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The Expenditor of Pett Level

The Expenditor of Pett Level By Paul Draper for Fairlight History Group

On 30th March, a small group of us from Fairlight History Group travelled in separate cars to Dymchurch to visit the New Hall. Despite its name, the building was first constructed in 1575 to house the Corporation of the Lords, Bailiff and Jurats of Romney Marsh. Although the Corporation has been known by many different names since its formal Royal Charter in the year 1252, it still exists and today the full title is the Romney Marsh Area Internal Drainage Board. Their area of responsibility has been greatly extended to include the Brede and Tillingham valleys, plus Pett Level and just into the Parish of Fairlight (see map).

A map showing the full extent of the modern day Romney Marsh Area Internal Drainage Board. Board members are selected from Folkestone and Hythe, Ashford and Rother District Councils, plus Denge and Southbrook, Oxney, Lydd, Walland and Pett.

A map showing the full extent of the modern day Romney Marsh Area Internal Drainage Board. Board members are selected from Folkestone and Hythe, Ashford and Rother District Councils, plus Denge and Southbrook, Oxney, Lydd, Walland and Pett.
How did we become interested in this subject? Well it all started last Autumn when we received an enquiry from Australia about a Thomas Thorpe, whose occupation was stated as “Expenditor of Pett Level”. The research specifically concerned the family of Thomas Thorpe but it alerted us to the existence of the function of an Expenditor, a totally new occupation to us. We started to investigate and found little information available online, but there were several others scattered around the country in areas known for their marshes and levels. It seems that the main responsibility was to oversee the maintenance and clearance of all the secondary waterways, the collection of any taxes or scots and the expenditure of the monies collected. (NB. Hence the expression “Getting off scot free”).

We found our man Thomas Thorpe in all the census returns from 1841 to 1881 but his occupation is only listed as Expenditor of Pett Level in 1861, whilst resident in Westfield and in 1881, whilst resident in Hastings. The surprise was that he did not actually live at Pett Level. In fact, he and his wife were stated as “Lodging House Keepers” in Hastings in the other returns, so this was not his only job.
Today, the honorary function still exists under the single title of the Expenditor of Romney Marsh, which includes all the waterways shown in the above map. The current holder of the title, is a Mr. Rod Nickerson.

The Story of John’s Seat







John’s Seat, Fairlight, photographed in 2015

In answer to a frequently asked question “Who was the John after whom ‘John’s Seat’ was named?”, we quote the answer as given in 2004:-

Fairlight News 156 – September 2004

“I would like to thank John Burford for repairing John’s Seat situated on the cliff walk to Pett Level.

I am sure many of us are grateful to be able to sit in comfort once more and enjoy the wonderful panoramic view of Fairlight Cove. – Brenda Dwyer.

Nb. Editor’s note: I have been asked whether I know who John’s Seat is named after. If anybody knows, please let me know.”

Fairlight News 157 – December 2004

“John’s Seat, Fairlight

This bench was erected in 1994 as a final project and in fond memory of John Parratt, local artist and late headmaster, 1927 – 1993.

John, his wife Gill and their two daughters spent holidays and free time at their cottage in Mount Pleasant Farm, Guestling Green, which John had found during his time as Deputy Headmaster at St Paul’s Primary School, St Leonards.

John, in his final months of illness, devised projects for his various friends. Ours was to negotiate the erection of a seat or bench in his chosen area of the Fairlight Coastal Path, where he had spent many hours sketching and painting in watercolours, usually accompanied by his little spaniel, Jasper.

A dictat of the National Trust would only allow a rustic type of bench with the simplest of dedications, so John’s Seat was carved into the facing edge plus, of course, the oak leaf emblem.

Alas, where was the apostrophe, that would not do for a memorial to the late Headmaster of Wrotham Primary School. A cabinet maker friend of John quietly made the correction.

One sunny lunchtime in the summer of 1994 Gill, daughters Sarah and Julia together with family and good friends saw the bench well ‘christened’ and well seated.

