £2 from Viscount Hythe, £1 from the Rev. C. Routh, 4s collected by Scout Gilbert Munn, payments by the boys, or their parents, supplemented by grants from the Hastings Association and grants by the Admiralty for coast-watching. The troop joined in the manoeuvres at Battle and Crowhurst, attended special services on St. George′s Day, at Hastings, Battle and Ninfield; also took part in public processions on behalf of local hospitals.

On the outbreak of the Great War, on the second Sunday evening, they were called upon to take up coast watching duty at Bexhill. They occupied the Boat house, in which they slept (on mattresses on the floor), cooked their meals (on oil stoves), stored and repaired bicycles, washed and repaired clothing.

Services were held there, too, on Sunday evenings, with visitors standing around. One shilling and sixpence was the allowance for each scout per day. There were ten scouts. Any surplus after defraying all expenses, was shared among the boys at the week end. For a few days the duties of the scouts were directed by the police and the coastguards. Afterwards, the coast from Glyne Gap to Cooden Halt was patrolled - by the scoutmaster, from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.; by the boys, in pairs, during intervening hours.

As the scoutmaster had no sleep other than what he got between 4 and 7 a.m., after five weeks of such service he obtained relief. Scouts R. Brand and R. Pocock were drafted to Fairlight for service there. Troop Leader C. J. V. Newport joined the 15th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, R. Pocock, the 3rd Royal Sussex Regiment; W. Plester, the 5th Royal Sussex Regiment, and E. M. Elphick, the 6th Sussex Royal Field Artillery. W. Plester "went home".

Some useful scoutcraft was done in surveying public rights of way in order to assist in the migration of civilians to the interior if necessity arose. On the marsh fire-lighting, cooking, drawing, colouring, signalling, swimming, map reading, direction-finding, and games (including "Kim′s") were practised. At one time the collection of paper was an important duty; and at another the gathering of fruit, especially blackberries, for jam.

Instruction was given in tracking, first-aid, life-saving (from fire and flood).

During the war prices of clothing advanced so that uniforms became too expensive, and there was such a demand for boy labour that the troop broke up in 1920.

One "camp" was held in a field adjoining Knebworth House, Bexhill, by permission of Mr. J. Keylock, who gave the troop a bell tent and instructed several lads in carpentry.

A Troop Committee was formed with Mr. J. E. Brand, Grove Farm, and Mr. R. Hayward, Quiddleswell Mount, as members. They thoroughly examined all accounts and equipment. Equipment bought while in Bexhill cost £9 5s; food cost £10 us; monies paid the boys totalled £1 12s, badges and similar items, £1 2s.

The accounts of the Catsfield Patrol were examined and approved by the Countess Brassey, July 21st, 1917. Her Ladyship gave 12s to the funds for flutes and the Rev. E. A. Ridge, lOs.

Donations by Bexhill residents in 1914 amounted to £8 14s and Admiralty grants to £13 18s.

Boy Scouts

Raymond Brand, Cuthbert J. V. Newport, Cyril Brand, Reginald Pocok, Percy Brand, Ernest M. Elphick, Hubert Brand, William Barden, Gordon Pont, Cecil Lade, Gilbert Munn, Charles Smith, Howard Munn, Stanley Russell, Sidney Plester, Ernest Bingham, William Plester, John Bingham, Edwin Sargent, John Creasey, Cecil Clifton, Cecil Smith,

Hooe First-Aiders

In October, 1927, two meetings were held in the Village Hall to decide whether a class under the St. John Ambulance Association should be formed or not. Captain H. H. Kent, of Court Lodge, and Dr.Neighbour, of Boreham Street, were the prime movers. Captain Kent was elected President and Mr. Newport, Secretary.

Captain Kent defrayed the cost of books. Members paid 6d a week. The first lecture was given on November 7th, and 35 were present. For the first examination 18 qualified. Subsequently members volunteered to join the St. John Ambulance brigade and as members thereof were attached to the Battle Division.

With local support the members have been able to secure uniforms and equipment.

The first Sergeant was J. J. Newport, who resigned in 1932 and was succeeded by H. Hammond.

"Publicity Duty" was first rendered near the King′s Arms Inn, Ninfield, Sunday, August 3rd, 1930.

Lectures and practices were given in Ninfield Memorial Hall and Hooe Village Hall.

Other parades were held in a shed kindly lent by the late Major Few, Drayton Lodge, Ninfield.

Monetary support was obtained by whist Drives.

Following Dr. Neighbour, Dr. Shillito was the lecturer.

Hooe Village Band

Hooe Village Band, styled Hooe Prize Band, because of its many successes at Band Contests, originated in 1902, with a few lads playing whistles and fifes with a tambourine for a drum under the tuition and leadership of the late Mr. Roland Smith - a brother of the Bandmaster who succeeded him, Mr. Harold Smith.

With the kind consent of the late Mr. Boniface of Pevensey, practices were held in the barn at the rear of Church Farmhouse, Halls Cross, without charge. Tunes were learnt by ear, for the only kind of light possible was by candles.

Members contributed 3d a week each towards expenses.

Although little could be expected from a band trained under such conditions, yet the Hooe Band was requisitioned to lead torchlight processions on November 5th Celebrations - when a "guy" on a hand-carriage was conveyed to its cremation on the bonfire. Year after year the Band attended Hospital Parades at Herstmonceux and at Pevensey. The voluntary service involved much marching. The Band marched to Herstmonceux, marched about eight miles around Herstmonceux and then home - altogether some twenty-four miles.

