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It’s Friday again and for this weeks Fun Fact Friday we have taken a look at some of the historical places to visit in the local area.

Hastings Castle

Hastings Castle is a huge part of England’s history as it was the first Norman Motte and Bailey castle to be built here.  It is situated on the West Hill.

When William the Conqueror landed in England he ordered Hastings Castle to be built, this was shortly before the battle that changed the course of English history, the Battle of Hastings where William defeated King Harold II.

The castle was left in ruins when King Henry VIII commissioned the castles church to be destroyed leaving the site in ruins.

Battle Abbey

The Abbey takes its name from the town and was founded to commemorate the bloody battle that saw William the Conqueror assume control of England in 1066.

The site of the Battle of Hastings is one of the least altered of medieval battlefields. In 1066 this part of Sussex was little populated, and the battle was fought on open land immediately south of the dense Wealden forest.

The buildings of the former abbey stand as a near-contemporary memorial to the Battle of Hastings. Although little remains of the original Norman abbey, many later monastic buildings survive, including the great gatehouse and the east range, with its fine vaulted undercroft.

Bodiam Castle

Bodiam Castle is situated beside the River Rother in East Sussex and was built in the late 14th century by a veteran of King Edward III’s wars with France originally as a coastal defence. In 1385, Sir Edward Dalyngrygge was given permission to fortify his house against invasion from France, but then decided to build a new stone castle a short distance away from the house.

Bodiam Castle has no keep, having its various chambers built around the outer defensive walls and inner courts. Its corners and entrance are marked by towers, and topped by crenellations. Its structure, details and situation in an artificial watery landscape indicate that display was an important aspect of the castle’s design as well as defence.

Bexhill Museum

The museum was started in 1914 by enthusiasts specialising in natural history, archaeology and ethnography and offers an incredible insight into town history, its famous residents and visitors and historic milestones that have made Bexhill internationally famous.

Bexhill Museum re-opened in 2009 after a £2m+ refurbishment. New galleries cover Bexhill’s motoring heritage plus costume and social history. Original features are retained in the Sargent Gallery.

Hastings Smugglers

St. Clements Caves are located on the West Hill. The caves were named after a nearby parish church. In the 17th Century, a couple lived in the caves after being discharged from the town’s workhouse for repeated misbehaviour.

in the 1820s, the caves were rediscovered by a local grocer named Joseph Golding. He was cutting a garden seat into the side of the cliff when he broke through to the vast cavern. They became a tourist attraction in 1864 and were visited by the Prince and Princess of Wales. In 1873 the caves received another royal visit from Prince Albert and Prince George Frederick.

In 1940 the caves became an air raid shelter and a temporary home for up to 600 people. Even once when the West Hill received a direct hit from a bomb, the caves remained undamaged. On 25 March 1989 St Clements Caves re-opened as the Smugglers Adventure.

Fisherman’s museum

Hastings Fishermen’s Museum is a museum dedicated to the fishing industry and maritime history of Hastings. It is housed in a former church, officially known as St Nicholas’ Church and locally as The Fishermen’s Church, which served the town’s fishing community for nearly 100 years from 1854.

After wartime damage, occupation by the military and subsequent disuse, the building was leased from the local council by a preservation society, which modified it and established a museum in it. It opened in 1956.





This week’s Fun Fact Friday  has a look at 5 films that were filmed in Hastings and Bexhill.

Is Anybody There?

Michael Caine played the part of an elderly ex-magician in the early stages of Dementia  who befriends a young boy.  Filming took place on the West Hill and Seafront. 

Children of Men

There are a few well known famous faces in this film, Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine.   The 2006 dystopian film portrays a shattered Bexhill as a government-quarantined refugee camp for immigrants.

Grey Owl

Grey Owl brought Lord Richard Attenborough and Pierce Brosnan to Hastings for filming of  The biopic of Grey Owl.  Grey Owl was born Archibald Stansfeld Belaney in Hastings in 1888. He grew up enthralled by stories of Native Americans and moved to Canada aged 17 in search of a new life.

Some Voices

Long before he got his role as OO7’s James Bond, Daniel Craig came to the town for extensive filming throughout the town centre playing Ray a young man with schizophrenia.


Bottle Alley, the Pier, the Azur, East Hill and seafront were the locations for the vampire movie Byzantiom starring Gemma Anterton and Johnny Lee Millar.

Also See: Fun Fact Friday: Stars who lived in Hastings

Have you ever walked down the street and had to double take because the person you just walked past was a dead ringer for someone famous? Well it might just be that the person is who you thought it was as Hastings, Bexhill and Rye have had a few famous residents over the years.

Here is our list of ten famous faces that have been born or have lived in these area’s.

Jo Brand 

Comedian Jo Brand lived in Hastings when her Mum and Dad decided to move to the seaside town from Tunbridge Wells.  Jo attended the  Hastings High School for Girls.  Jo then went onto university where she studied Social Science and Nursing.  Once graduated she became a psychiatric nurse. Jo made her first appearance as a comedian on Have I Got News For You.

Paul McCartney

Sir James Paul McCartney MBE and musician gained worldwide fame as a member of the Beatles.  Paul has had a house in Peasmarsh since the sixties where he spent most of his married life with his wife Linda McCartney .

Graham Norton

Graham William Walker better known by his stage name Graham Norton is a much loved radio presenter, comedian and actor. Graham currently has his own talk show.  Graham lives in a contemporary house in the Cooden Beach area.  As a resident of Cooden Beach he is often seen walking his dogs along the beach.

Suggs (Graham McPherson)

Suggs is best known as the lead vocalist for the 1970’s band Madness. Suggs was born in Hastings in 1961. He  was raised by his mother in Hastings who was a Jazz singer until they moved onto Liverpool when he was still a child.

Tom Baker

Tom Baker is the longest running Doctor Who having played the roll for over 40 years. After a prolific acting career which has included working with the National Theatre, Tom has settled in Rye and enjoys pottering about and popping into his favourite local hotspots.

Spike Milligan

Sir Terence Alan “Spike” Milligan was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor. Spike was stationed in Bexhill while in the army during the second world war, and most of the first volume of his war memoirs takes place there.

Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley is one of Britain’s high profile actresses and She began her career as a model before gaining her first acting role. Her roles include appearing as a Bond Girl in On Her Majesty’s Service Purdey in the television series The New Avengers and she is best known for playing Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous.  Joanna was educated at St Mary’s Convent School in St Leonards.

Desmond Llewelyn

The late Desmond Llewelyn famous for his role a Q in the James Bond films made his home in Bexhill after meeting his wife after appearing at the De La Warr Pavilion.  Desmond sadly died aged 85 in 1999.

Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller is probably best known as the former manager of the Spice Girls.  Simon was born in Cyprus and lived out there until his family moved to Hastings where his father became headmaster of one of the schools that Simon was a pupil at.

Eddie Izzard

Stand up comedian and well know cross dresser Eddie Izzard spent part of his childhood years in Bexhill and used to sell ice-creams at the bottom of Galley Hill when he was growing up.  His father is a retired BP accountant who still resides in Bexhill.

So there you have it our list of some of the rich and famous that live or may of lived close by.  Have we missed anyone out? If so then go on over to our Facebook page and let everyone know.