We hope it will remain, so once more, well done John Burford.”

We hope the above answers the question. (Please note that the land is owned by the National Trust).

By Paul Draper

The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family Part 6

The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family by Paul Draper (previously published in Fairlight News in 2017)

Part  6 – A footnote and some anecdotes

In the first five parts, we looked at the four generations of Lucas-Shadwells and discussed their respective lives in Fairlight. The name Lucas-Shadwell first appeared in 1811 when William Shadwell changed his name and finally vanished in 1948 in England when Beatrice, Noel’s sister died at Fairlight Cottage. However, the family are remembered locally at Rye Harbour where there is a road names ‘Lucas-Shadwell Way.

Although the name has gone, their descendants live on, in France and Canada. We have been in contact with some of the French family and they have told us some interesting achievements by the extended family. In part 5 we told you about the Chateau de Bity en Correze where Noel spent his time in the 1920s and 30s and noted that the chateau is now in the family of Jacques Chirac, the former President of France.

What is the connection between the Lucas-Shadwells and the winner of the first Monte Carlo Rally, in 1911? The winning car was a Turcat-Mery 25hp driven by Henri Rougier (see attached photo) The Turcat-Mery Automobile Cie was founded in 1899 by two cousins, Leon Turcat and Simon Mery and produced many different cars and biplanes up until 1928. Leon’s son, Max married someone named Yolande Lucas-Shadwell, the oldest daughter of William Noel Lucas-Shadwell. Yolande, known as Yo-Yo, had married into a very interesting family.


The 25hp Turcat-Mery was a successful car and will be remembered for its historic victory. Not so memorable was their six-wheel car. It had four rows of seats, but unlike all later six-wheelers, only the front wheels steered! The car did not last long.






The success of their fire engine is not known.





Another member of Yolande’s new Turcat family was Andre Turcat, her nephew. Andre was a pilot and earned great respect in WW2 and in the Indochina War and graduated to test pilot for Nord Aviation. His reputation grew and he was given the honour of being chief test pilot for the French, Sud Aviation Concorde. He took the first ever Concorde fight on 2nd March 1969, five weeks before Britain’s own Brian Trubshawe took off from Filton. (see celebratory stamps from Grenada).


Yolande herself had three children herself, two boys and a girl. The youngest was Jean-Noel Turcat, so-named in recognition of his grandfather William Noel Lucas-Shadwell. Jean-Noel rose to the rank of Admiral in the French Navy.



Finally I attach a photo of the memorial plaque to the last of Lucas-Shadwells in a cemetery in Revest. So we can see that the family name was remembered, by Gisele up until 2004.

The end.

By Paul Draper.


The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family Part 5

The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family by Paul Draper (previously published in Fairlight News in 2017)

Part  5 – William Noel Lucas-Shadwell – known as Noel Lucas-Shadwell:

In part 1, I introduced you to the four generations of Lucas-Shadwells and showed how they were all related to each other. In part 2, 3 and 4 we looked at the first three William Lucas-Shadwells (See the family tree in part 1).

In this part we will look at William Noel Lucas-Shadwell, the fourth and final of the Lucas-Shadwell line of succession.

Noel was born in Fairlight on the 11th December 1882 and baptised at St. Andrew’s Church on the 28th December. He was to be the only son and the third of four children. His sisters were Beatrice, Violet and Vera. (nb Violet married a Commander Francis Belt, and, using her married name Violet Belt, wrote the first known history of Fairlight in 1921).

The 1891 census shows the family to not be at their home at The Hall but were staying in Bournemouth. The family is again away in 1901 but we cannot locate their whereabouts. T

We know that Noel attended Winchester College, but the next we know of Noel is in 1904 when he is in Paris attending the salon of Lucie Bricard-Bazin. He was clearly happy with the French way of life, away from Fairlight, and for the rest of his life, with some notable interludes, he was to remain in France. Indeed he fell in love with one of the daughters of his teacher and on 27th July 1905, married Therese Bricard-Bazin. 

