Normally, I’ve been reluctant to besiege My Reader with facts, that particular part of my art researching profession that requires accuracy closely bordering the edge of boredom. However, just this once and feeling safe in the “historical fact” arena because I’ve taken liberal liberties with wording and comments…the curious art researcher and enquiring mind bubbled over and had me dancing in the Aisle of Show and Tell. Let us begin and plow through this somewhat fractured-fiction together. I have, of course, left out the boring bits.
Leave it to King Offa of Mercia to reference the city of Bexelei, East Sussex, England in a charter granted in 772 AD. Such a long time ago, and such a kidder King Offa…he meant the entire area from what is now Hastings, East Sussex, England, to as far as he could see and beyond. Which as we all know was all the land he couldn’t see and then some…, which happens to include the city we know today as Bexhill.
1066 AD Bexhill was destroyed by pesky Normans in their conquest to rule all they could see and all the land they couldn’t see which commonly included…everything. A definite sign of the time: more is always better.
1086 AD King William I gave away Bexhill and surrounds to Robert, Count of Eu which included his heirs and, all the hares that surrounded the surrounds. Yes, I’m sure.
There ensued an enormous wadge of time when begetting and begetting took place (both heirs and hares) until 1561 AD when the honourable Queen Elizabeth I gave Bexhill to her good friend and confidant Sir Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset. This kept the Sackville Earl and Duke heirs (and hares) quite busy until the mid-19th Century.
1804 brought King George III’s German Legion troops to Bexhill to fight any French invaders linked with Napoleon and any French hares (or heirs) wanting to rule…yes…everything and everywhere.
The quaint English custom of inheriting an entire area of a country which included even the pastry shops which I’m quite fond of, but I digress…left Bexhill in 1865 in the hands of the lovely Elizabeth Sackville and her husband the 5th Earl De La War due to a shortage of other heirs, but not hares.
My Reader has advised me to skip years of boring facts because of the several yawns and snores emitted from the back rows, so I’ll just jump to the here and now:
The De La War’s played a huge part in the development and modernization of Bexhill, and in the city building planning scheme evident even today. Having been duly anointed, by King Edward VII as an Incorporated Borough in 1901, the city became a posh seafront resort destination for the gentry of London and surrounding areas. Years and years of begatters and begetters, who had the station and finery to partake and parade did so. More is good. Money is even better.
The Central Parade seafront, which included the Marina Court, was built between 1903-1907 to the designs of Durwood Brown and other creative architects. Buildings were constructed in the MOGHUL INDIAN style: structures with distinctive ornate domes; corner turrets; and decorative arches. Exotic onion roofs with decorative chimneys shouted seaside character unlike the popular Georgian architectural building styles of neighbouring Brighton to the east, and Eastbourne to the west.
Imagine My Reader and I taking great delight in discovering these wonderful artifices on a day trip from St. Leonards-on-Sea to Bexhill.
Where the road goes…