East Hoathly is a parish and a village in the East Grinstead division of Sussex, in the hundred of Shiplake, rape of Pevensey, rural deanery of Uckfield, archdeaconry of Hastings and diocese of Chichester. East Hoathly includes the hamlet of Halland.
Halland was known as The Nursery until 1891, when the name was changed at the request of the Post Office.
How does East Hoathly get its name?
The name may be derived from the family surname De Hodlegh who possessed lands in the area in 1296. Alternatively, it may come from the old English hap-leah, hap being heather, ly from the original leagh, meaning a clearing in the forest, hence a heather-covered clearing.
In 1811 the population of East Hoathly was 468 and numbers grew steadily to 882 by 1891. After WW1 the population dropped and struggled to recover in the subsequent years. In fact it continued to decline, falling as low as 696 in 1931. After WW2 the situation hardly improved, only reaching a recorded figure of 737 by 1961. The population is now believed to be around 1,500 and is set to increase further with the recent building projects.
As a mark of respect and to ensure the future residents of the villages would remember those who gave up their lives during the two world wars, the East Hoathly and Halland Carnival Society (which can trace its roots back to 1860) re-organised itself into what can best be described as a ‘Memorial Society’, adopting the motto ‘Lest We Forget’. Every year on the Saturday before Remembrance Sunday several torch-lit processions parade through East Hoathly. During the final procession, thirty-one burning crosses are carried to the bonfire site – each cross representing a member of the community whose life was lost during the conflicts. The evening culminates in a bonfire and spectacular fireworks display on the Memorial Playing Fields. More information about East Hoathly and Halland Carnival Society is available from the village historian. Go to the Business Directory and look for [Clara's Books].
Thomas Turner (Diarist 1754 – 1765)
Thomas Turner was a hard-working and industrious village shopkeeper. He occupied a key position in East Hoathly where he was grocer, mercer, draper, undertaker, schoolmaster, surveyor, tax-gatherer, writer of wills and accounts, distributor of charity,
churchwarden, overseer of the poor, and much else besides. In the eleven years of his diary, he rarely left the village for more than the occasional night: he stayed at home and recorded the minutiae of everyday village life in pre-industrial England.
‘The Diary of Thomas Turner 1754 – 1765’ – (an eighteenth-century shopkeeper’s unique chronicle of village life) edited by David Vaisey and published by CTR Publishing is available from the village historian. Go to the Business Directory and look for [Clara's Books].
The Church, The Pelhams and The Lunsfords
East Hoathly church is unusual in the fact that it has no dedication. This distinction, if it is a distinction, is shared with the sister church at Chiddingly. It is believed there is only one other parish church without a known dedication in the Diocese of Chichester.
In 1855 the church, apart from the tower, was rebuilt. During this rebuilding a Norman pillar piscina was found in the foundations, and it can now be seen near the altar – the carvings date it to somewhere around the 11th or 12th Century. There are also very finely worked mosaics around the altar.
For centuries the two great families of our parish were the Pelhams of Halland and the Lunsfords of Whyly. Both families are represented heraldically in the stonework of the oldest part of the Church. The Pelhams financed the building or re-building of so many churches in the area that most of them display the Pelham buckle and have a Pelham tower – and that includes the one in East Hoathly.
The Lunsfords have also left their mark on the building. Apart from the Lunsford Shield on the church doorway, Sir Thomas Lunsford attempted to shoot Sir Thomas Pelham. He missed – but a slit made by the bullet is still visible in the stonework on the south side of the west doorway.
To find out more about the church please follow the link to their site here.