Hollington Church-in-the-Wood

Hollington Church-in-the-Wood
“Then and Now”.

Hollington Church-in-the-Wood

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Hollington Church-in-the-Wood
1834 from 'Kidd’s Picturesque Pocket Companion,'

Hollington Church-in-the-Wood
1849 Ross ‘Seventeen Views of Hastings and its Environs’

Hollington Church-in-the-Wood
c 1860 Unknown Photographer - stereo view

As a child I used to enjoy long family walks and we very often ended up at the mystical Hollington Church-in-the-Wood. Nearly sixty years ago it was much more in the woods than it is now, with no nearby school, main road or Tesco’s. Ever since those long-gone days I’ve always had a soft spot for the church and enjoy collecting vintage pictures of it. The origin of the building is shrouded in the mists of time but research suggests that it probably dates from the thirteenth or fourteenth century and there’s evidence that it was first dedicated to St. Rumbold or St. Leonard and  of course there’s no explanation about why it was built so far from its congregation. By the mid 19th century it was a popular destination for better-off Victorian tourists despite it being dark, damp and at least a quarter of a mile from the nearest habitation. Inevitably its condition attracted the attention of the ‘restorers’ who, in 1865 and 1866 remodelled the whole building. The first ever St.Leonards Guide Book, Kidd’s Picturesque Pocket Companion, published in 1834 is the earliest view I’ve seen, followed by a nice illustration in Ross’ ‘Seventeen Views of Hastings and its Environs’ published in 1849. Photography was still in its infancy and photographs of the church pre-restoration are very scarce indeed so I was extremely fortunate in acquiring such a picture, an albumen stereo from an unknown photographer dating from the early 1860’s. I already had a similar but later view from 1896 and I’ve included it as an interim comparison along with a photo I took on 2nd December.  I don’t know how old the Wellington Pine is but I’m sure the tombstone with the double top in front of it is the same as in the original picture and it’s also are evident in the 1896 picture without the pine. The large tombstone on the left was erected for Sir Charles Montolieu Lamb who died in 1860 and lived at Beauport Park at the junction of the Ridge and Battle Road - now a Hotel. Alterations to note are the two small square windows and the low, plain porch. There are no windows on the end wall so the church inside must have been very dark indeed and I’ve absolutely no idea what the chap to the right of the porch in the 1860 photo is doing. The ‘restoration’ introduced a gothic style window each side of the buttress. The ‘full frontal’ picture probably dates from the 1870’s with a modern picture for comparison and suggests that after the ‘restoration’ very little has changed in the intervening 140 years.

Ion Castro 3/12/13

Hollington Church-in-the-Wood
1896 Unknown Photographer

Hollington Church-in-the-Wood

2nd December 2013

   
Hollington Church-in-the-Wood

Hollington Church-in-the-Wood

Left: c1870 F S Mann, 13 Wellington Place, Hastings. stereo view

Above: 2nd December 2013

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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