As a token of their gratitude for the free use of his barn, the members contributed and bought Mr. Boniface a silver-mounted walking-stick - a gift he valued.

We have recorded that the barn was lighted with candles - as for warmth, when it was cold, marching was resorted to.

Marches to Wartling Hill and other villages were made and smoking concerts indulged in before the return home.

For some time the present Bandmaster was a member of the Ninfield Band. During recent years the Band has changed to brass instruments and from them to silver ones.

They are also now uniformed, the uniforms being blue with white stripes.

In recent years, too, the Band has been well supported by local residents. Practices are held, generally on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Hooe Village Hall. Expenses are met by subscriptions, donations, collections and members′ payments.

Among the Presidents have been Captain R. G. Kincaid and Mr. H. E. Froy. The present one is Mrs. Constant, Holmes′s Farm, whilst Mr. J. Berthon Sparke, M.A., J.P., has acted as Chairman for some years.

Hooe Flower Show

Hooe Flower Show originated in 1928 with Miss Carter, of "Highfields", Hooe, and Admiral Chambers, C.B., O.B.E., of Tanyard House, Ninfield. When £12 had been subscribed the Admiral declared enough had been given to warrant the Committee to proceed with a hope of good success.

The Show was held on Sadler′s Farm by permission of the late Mrs. T. Morris. It was opened, and the prizes were presented by Mrs. Kincaid, Little Park.

The total contributed to the Show exceeded £27 and to the Sports (held as part of the day′s programme) nearly £11.

There were 73 exhibitors with 169 entries.

Recepts from side-shows were remarkable: From Coconut Shies, £11 6s; Wheel of Fortune, £9 7s; Treasure Hunt, £2 8s. £9 15s was taken by sale of admission tickets.

In 1929, £67 was received in donations; in the two following years, £50 and £23 (nearly).

Exhibitors increased to 121 and their exhibits to 412 in 1930, in which year Challenge Cups were given by Mrs. Froy, of Court Lodge.

In 1929 the value of the Show prizes was £34 10s 6d including special ones amounting to £13 1s 6d.

In 1929 the Show was in Crouch Lane Field, Little Park, Ninfield, by invitation of Mr. R. G. Kincaid, opened by the Countess Brassey. The Show Prizes were presented by Mrs. Lawrence (late of Gotham Wood) and the Sports Prizes by Mrs. Barnardo, Barnharn Lane.

The show of 1930 was on Denby Farm Football Field, and opened by Alderman Mrs. Meads in the absence of the Mayor of Hastings. Flower Show prizes were presented by Mrs. Kent, and Sports prizes by Mrs. Weeks, Highfield House, Hooe.

The same field was used in 1931 and the opener was Mrs. Meads, then the Mayor of Bexhill. Mrs. Froy, Court Lodge, Hooe, presented the Show prizes and Mrs. Kincaid, Little Park, Ninfield, the Sports prizes.

Proceeds of the Shows were for the following objects:- Hooe Village Hall Enlargement Fund (1929), Hooe Village Hall Re-decoration and the School Playground (1930).

Since 1931 the show has not been held, as sufficient support has not been forthcoming.

Coronation Celebrations

In the Churchwarden′s Accounts we have records of expenses on the Coronation Days of Queen Anne (1702), George I (1715), George 11(1729) and on Anniversaries of such days.

These expenses were payments to the bellringers for beer or brandy - possibly for beer only. There is no hint of any other thing.

We find these expenses increased with time; for in 1702 the cost was 7s 6d; in 1715 £1 1s 6d; in 1729, £2 11s.

We have records of the Coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1902. It may be remembered that the King, being taken ill with appendicitis, was unable to be crowned on the appointed day, 26th June, 1902, and the event was postponed until August 9th.

The celebration in Hooe which cost £32, included a Service in the Church in the morning, sports in the afternoon, a Tea, open to all parishioners, a bonfire and fireworks. Hooe Village Band (then a Drum and Fife band)supplied the music on the field.

At the Church service a hymn composed by the Vicar and organist was sung, also a special verse to the National Anthem.

Assembled in Thy House of Prayer,
And in Thy Holy Name,
Thy blessing on our King and Queen,
O Lord, we now would claim.
Anointed they will be this day,
As were the Kings of old,
With solemn rite, and on their heads,
Be placed their crowns of gold.
To Britain′s king shall many a race,
Unite in homage free,
Thy Holy Church shall own his sway,
As minister to Thee.
Therefore, 0 Lord, the King of Kings,
We now to Thee draw near,
Grant us Thy grace to pray aright,
And our petitions hear.
C.R. and J.J.N.
The royal spouse no less,
0, God, for ever bless,
And guard our Queen.
To her Thy grace impart,
Shield her from sorrow′s smart,
Throned in the nation′s heart,
God save our Queen.
John James Newport,

Other Publications by J. J. Newport

An Illustrated Historical and Descriptive Account of Hooe Church, Sussex

1st edition (1898)
2nd edition (1899)
3rd edition by D. H. N (1986)

Other Publications now out of Print

Pruning Notes (1935)
Notes on Ninfield Parish Church (1935)
What is the Gospel? (1936)
The Order of Confirmation (1942)

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