It is understood that the family did not approve of their only son marrying a foreigner, but they were welcomed at The Hall. Life changed somewhat with his family in Fairlight. Firstly the family had converted to Roman Catholicism. Then they began to tire of The Hall. A house was built to the east of The Hall, near the top of Chick Hill in Pett, with commanding views of the their lands to the east, west and south. The house was built by the local firm of Colegate and was called Fairlight Cottage. (The house still stands but is now renamed The Down House). When this was complete, Noel’s father started to let out The Hall.

Noel was working for the Foreign Office, having no pretensions to follow his father into British politics. (William Peter Lucas-Shadwell was MP for Hastings from1895-1900). He was appointed Vice-Consul stationed at Caen. Their first daughter, Yolande was born in Fougerolles in Normandy in September 1906, but shortly afterwards, Noel was sent to Port Said, Egypt as acting Consul. Then he is transferred to Galatz, Rumania where their second daughter, Denise is born. Again the Foreign Office give him another posting, this time to Messina, Sicily at the end of 1908, but he is redirected to Dubrovnik. This proves incredibly lucky for the family as Messina was then devastated by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake which killed between 75 – 200,000 people. In 1909 the family are finally back at Fairlight Cottage where their third daughter, Monica, is born. The family are concerned at having a third daughter as they want a son to carry on the family title.

In 1913, Noel is posted to Emden, Germany, whilst Therese returns to Paris to give birth to their fourth daughter, Gisele. At the outset of war, Lucie took her four granddaughters to Switzerland whilst Noel and Therese return to England. In 1915, Noel becomes a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, part of the Russian Legion- British Armoured Car Division. He spends his war campaign mostly in Russia and receives the Order of St. George and the DSC, but he was wounded twice. When he was first wounded, Therese travelled across Germany, during the hostilities, taking eight days to reach him in Russia. It is understood that she travelled with Violet Belt, Noel’s sister, whose husband, Commander Francis Belt, was a liaison officer with the Russian Army. Violet herself was a nurse at the Scottish Women’s Hospital, London Unit and served in Russia and Rumania.

During this time, on 31st May 1915, Noel’s father died. Noel, being the only son, inherited the full estates of his father. However, as we have seen above, Noel had spent most of his adult years away from England, notably in France, and decided to sell most of the estate. Hence, on 17th November 1917, Noel auctioned off most of the estate in 76 separate lots and that was the moment when Fairlight Cove was born. He kept ownership of The Hall and some adjoining lands for a short while, but this was itself sold off in 1920 to E Festus Kelly of the ‘Kelly’s Directory’ family.

A fifth and final daughter, Mireille, was born in Rome in August 1918. Noel and Therese had produced five daughters and no son to carry on the Lucas-Shadwell name. It is not recorded whether it was disappointment with this situation or as a result of his wounds, but after the family returning to Paris, father, mother and five daughters, Noel walked out and left his wife and family.

Both remarried. Noel married Marguerite Boulenger, a saleswoman in lingerie and much later, Therese married her widowed brother-in-law, Francis Belt. Although Noel saw his daughters on many occasions, they remained with their mother. There are many records of them returned to Fairlight as Noel retained Fairlight Cottage.

In about 1925 Noel purchased the Chateau de Bity in Correze. He remained there with his second wife, Madeleine and his step-daughter, Jacqueline Rivet. After settling here, Noel became interested in archaeology and was involved in many important digs in France. Finally, as WW2 approached, he returned to Fairlight Cottage, where he died on 2nd November 1941. He is buried in the Catholic cemetery at Fairlight, near his parents and his sister Beatrice. Beatrice herself did not marry and lived on at Fairlight Cottage on her own until her death on 23rd September 1948. When she died, the name Lucas-Shadwell in England, died with her.

(It is interesting to note that after the Lucas-Shadwells left Chateau de Bity, the property was acquired by a certain, Jacques Chirac, one time President of France. The chateau still remains in the family).

