St. Andrew sub Castro Church

From Historical Hastings

The Church of St Andrew sub Castro was located behind 65 to 71 Castle Hill Road.

Pope Nicholas' Register translates the name as 'St Andrew before the Castle'. The word before carries significance as the site was indeed in close proximity to the drawbridge of Hastings Castle on the north-west side.[1] The church was believed to have been destroyed circa 1440[2], possibly as a result of plundering by the French[3] and all that survived out of the derelict building by the 1820s were a few fragmentary ruins remaining from the church which had stood derelict since the 15th Century[4]. Cole states that 'the ruins of which were met with some years ago, just to the north of Wellington Square, within the modern St. Mary's parish, and a few yards beyond the present boundary of St. Andrew 's parish' in his work The Antiquities of Hastings & the Battlefield published in 1867[5].

Horsfield in his 'The History, Antiquities and Topography of the County of Sussex (1835)'[6] states at page 452; "The ruins of St. Andrew's Church stood within 15 years (1819). The site was sold and desecrated to building purposes, in violation of the dead, and the patronage of the rectory, although vested in the Corporation by Royal grant, and confirmed by Act of Parliament.".[1] Indeed, it is known that one of the cottages that existed behind Castle Hill Road (called Castle Cross House) had St Andrew's cross carved out of stone incorporated into the building[7]. According to Diplock's Guide of 1855, the cross was attached to an ancient gravestone that had been dug out of the courtyard, together with other blocks of worked Caen stone and a large number of skeletons. These cottages were demolished circa 1966/67.

During development work at the end of the old churchyard, either when the Charity School was built in 1848 or when it was either replaced by or converted into the Railway Mission Hall in 1892 some burials were found which may have been a late use of what was formerly consecrated ground; it is recorded that suicides were buried here, and possibly some men from the "Amsterdam."[8]


See notes to pg365 of Osborne's Hastings Past and Present

References & Notes

  1. a b Hastings of Bygone Days and the Present (Henry Cousins - 1911) pg.17 ISBN: 9789332862449 ESCC Library Google Books " Amazon
  2. Osborne's Visitor's Guide to Hastings and St Leonards c1854 3rd ed. Pg. 1440 Google Books
  3. St. Andrew's Parish History: St. Andrew's Parish History, accessdate: 16 January 2020
  4. "Sussex" (Horsfield 1835)
  5. The Antiquities of Hastings and the Battlefield (Thomas Cole 1864) Pg. 58 Google Books - 1864 ESCC Library. A later edition is also available: ESCC Library - 1884
  6. ISBN: 0903967200 ESCC Library
  7. HAARG Journal No.10 - December 2000
  8. St Andrew-Sub-Castro Church. Hastings : C13 church (site of): St Andrew-Sub-Castro Church. Hastings : C13 church (site of), accessdate: 16 January 2020