FAIRLIGHT - The village is mentioned in records of 1220 as FARLEGH. Since then, many changes have occurred in the spelling, eg. in 1291 it was FARLEIGH; 1316, FEYRLEIGH; 1535, FARLEY; 1701,
FAYRLIGHT; 1738, FARLEY and in 1823 the spelling is recorded as FAIRLIGHT.
There was a Manor in Fairlight before 1066, given by William the Conqueror to the Countess of EU (or OW), near Caen, France - her husband was the first Constable of Hastings Castle.
In the 12th Century the Manor belonged to the Allard (or Alard) family; Stephen and Gervase Allard went to the Crusades, and effigies may be seen in Winchelsea Church; Gervase was Admiral of the Cinque Ports, and was the first Englishman to be called "Admiral".
The Manor House formed the foundation of the present farmhouse - Stonelynk Farm; the residence known today as "Stonelynk Hall" was originally the barn, built probably in the 14th Century. About 1540 a Judge and Clerk attended the local Assizes, held in the Manor. A well provides the farmhouse with its own water supply. In the days of smuggling, contraband goods were landed at fairlight, and probably brought inland by an underground tunnel.
Marsham Farm dates from 1290, built by Giles Fiennes. Waites Old Farmhouse (corner of Waites Lane and Meadow Way) is 16th Century. Waites Wood existed where Fairlight Village Hall and adjacent residences now stand.
"The Haddocks" (Sea Road) were built in 1790 as coastguard cottages, and later became privately owned. Frequent erosion of the cliffs has occurred , and as a result of cliff falls Nos 1, 2 and 3 The Haddocks were left in a dangerous state and were demolished.
National Trust Land: 58 acres of cliff land (incl. Stumbletts Wood, Pett Level Road) were given to the National Trust in 1945; Old Marsham Farm (170 acres adjoining) in 1958.
Fairlight Down: 540ft. from this point some of the first observations were made for the ordnance survey.
Battery Hill: at the turn of the century, a local gun battery is reputed to have practiced firing regularly from "The Mountain" (corner of Peter James Lane". Fire was directed towards the sea; this was probably the origin of the names "Firehills" and "Battery Hill".
Fairlight Place: built about 1550 at the head of Fairlight Glen, was visited by King Louis Phillipe and his Queen in 1849, after his escape from Paris.
In 1951, Hastings was presented with 215 acres of cliff and country, including Fairlight Place and Farm, the Firehills, Fairlight and Ecclesbourne Glens, the Lovers' seat and the Dripping Well.
The Country Park (mostly in Hastings area) consists of some 500 acres of cliff walks and unspoiled wooded country from East Hill, Hastings to the Firehills at Fairlight, including Ecclesbourne and Fairlight Glens, where there is a nudist bathing beach. A car park, with an information Centre and toilets, is situated just off Fairlight Road, the entrance lying some 50 yds west of Coastguard Lane and the Parish Church.
Fairlight Hall, Martineau Lane, is imitation Tudor, built at the turn of the century. It is a private residence.
Walks - Information on listed footpaths and public rights of way may be obtained from the Fairlight Parish Council footpaths Officer.
High Weald - An area of outstanding natural beauty. The boundaries of this area are between the South Downs or East and West Sussex to the West, the North Downs of Kent and Surrey to the North and the Eastern boundary includes the low-lying area of Shirley Moor and the sea Hastings and Rye.
The information on this page has been re-produced from the Fairlight What's On Booklet, published by the Fairlight residents Association.