The name Lucas-Shadwell died out with Noel and his sister Beatrice, but some of his daughters married and produced families and they are today very much alive and well and living, mostly in France but some also in Canada. At the same time, when William Noel Lucas-Shadwell decided he no longer wished to retain the Fairlight Hall Estate. The subsequent sale of Waites, Wakehams and Warren Farms as well as other farms and properties gave rise to Fairlight Cove and the Fairlight Parish that we know today.

By Paul Draper









The Story of The Lucas Shadwell Family Part 4

The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family by Paul Draper (previously published in Fairlight News in 2016)

Part  4 – William Peter Lucas-Shadwell – known as William Lucas-Shadwell:

In part 1, I introduced you to the four generations of Lucas-Shadwells and showed how they were all related to each other. In part 2 we looked at the first William Lucas-Shadwell and in part 3 we looked at William Drew Lucas-Shadwell. (See the family tree in part 1).

In this part we will look at William Peter Lucas-Shadwell, the third of the Lucas-Shadwell line of succession and actually the first born with the legal surname of Lucas-Shadwell.

William was baptised on the 14th August 1852 in Guestling, the eldest of three children. The younger children were Florentia and Mary.

At this time, they were the dominant family of Fairlight and Pett and oversaw their extensive land and properties from the newly constructed Fairlight Hall (known as The Hall at that time). His life appears to have been dominated by politics, both local and national. A summary of his life is best explained in the below contemporary report from the Hastings and St. Leonards Observer of the 5th June 1915 (He died on the 31st May 1915):-

Mr Lucas-Shadwell dead.

Former member for Hastings and squire of Fairlight.

Mr William Lucas-Shadwell J.P., D.L., died at his residence at Pett on Monday, in his 63rd year, and the greatest sympathy will be felt with the widow and son and daughters in their irreparable loss.

A son of the late William Drew Lucas-Shadwell J.P., (who died about 40 years ago) and Mrs. Lucas-Shadwell, who still survives, and resides at Woodcote, Fairlight. The late Mr. Lucas-Shadwell, although not entirely sharing his father’s views on some matters, followed his example through a long series of year in regard to taking an active interest in the welfare of the people. He was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and on the death of his father succeeded to the position of squire of Fairlight with the ownership of The Hall (one of the finest residences in the neighbourhood), and a very large acreage of agricultural land extending from Fairlight to Pett, and on to Rye Harbour. When only a very young man he was created a Justice for the County of Sussex, and at the time of his death was the senior magistrate of the Hastings Petty Sessional Division. He was also a Deputy Lieutenant for Sussex. He married Beatrice (daughter of the late Mr. J. Rutherford, and sister of the Marchioness de Sain) who, as a devoted wife, shared her husband’s opinions, political and otherwise, and was always actively supporting him in his public life. A strong supporter of the Conservative cause Mr. Lucas-Shadwell on social questions affecting the welfare of the working classes was sometimes ahead of the bulk of his party in advocating reforms.

He began to take an active part in Hastings politics in the election of 1880. In 1892 he stood as Candidate for East Finsbury against the sitting Member, Mr. J. Rowlands (now M.P. for the Dartford Division). Before that contest both he and Mrs. Lucas-Shadwell worked hard in nursing the constituency, and when the election came the fight was a particularly strenuous one, and characterised by a great amount of rowdyism on the Radical side. The result was a defeat for Mr. Lucas-Shadwell, although he increased the Conservative vote by 181. It might here be mentioned that at the next election Mr. Lucas-Shadwell’s defeat was avenged by Mr. H. C. Richards (a Hastings Conservative) ousting Mr. Rowlands. In 1894 it became known that Mr. Wilson Noble was desirous of giving up a parliamentary life, and this afforded an opening for Mr. Lucas-Shadwell. After addressing numerous meetings in the town, he was unanimously adopted as Prospective Candidate for Hastings on the last day of January 1895 on the proposition of Mr. E. Bradnam, J. P., Colonel Brookfield M. P., being amongst those who spoke in support. The election came on the 15th of July in the same year. Mr. Cecil Ince (now a Unionist) was the Liberal Candidate, and Mr. Lucas-Shadwell was returned by a majority of 342.

