The seat of the Lady Dowager Elphinstone. Horsfield records that it was originally constructed by John of Gaunt (1340-1399), Duke of Lancaster and later converted to a religious house, then becoming the residence of Richard Sackwell and Crispe family The building was re-constructed in the early 1800s by Thomas Spalding (1805-1887). Many archaeological relics have been found in the grounds.
With the building falling into disuse following the ownership of the eccentric Mr. Farmer Atkinson, it was converted and extended by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin - joining Jesuits to set up a retreat & study centre there in 1906. Hastings had already had a significant French Jesuit presence - this lasting between 1883 until 1926, although Teilhard only was present until 1912. In total, there were 20,000 books weighing 60 tons moved into the buildings during its usage as a learning retreat and accommodation for up to 100 students. The Jesuits maintained the building as a study centre until circa 1926.
The building was requisitioned for army usage during WW2 as the Royal Army Service Corps records office. Post-war, it was utilised by the military as a records office with staff from the Army Catering Corps and RASC with the ACC records and staff moving in on the 25th April 1947, this continuing until circa 1976.
A Roman hoard of 92 Bronze and 52 silver coins were found at the junction of Centurion Road and Ore Place (Road) in 1989. An associated hand-made grog tempered-ware pot dating to the 1st to mid-2nd century was discovered at the same time.
References & Notes
- A Guide to Hastings & St Leonards (Thomas Ross 1835) Google Books
- Osborne's Visitor's Guide to Hastings and St Leonards c1854 3rd ed. Pg. 75 Google Books
- British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 24 July 1926 Pg. 0009
- Grumett, David. “Teilhard at Ore Place, Hastings, 1908-1912.” New Blackfriars, vol. 90, no. 1030, 2009, pp. 687–700. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/43251348. Accessed 16 Dec. 2020
- BBC Peoples War
- Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 26 April 1947