Historical Hastings and Seaside Heritage, A Brief Guide
When people talk about Hastings we all normally think of 1066 and William the conqueror at the battle that saw him become King of England. Sussex has a mixed coastline of landscape ranging from shingle beaches to chalk cliffs. If you do plan to visit the coastal town of Hastings you can walk down to the beach to the “Stade” and see for yourself. If you haven’t heard of the Stade, it is a historic landmark in this area.
The Stade in Saxon means literally “landing-place” and what a beautiful landing-place it is, from the shore there is a vast expanse of sandy coloured shingle that awaits your landing vessel. As you look up from the shoreline past the fishing boats on the shingle beach, the landscape will start to rise up steeply, where there they are these beautifully symmetrical tall wooden structures up to 30 feet high. They are rather intriguing they present an artistic contrast to the landscape.
Walking through the fishing boats to these structures the scale of them becomes apparent. These wooden structures were initially used by fishermen to store their fishing gear to keep it dry. Many had cellars and nets were hung inside together with ropes and chains. Today they are still used for that purpose however some are now shops.
Fishing boats have been working along the Sussex coast for over a thousand years and a common fishing boat would have been the old clinker sailing luggers made out of wood. These boats have their origins from the Viking shipbuilders with their famous long ships.
The clinker hull was created by fixing overlapping planks of wood on their edge, the method is known as “lapstrake”. The clinker style construction is still used today in building smaller vessels as the method enables the boat to twist and flex. A traditional clinker can be seen for free in the Fishermans museum which was once the fisherman’s church and is located behind the Stade. As the festive season is upon us there will also be Christmas carols in the museum on the 16th of December so come and enjoy the atmosphere in this amazing place.
So if you are heading down to the town of Hastings or the surrounding area, you will find plenty to see and do around the beautiful part of East Sussex, as well as some of the best examples of well-kept historical castles and buildings which span along this beautiful coastline.