He sat as Member for Hastings till the General Election in 1900. At this period an unfortunate page in local Conservative history occurred. Mr. Lucas-Shadwell, by joining Lord Hugh Cecil and a small number of other High Church Members of the House of Commons on a certain vote gave offense to a large number of his supporters in Hastings. The result was that he was not invited to seek re-election and at the eleventh hour the late Sir Edward Boyle, K. C., was adopted candidate. Mr. Freeman Thomas had been before the constituency as prospective Liberal Candidate for several months and as the result of the polling he captured the seat with a margin of a little over 200 votes. After this very little was seen in Hastings for a long period of Mr. Lucas-Shadwell, who with his wife went to reside in Rome.

Later on the news came that Mr. and Mrs. Lucas-Shadwell had embraced the Roman Catholic religion. Afterwards Mr. Lucas-Shadwell had the honour of being created private Chamberlain to Pope Pius X. It may be mentioned to Mr. Lucas-Shadwell’s honour that in the context with Mr. Ince, although he knew the latter to be a Roman Catholic, he never mentioned the fact and would not allow those of his supporters who had the information to use it to prejudice his opponents position. Mr. and Mrs. Lucas-Shadwell were ever ready to place the grounds of The Hall at the disposal of their political friends and several highly successive demonstrations were held there. The Hospital and other institutions also benefited by garden parties and fetes held at that beautiful domain. Both Mr. and Mrs. Lucas-Shadwell were amongst the earliest and hardest workers for the Primrose League, and as Dame President of the Hastings Habitation, Mrs. Lucas-Shadwell delivered many charming speeches. Like his late father (who bequeathed a legacy of £250 to the institution) Mr. Lucas-Shadwell was a strong supporter of the Hospital: He was formerly a Trustee and at the time of his death was one of five vice presidents. He was of an extremely amiable disposition and a good landlord to his tenants. Although not a brilliant speaker he was thoroughly versed in politics and very persevering. During his five years in parliament he was by no means a silent member. We believe one of his first speeches was on the question of working class dwellings and he was very regular in attendance and frequently intervened in debates. Mr. Lucas-Shadwell’s last public appearance in Hastings was on the occasion of the recent War Lecture at the Town Hall arranged by Earl Brassey.

A few years ago, The Hall being let, Mr. Lucas-Shadwell built himself a residence on his estate at Pett and here he passed away after several week’s illness. His eldest son William who succeeds to the estate, is holding an official appointment.

5th June 1915

As the above article indicates, the family moved out of The Hall and at the beginning of the 20th century, and for many years, The Hall was let to the wealthy. One notable occupant was a Mr. Kirkley who became very well known for organising local hunts, all starting at The Hall. Photographs of his many gamekeepers and numerous helpers can now be seen on the current Fairlight Hall website. (The photographs were supplied by the Fairlight Residents’ Association on condition that our name is mentioned).

The Lucas-Shadwell properties:- Woodcote, in Peter James Lane, remained the home of his mother Florentia and his sisters. The house is still there but is now called Hoads House. Similarly, the house he built in Pett, near the top of Chick Hill was named Fairlight Cottage. This house also remains and has been renamed The Down House. Finally The Hall itself was also renamed, Fairlight Hall. Originally there was another, earlier local property named Fairlight Hall, now Barrington House, but located opposite Ore Community Centre.

On his return from Rome, having converted to Roman Catholicism, he opened a small chapel, firstly inside Fairlight Cottage but later in his garden on the edge of the road at Chick Hill (now a separate private residence). Additionally, they raised a large wooden cross in their garden to celebrate their new religion. After WW1, a stone memorial to some of the victims was placed at the foot of this cross. Following the de-consecration of this land, the cross and the stone were re-sited in the small Catholic burial ground next to St. Andrew’s churchyard.

