Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Hastings - town with a history.

Hastings – a town with a history.

A Tribute to Hastings 2016

By Bruce Nicol

Known to Vikings, Romans, Normans and the rest

A landing ground before Jesus and Mohammed

And the many medieval English kings were born,

Old England was by the settlement of Hastings bless’d

With its ancient beach-launched fishing fleet

With other ports for the defence of the realm allied,

Threats from foreign ships to meet

And shield us from our enemies upon ‘the other side’

Of that great channel which we bold defended

In past times from Spanish, French and Dutch

All of whom from time to time we sore offended

By our kingdom’s colonialism and piracy, as such.


Who trod the streets and worked and worshipped

In the ancient churches of what is now our Old Town ?

For popular it was in those far-off days when

Britannia under Stuart, Orange and Hanover ruled

Seas and lands a world away from Marine Parade,

Rock-Nore, High Street, All Saints (with its many Shops),
Winding Street, Tackleway and Bourne.

A frightening, long and uncomfortable journey

In the postcoach from the Swan Inn to London –

Or a still more dangerous voyage down the Thames

And round the coast as did the merchants’ ships

Like the Cutter and London Trader that supplied the Town,
albeit known to highwaymen, the Hawkhurst gang

And sundry smugglers, robbers and other desperados

Keen to do the innocent traveller harm or worse…….


Illustrious names, known throughout the civilized world

As the scene of the pivotal Battle of Hastings

Blessed by the Holy Becket

Loved by Logie-Baird

Charmed by Churchill

Adopted by Ashburnham

Despised by Defoe (1722)

Beloved of Belloc, Lamb and Byron

Visited by Victoria and Albert

Excited by Empress Eugenie

Lived in by Louis Napoleon

Frequented by Faraday

Cursed by Crowley

Enjoyed by Eliot and Spencer

Mortified by Morley (1643)

Deceived by Dawson and De Chardin

Reached by a Romanov

Renowned for Ranier and Rosetti

Proud of Potter and her Mice

Grateful to Grey Owl

Watched over by Wellesley-Wellington

And Cloudsley Shovell’s mother

Long before the days when Fish and Ships


Became Fish and Chips………


Bruce is a retired language teacher and long-time poetry writer. He entered this poem in the Old Town poetry competition organised by Cllr James Bacon as part of Hastings Week.

Posted 18:32 Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 In: Poetry

Also in: Poetry

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