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NLHG Newsletter Archive


July 2015


Rat’s Castle:.The Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group are in the process of applying for a licence to excavate at Castle Croft, Ninfield. in October 2015

Castle Croft, an earthwork comprising a convex platform which is raised above the surrounding ground and enclosed within a fairly deep but narrow trench.  It was possibly a dry island for stock when the area was flooded, but "a more reasonable explanation" is that it was a "crannog or marsh village". Castle Croft is known locally as Rat's Castle. The name Rat's Castle was probably acquired because it was traditionally a refuge for water rats.

Castle Croft, an oval area, under permanent pasture, c 90.0m NE-SW by c 64.0m transversely, raised about 1.5m above the surrounding drained flood plain. It is steep-sided and almost completely encircled by a hedge in such a manner as to form a revetment. It appears to form an integral part of the system of fields reclaimed from marshland, and as such is almost certainly contemporary. As suggested, it is probably a cattle refuge formed by the sculpturing of a natural rise. The interior is featureless.(OS field report) Roman tile has been recovered from the make up of the earthwork and a quantity of Roman coins found by metal detectorists on the mound. These finds suggest the site may be Romano-British possibly related to a quayside settlement. (East Sussex HER)


Forthcoming meetings: 7.30pm in the Methodist Hall unless stated otherwise

There are some errors with the meeting dates on your membership cards, the dates below are correct.

July 16thOh We Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside! with Ian Gledhill


September 12thExhibition at the Memorial Hall details to follow

September 17thTwittens & Cat Creeps in Hastings Old Town Clive Richardson

October 15thSussex & the Napoleonic Wars by Helen Poole

November 19thA Sussex Farm During the 1950s with Ian Everest

December 17thChristmas Social details to be confirmed



Other Events:



Bluebell Railway & Borde Hill Gardens:

Bexhill Museum have organized an all day outing on Friday 10th July from 8.30 until 18.30. The trip includes a ride on the steam train from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead, followed by a coach transfer to Borde Hill to view the 17 acre gardens and 200 acre parkland. There is an opportunity to look around the Elizabethan mansion too. The cost is a very reasonable £35 per person. Call Bexhill 846369 for further details.


Hastings Museum & Art Gallery:

'All at Sea” an exhibition based on themes of marine vessels and Sussex coastal scenes is running until January 2016. There is also a small display on the “Battle of Waterloo” to mark the 200th anniversary of Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon. This exhibition runs until the end of this month. The museum is open every day except Mondays 10.00 until 4.00 (Sunday is 12.00 until 4.00) and is situated in John’s Place, Bohemia Road, Hastings TN34 1ET. I have recently completed an online course of study using this website and I can thoroughly recommend it. There are a wide range of topics but coming up in the history section there is “England in the Time of King Richard III” and “WW1: Aviation Comes of Age”. Both courses start on 13th July and use online lectures, videos and audio material and allow time for discussion with other participants. All courses are free and you can put in as much (or as little!) work as you want.





Transport in Times Gone By



The Beal & Catt Cycle Shop

This rather blurred photo shows the cycle shop run by Mr Beal and Mr Catt possibly in Sidley? In the early 1900s.

There was a cycle shop in Ninfield too, run by Bert Munn in the 1950s.

Cycling was a popular way of getting about and a bicycle (usually second hand) was often the first purchase when a teenager started working. This gave them the freedom to get around without relying on the bus service. In some families everyone had a cycle and the whole family would set off to picnic in a local beauty spot or on the beach.


Many of the long time residents of Ninfield who were interviewed as part of our Heritage Lottery Fund project remembered their younger days (before cars became commonplace) when cycling to work in Bexhill, Herstmonceux and Battle in all weathers was part of daily life. Nowadays the roads are so busy with fast moving traffic, only the intrepid venture out on 2 wheels!



Group Contacts:


Rod Ffoulkes (Chair)  Tel: 893635, Janice Wood (Secretary) & Martin Wood (Treasurer) Tel: 892895,   Corinne Gibbons (Membership) Tel: 892612, Jan Cooper (Archivist)  Tel: 893381, Liz Darbyshire Tel: 893575, Janet Savage Tel: 892749, John Cheshire (Newsletter)  Tel: 892248.