• Parish History

      Wartling and Herstmonceux History Group

      The Parish of Wartling comprises the villages of Wartling, Boreham Street and part of Windmill Hill as well as various isolated farms and houses. According to Historic England, the Parish contains 44 Listed Properties.

      Short history of Wartling

      Wartling lies just on the edge of the Pevensey Levels, between Windmill Hill and Pevensey . There are two parts to the parish, Wartling Hill near to the church, and about two miles away to the North, lies Boreham Street which is also a very pretty village built on the main Ninfield to Hailsham road. 

      Wartling's name was originally Wertlinges which translates from the Saxon to "the settlement of Wyrtel's people", and Boreham Street from the Saxon meaning "Boar Enclosure". In the Domesday survey, it had a population of 280, land able to support 18 ploughs, woodland for 200 pigs, three salt workings, and a chapel. The chapel was mentioned as being given to the College of Hastings by the count of Eu. The current church dates from the 13th century, and is believed to lie on the land where the chapel used to be. During the late 1500's there were a large number of French names recorded in the church register, it is probable that they had been employed at Ashburnham and other local Furnaces to help set up the process. On the wall in the church are two very rare iron tombstone heads, which were provided by Jonathan Harmer of Heathfield.

      During the second world war many defence pill boxes were built in the area, to protect from invasion through the Pevensey Marshes. One of the first Radar stations was located at manxey level. RAF Wartling was a Royal Air Force station located near the village of Wartling in East Sussex. It was a Second World War and later Cold War Ground Controlled Interception (GCI) station built to complement the nearby Chain Home station at RAF Pevensey.Wartling became operational in 1941 and was used to control fighter aircraft and guide them towards approaching German aircraft. Originally based in caravans, the station had a brick-built operations block that came into operation in July 1943. Wartling helped track and destroy 380 German V1 flying bombs. Although the nearby RAF Pevensey had closed in December 1945, Wartling remained open as one of the few remaining GCI stations in the South of England.With the threat of attack using nuclear weapons the station was used as part of the ROTOR air defence radar system and a protected underground operations rooms was built at Wartling. Construction started at the end of 1951 but was not completed until February 1955. In 1956 a new Decca Type 80 search radar was installed to replace the earlier equipment. With the increased range of the Type 80 radar other radar stations in the South East began to close and in April 1958 it became a Master Radar Station responsible for all British airspace South of the Thames. When other Master Radar Stations were modernised in the 1960s Wartling went out of use and finally closed on 3 December 1964. The site was sold in 1976. 

      The local pub is The Lamb Inn a classic free house country pub and restaurant serving a wide range of homemade food using local farms and fisheries set in the East Sussex countryside near the Pevensey Levels. Established in Wartling for over 500 years the Lamb Inn has provided a welcome rest stop for centuries to everyone from bird watchers to smugglers.

      Short history of Boreham Street

       

      Boreham Street is possibly derived from the Anglo Saxon Beorgh Hamme (the village on the hill) or Boar Hamme (Boar enclosure) and Street from the Roman street possibly because there was a main Roman road from Lewes to Beauport Park at Hastings. Boreham Street is part of the parish of Wartling, and therefore shares much of its history. The village is about 2 miles north of Wartling Hill, the other part of the parish where the church is located. In the Domesday survey, it had a population of 280, land able to support 18 ploughs, woodland for 200 pigs, three salt workings, and a chapel. The chapel was mentioned as being given to the College of Hastings by the Count of Eu . The current church dates from the 13th century, and is believed to lie on the land where the chapel used to be. 

      During the late 1500's there were a large number of French names recorded in the church register, it is probable that they had been employed at Ashburnham and other local Furnaces to help set up the process. In the church are two very rare iron tombstone heads, which were provided by Jonathan Harmer of Heathfield . 

      During the second world war many defence pill boxes were built in the area, to protect from invasion through the Pevensey Marshes. 

      The local pub is the Bull's Head a Harveys Pub serving traditional Sussex Ales and fine foods.The Bull's Head is an unspoilt rural inn and set in the splendid Sussex countryside nearby to many great historic sites - Battle Abbey and Battlefield, Herstmonceux Castle, Pevensey Castle, Batemans... Plus there are many fine walks in the neighbourhood There is a large shady garden and play area, plenty of parking and 8 acres of fields.

      Windmill Hill

      Although the derivation of this village's name is obvious, it is not known exactly when the first windmill was built. (Read about the Windmill Hill Windmill Trust here) It is likely it was in the 16th century.  (VillageNet)

      In the 19th century, "Windmill Hill" was actually assumed to mean what is now known as Windmill Hill Place. This house was the seat of the prominent Curteis family who also owned most of the farmland up to the Ashburnham Estate as well as many of the cottages around Windmill Hill and its surrounds. It is interesting to read  "Rough notes about the part of Wartling in the county of Sussex between the dates 1864 and 1938",  being the memoirs of John Curteis of Windmill Hill Place written in 1938. This gives a good insight into the Parish at that time.

      Windmill Hill Place was occupied by the Curteis family until after World War 1, when the the estate was split up. In 1938, it was bough by the Venerable and Mrs Reid. E.G. Reid was the Archdeacdon of Hastings. The "Windmill Hill Flower Show" was always an important event. It was originally held in the field opposite what is now Windmill Hill Garage. The field is still known as "Flower Show Field". It subsequently moved to the grounds of Windmill Hill Place itself until the death of Mrs.Nancy Reid in 1976. Windmill Hill Place was then bought by a partneship, Alan Montague and Geoffrey Richards, who were looking to create a Tennis School.

      There was a Windmill Hill cricket team until the 60's, the pitch being on the land behind Windmill Hill Place.

      Comphurst in Comphurst Lane was part of the Curteis estate in Victorian times, but has extensive mediaeval features internally. Much of the brickwork is Tudor, comtemporary with Herstmonceux Castle.

      The Second World War left its mark in Windmill Hill with a doodlebug exploding opposite Beacon Green and destroying a cottage.

      The 1960's saw a lot of change in Windmill Hill with the building of the bungalow estate and the virtual obliteration of the old Horseshoe Inn. This had been in the hands of the Simmons family - a prominent local family who also owned the Forge, later to become the garage.