William and Beatrice are buried there and two of their children are also to be found near them,(see photo – the tall memorial is for them and the two crosses are the children).

William and Beatrice left four children, Beatrice, Violet, William Noel and Vera. Noel, as he was known, subsequently inherited the full Lucas-Shadwell estate. (nb Violet married a Commander Francis Belt, and, using her married name Violet Belt, wrote the first known history of Fairlight in 1921)

To be continued……. Next, Part 5, the fourth and final William Lucas-Shadwell:-

William Noel Lucas-Shadwell.


By Paul Draper









William and Beatrice are buried there and two of their children are also to be found near them,

(see photo – the tall memorial is for them and the two crosses are the children)



William and Beatrice left four children, Beatrice, Violet, William Noel and Vera. Noel, as he was known, subsequently inherited the full Lucas-Shadwell estate. (nb Violet married a Commander Francis Belt, and, using her married name Violet Belt, wrote the first known history of Fairlight in 1921)


To be continued……. Next, Part 5, the fourth and final William Lucas-Shadwell:-

William Noel Lucas-Shadwell.


Paul Draper.









The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family Part 3

The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family by Paul Draper (previously published in Fairlight News in 2016)

Part  3 – William Drew Stent – later William Drew Lucas-Shadwell:

In part 1, I introduced you to the four generations of Lucas-Shadwells and showed how they were all related to each other. In part 2 we looked at the first William Lucas-Shadwell.

In this part we will discuss William Drew Lucas-Shadwell, the second of the Lucas-Shadwell line of succession and arguably the most influential male of the family. (see picture)

William was baptised William Drew Stent on the 17th January 1817 in Tillington, Sussex, a small village near Petworth in the Chichester region. William and his father, another William, frequently visited William Lucas-Shadwell (the first) and his wife Elizabeth, who lived in All Saints Rectory, Old Town, Hastings. William and Elizabeth had no children of their own. Elizabeth, who herself had also been born in Tillington, was related to the Stents and obviously the families remained close. William Drew stayed with William and Elizabeth and became almost an adopted son.

When William Lucas-Shadwell died in 1844, his wife Elizabeth had pre-deceased him in 1842, he had no living descendants and, as detailed in part 2, he left a very large legacy to pass down.

In his will, he left the bulk of his fortune to the 27 year old William Drew Stent on condition that he change his legal name to Lucas-Shadwell. This he did and henceforth he was to be known as William Drew Lucas-Shadwell.

The family moved to All Saints Rectory and also later acquired The Down Lodge, in Fairlight Road, where William’s parents were to remain.

William’s father died in early 1851 and six months later our William married Florentia Wynch, daughter of Henry Wynch, the vicar of Pett and part of an influential family.

They then planned and built The Hall, Fairlight, just off Martineau Lane. This grand building, still within the Parish boundary of Fairlight, was to become the family seat and remains an important local landmark. (n.b. Although now known as Fairlight Hall, there was another Fairlight Hall in existence when it was built, located in Ore, now known as Barrington House. So it was well into the twentieth century when the name was changed).

Now established at The Hall, William and Florentia became important local figures and William continued to acquire land in and around Fairlight, as his predecessor had done.

William and Florentia were deeply religious and were involved in the building and renovation of many churches in the area, including Fairlight. When the old Fairlight church was finally demolished in 1845 and the present church constructed, William was the second largest contributor to the fund. He donated £500 and supplied all the stonework from his own local quarries. (The largest contributor was Sarah Milward, later Lady Waldegrave, who gave £1,000 towards the final stated cost of £3,486).

William’s youngest brother was Henry Stent and he subsequently became vicar of Fairlight in 1858. Henry was one of Fairlight’s best known and most loved vicars, serving from 1858 until his death in 1903.

