Mark Tristan Cooper 073


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NLHG Newsletter Archive



November 2015

Ideas Please! It would be great to hear from you about topics YOU would like to hear about at the monthly meetings. If you have a particular interest in an aspect of local history which has not yet been covered or if you have been to a talk elsewhere that you think our members would enjoy please let us know.

Don’t forget we are also keen to have short articles and snippets for inclusion in the newsletter.


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

November 19th                 A Sussex Farm During the 1950s with Ian Everest

December 17th                 Christmas Social 2.30 until 4.30pm free for members

January                             Tba

February                            The History of Ninfield School by David Swales and Liz Darbyshire

March                                 A History of Sussex Trug Making by Sarah Page

April                                   AGM


Other Local Events

The Brassey Gallery at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery:

This permanent gallery has been redisplayed to focus on the extraordinary travels and collections of Annie, Lady Brassey. The books she wrote captured the public's imagination with their descriptions of her young family's adventures as they sailed around the world in their steam yacht. If haven’t been before the museum is well worth a visit. Johns Place, Bohemia Road, Hastings, TN34 1ET


Visit to Hever Castle:

Friday 4th Dec (Bexhill Museum trip)  Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn and was built in the 13th Century. The gardens cover 30 acres. On this pre-Christmas visit, see the decorated rooms, follow the Christmas trail through the grounds and perhaps visit the gift shops. At 1.30 we have an included 2 course traditional Christmas lunch. £38 per person, first pick-up 9am. For more information please call 01424 846369.




East Sussex County Council Libraries have set up a large collection of historic photos from our local area on Flickr. Well worth a browse!


THE ABBEY OF ROBERTSBRIDGE : The Cistercian abbey of St. Mary in Robertsbridge was founded about 1176 by Alvred de St. Martin, sheriff of the rape of Hastings who was married to Alice, widow of John count of Eu. Denis abbot of Robertsbridge, held large tracts of land and the Abbey was extremely wealthy as a result of bequests from local nobility and the income from farming the lands. Much of their property was at risk of encroachment by the sea especially through storm damage. A great deal of money was spent erecting and maintaining sea walls and for many years the monks were excused the usual tithes and taxation because of this expense. By 1291 the estate was valued at almost £110.

In its early years the abbey of Robertsbridge played an important role in history, its head being sent (with the abbot of Boxley) in 1192 to search for King Richard. They found the King in Bavaria, and he sent them back to England with the news of his treaty with the emperor. The same two abbots acted as the archbishop's agents to the pope on the occasion of his quarrel with the monks of Canterbury over the church of Lambeth in 1198.  Henry III visited Robertsbridge in 1264 while leading his troops to the disastrous battle of Lewes. He extracted large sums of money from the unfortunate monks to fund his campaign.

Little is known of the domestic history of the abbey though it appears to have had a good reputation, as it was frequently selected by pious monks of Canterbury who wished to leave the Benedictines for the stricter Cistercian order. However, a record of 1403 states that “John Holmborn, a monk of Robertsbridge, having been found in a wood with an unmarried woman was beaten to the effusion of blood and then sent by his abbot to Coggeshall Abbey, in Essex, where he long lived a miserable life; now he was old and longed to return to Robertsbridge, he had therefore gone to Rome, where he had obtained absolution from the pope, who further ordered that he should be restored to his former stall and place in chapter and to have the room, books, clothes and other things formerly his”.

The abbey survived until 16 April, 1538, when it was surrendered to Henry VIII under the first Suppression Act by the abbot, Thomas Taylor, and his eight brethren.


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.