Summary[edit | edit source]
The Sea Gate, or 'Drawbridge Gate' was perhaps the most important of the three gates in the Town Wall. It carried the main road to Hastings Priory and locations to the west. Its significance can be measured in that it was repeatedly mentioned as a convenient landmark in property deeds etc. There was presumably some form of access to the wall's top and gate for any defenders and in 1642, a mason is recorded as receiving 5s for "mending the staires".
The alternative name suggests a drawbridge, but there is no evidence of a moat being cut however a payment voucher dating to 1822 shows "Iron worke to Draw Bridge...Irons to go Cross the bridge...chain to the roller...cast iron trendle" which would imply there was a bridge somewhere in the vicinity and J. Manwaring Baines suggests across The Bourne.
Drainage work undertaken nearby in George Street uncovered some very strong masonry at some distance outside the wall in 1856. Thomas Ross, then local secretary for the Sussex Archaeological Society suggested it was the remains of the drawbridge abutments. In a paper he subsequently wrote "At Oak Hill, by the bottom of High Street, was the drawbridge and gateway of massive proportions, if we may judge from the foundations discovered in draining that part of town". Unfortunately drawings made at the time were not preserved.