Florentia was herself a strong and influential character who would outlive her husband by 46 years. She became an early staunch and active supporter of the Temperance movement. Such was her influence, particularly when she persuaded William to sign up in about 1865, that the inns in the whole region, Fairlight, Pett and their lands out to Rye Harbour, became temperance, i.e., no alcohol was for sale on the premises. Indeed, the royal Oak at Pett was known as the Temperance Inn for many many years from the late 19th well into the 20th century. Rumour has it that Florentia was always against alcohol because of the death of her older brother, George Wynch. George was apparently accidentally kicked by an unattended horse outside the Two Sawyers whilst the groom was drinking inside and died from his injuries. The couple frequently talked on the subject of temperance and religion and as the squires of the parish, were able to almost dictate local policy. Additionally, according to the published sermon at William’s funeral, he was strongly opposed to ‘Romanism’ which proved to be ironic as his only son, William Peter Lucas-Shadwell, and his family (see part 4), subsequently converted to Catholicism in 1902.

In time, Florentia herself became tired of The Hall and had another property built in Peter James Lane. The property was named Woodcote (now Hoads House) and she lived there with her unmarried daughter, also Florentia, until her death in 1921.

William and Florentia enjoyed travelling and went on grand tours of Europe, spending considerable time away from The Hall. Unfortunately, it was on one such tour that William died. They had visited Venice in November 1874, where it is believed he caught a fever but they moved on to Florence. There after a long period of illness he succumbed on the 12th January 1875. The funeral service was held at Fairlight St. Andrew’s and he and his family are buried there in a large grave, immediately to the east of the church.

William’s influence on the Parish was strong and although Florentia outlived him by a considerable time, he left a male heir, William Peter Lucas-Shadwell. His legacy and work was far more extensive than I can write here, but if any readers wish to learn more, please contact me.

To be continued……. Next, Part 4, the third William Lucas-Shadwell:-

William Peter Lucas-Shadwell.

By Paul Draper.


The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family Part 2

The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family by Paul Draper (previously published in Fairlight News in 2016)

Part 2 – William Shadwell – later William Lucas-Shadwell:

In part 1, I introduced you to the four generations of Lucas-Shadwells and showed how they were all related to each other. In this part we will look at the first William Lucas-Shadwell.

William was baptised William Shadwell on the 1st January 1766 in Ringmer, Sussex. We know little of his early years but at some time he moved to Hastings and qualified as an attorney. His name appears in early documentation as a partner in the firm of solicitors, Shadwell, Bishop and Thorpe of High Street, Hastings. Perhaps of more interest is the name of Hastings’ first bank, Hilden, Shadwell, Tilder, Harvey and Gill, of 90 High Street, Hastings. The bank was founded in 1791 and today there is a blue plaque on the wall, inscribed “In 1791 the first bank was established here – the Hastings Old Bank”.

However, although he undoubtedly inherited from his family and acquired some wealth from these latter adventures, the main source of his wealth appears to have been from bricks!

In 1804, England was very nervous about the activities of a certain Monsieur Napolean Bonaparte just across the Channel in France. Fears were growing of a possible invasion and so we decided to build a strong defence network. The chosen scheme was a series of Martello towers supplemented by the Royal Military Canal.

Estimates vary but it seems that each Martello Tower contained somewhere in the region of 400,000 to 500,000 bricks. With a string of towers all along the south coast, that required the supply of a lot of bricks. William Shadwell, as he was still known at the time, happened to be the agent for Sir William Ashburnham (of Broomham, Guestling – now Buckswood School) who owned the local brickfields and William Shadwell managed the whole operation. Today very few of the towers remain as most were built at the edge of the Channel and subsequently suffered from the inevitable ravages of the sea. The exact position is unclear, but only one tower, number 38, was actually within the boundaries of Fairlight Parish, at a time when Cliff End was part of Fairlight. Tower 38 was one of the first to go.

