Waldegrave Drinking Fountain

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The Waldegrave drinking fountain was built in honour of Sarah Whitear, Countess Waldegrave (1787-1873) at the apex of Holy Trinity Church on Robertson Street

Built to a design by S. S. Teulon, the fountain is constructed from polished red granite and Portland stone.

Press Reporting[edit]

The Sussex Advertiser of the 19th July 1859 reported the following;

"Our readers will, no doubt, be glad to learn that the Drinking Fountain Movement, which has now become so popular in many of our large towns, has been taken up at Hastings with a degree of spirit that speaks well for its success. A project in reference to this subject has been set on foot here by Mr. George Curling Hope, and will shortly be placed before the inhabitants in an official form. It is proposed that the first public drinking fountain should take the form of a testimonial to the Countess Waldegrave, in grateful acknowledgment of her ladyship's generous support of the religions, educational, and benevolent institutions of the borough and neighbourhood; and that it shall be erected on the triangular plot of ground contiguous to the eastern end of the Holy Trinity Church, Robertson Street. A design has been prepared by S. S. Teulon, in unison with the architecture of the church, which owes its erection in a great degree to her ladyship's liberality. It consists of a square basement, upon which will be the inscriptions, and on each side will be bracketed out a basin, receiving a jet of water."[1]

"This basement is surmounted by a sculptured group of our Lord and the Woman of Samaria, under an open canopy, with figures of angels at the corners. The height of the whole erection will be eighteen feet, and the estimated cost is about £150. It is understood that the Countess of Waldegrave has been communicated with upon the subject, and has been pleased to express her willingness to accept such a tribute. The Mayor (Will Ginner, Esq.), the Deputy Mayor (Mr. Alderman Rock), Rev. Dr. Crosse, Rev. J. A. Hatchard, W. D. Lucas-Shadwell, Esq., and Mr. Alderman Ross have consented to form the nucleus of the committee, the latter gentleman officiating as treasurer."[1]

"Very little need be said in favour of the movement, as there can be no question that a drinking fountain in such a public thoroughfare as that proposed would at once be a great boon to the Wayfarer and an encouragement to temperance. The promoters express a confident hope that "every inhabitant will feel a pleasurable duty to contribute to this object, that not alone the gentry and the trade, but the fishery, the mechanic, and the labourer will vie with each other in adding their names to the roll of those who delight to acknowledge Lady Waldegrave as a generous benefactor to the locality."[1]

Inscriptions[edit]

South face, red granite plaque with incised black painted letters:
  • TO SARAH
    COUNTESS OF WALDEGRAVE.
    IN GRATEFUL COMMEMORATION
    OF THE CONSTANT SUPPORT
    AFFORDED BY HER
    TO THE
    RELIGIOUS AND BENEVOLENT
    INSTITUTIONS OF THE BOROUGH
    AND NEIGHBOURHOOD


East face, red granite plaque with incised black painted letters:
  • + JESUS + SAID
    WHOSOEVER
    DRINKETH OF THIS WATER
    SHALL THIRST AGAIN
    BUT
    WHOSOEVER DRINKETH
    OF THE WATER
    THAT I SHALL
    GIVE HIM
    + SHALL NEVER THIRST +


North face, red granite plaque with incised black painted letters:
  • ERECTED 1861
    BY SUBSCRIPTION
    BY THE INHABITANTS OF
    HASTINGS AND ST LEONARDS
    INCLUDING
    THE PENCE OF CHILDREN
    AND YOUNG PERSONS
    EDUCATED IN THE
    NATIONAL SCHOOLS

Current Condition[edit]

The structure is on the Heritage at Risk register and is badly damaged. The original drinking cups, chains, and taps are missing, the four statues of the evangelists are missing from the canopy, and the decorative top to the Spire is missing. The entire fountain is also severely corroded and weathered.


  1. a b c Sussex Advertiser - Tuesday 19 July 1859 (Via Ian Shiner/British Newspaper Archive)