St Clements Church

From Historical Hastings Wiki

The first St Clements Church was under the cliff towards the Harbour, possibly near the Light Steps[1]. Owing to encroachment of the sea (although Cole claims it was destroyed in 1236[1]), it moved to its present location in 1286. This site was in turn destroyed in 1377 when the French raided the town and the present church erected on the same site in 1380.[2][3][1] The church was built by Abbot of Fecamp, on land provided by Alan De Ches-mongre[1].

Features[edit | edit source]

The Altar piece is painted by Roger Mortimer; in the centre is the decalogue, with painting of Moses and Aaron to the left and right respectively.[3] The ceiling represents the heavenly regions and has figures of Faith, Hope, Charity and Fortitude in the corners.[3] There is an octagonal font at the west end of the church, decorated by the instruments of our Saviour's passion on the sides.[3]

Originally, there was an pulpit cover made from part of the canopy used at King George I's coronation, but this was removed due to it appearing 'too showy'[3]

Two chandeliers, removed and sold for brass value in 1838, used to hang from the ceiling.[3]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Both All Saints Church and St Clements Church were both occupied by Cromwell’s men during the Civil War. The Royalist rector fled in what was Hastings’ only serious Civil War incident.

Cannonballs[edit | edit source]

In 1720, a combined French and Dutch fleet bombarded the town. This event is memorialised in the form of the two cannonballs embedded in the tower of the church on the site facing Hill Street.[4]

Interments[edit | edit source]

On the floor are two brasses, with the following inscriptions :- “Here lyeth the body of Thomas “'ekes, late Jurat of Heating, and Margery his Wyf, which Thomas dyed the Xth day of November, in the year of our Lord and God 1563. they had issue of hyr body on Daughter named Elizabeth.” The brass of the female figure is gone. The other brass carries the following inscription in Roman capitals: “ Here under lyeth buried the bones of John Barley, late of this town and port of Hasting mercer; and of Thomas Barley, his sonne, and Alyce his daughter. by Mary his wife, daughter of Robert Harley, which John died the last day of March, 1601, being of age the 41 years, and the said Thomas died the first of April, 1600, being 19 years of age, and the said Alice died the 15th day of June, 1592, being of the age of 7 years, to whom God grant a joyful resurrection.”[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Antiquities of Hastings and the Battlefield (Thomas Cole 1864) Pg. 44 Google Books
    - 1864 ESCC Library. A later edition is also available: ESCC Library - 1884
  2. Hastings Survey of Times Past and Present (Anthony Belt F.L.S.) 1937 pg.43 ESCC Library
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 A Guide to Hastings & St Leonards (Thomas Ross 1835) pg.5 Google Books
  4. Hastings, past and present (Mary Matilda Howard) pg. 26 Google Books
  5. Osborne's Visitor's Guide to Hastings and St Leonards c1854 3rd ed. Pg. 30 Google Books