So this appears to be how he made the bulk of his money. It seems that William, whilst living in All Saints Street, Hastings at this time, decided to invest his wealth in land. How, when and why he acquired so much land is unclear but he started purchasing farms in Fairlight. Stonelynk Farm, Waites Farm, at the heart of Fairlight Cove, were early purchases.

In 1809, his aunt, Anne Lucas died and left her assets and Camois Court in Barcombe, Sussex to William. William’s mother, Mary Lucas had married William Shadwell in Barcombe in 1754. Mary and Anne were two of six children and it was Anne who was the last child to die and had inherited the family estate. Anne, a spinster, left her the assets to our William, but the codicil to her Will contained one condition – that he added the name ‘Lucas’ to his existing surname to create the name Lucas-Shadwell. This he did in 1811, by Royal Licence. Hence the name was born.

William Lucas-Shadwell, as he was henceforth known, continued to acquire land and, at the time of his death in Fairlight on 18th December 1844, he owned most of the farms, houses and land from Martineau Lane all the way east to Rye Harbour. These lands were to remain in the Lucas-Shadwell family up until 1917 when most of the properties were put up for auction.

The 1841 census, the only census in which he features, shows William and his wife Elizabeth Shadwell (nb. Not Lucas-Shadwell?) living in All Saints Street, Hastings.

William had married Elizabeth Ayling in Tillington, Sussex in 1788 but they did not have any children of their own. The matter of succession was therefore a problem. Elizabeth predeceased William in 1842. However, it seems that William Stent and his son William Drew Stent had been friends and frequent visitors and companions to the Lucas-Shadwells. William Drew Stent’s mother was born Sarah

 Drew, but his grandmother was born Mary Ayling. Mary Ayling was Elizabeth’s sister and this explains the family connection.

William Lucas-Shadwell, in his six page Will, decided to leave Estate to his wife’s great-nephew, William Drew Stent. William Drew Stent decided that as a sign of gratitude and respect of change his name by royal Licence to William Drew Lucas-Shadwell.

Hence, he became the second William Lucas-Shadwell.

To be continued……. Next, Part 3, the second William Lucas-Shadwell:-

William Drew Lucas-Shadwell.

By Paul Draper




The Story of the Lucas Shadwell Family – Part 1

Who were the Lucas-Shadwells?

Where did the name come from and what happened to them?

By Paul Draper (previously published in Fairlight News in 2016)

Part 1 – The outline story:

The Lucas-Shadwells were the dominant family of Fairlight, Pett, parts of Winchelsea and other lands as far as Rye Harbour. They appear to have arrived in Fairlight in the early 19th century and stayed until the early 20th century. The name has now completely gone being only remembered in one street name in Rye Harbour, known as ‘Lucas-Shadwell Way’.

There were four male holders of the name William Lucas-Shadwell. The first was William Lucas-Shadwell (born William Shadwell), the second was William Drew Lucas-Shadwell (born William Drew Stent), the third was William Peter Lucas-Shadwell and finally William Noel Lucas-Shadwell.

In 1917, the last of the male heirs to their estates, William Noel Lucas-Shadwell, known as Noel, put most of his lands up for sale. That sale, which included Waites Farm and Warren Farm signalled the start of what is now known as Fairlight Cove. The first new owners were Salehurst Fruit Farms but they quickly went into liquidation. Then ownership passed to the Harmsworth family, the founders of The Daily Mail. The Harmsworths were badly affected by WW1 and the surviving son decided he did not want to keep his Fairlight lands. His land was sold to property developers and so the first new houses started to appear in about 1922.

Fairlight Hall, originally known as The Hall, Fairlight, was built in the early 1850s by the second William Lucas-Shadwell. This became their family seat until Noel started to sell off the properties in 1917. The Hall was sold in 1920 to E Festus Kelly who himself had acquired his wealth from the well-known Kelly’s Directories.

By this time Noel had been based in France for some time, but, despite selling off most of the properties, Noel’s sister, Beatrice, continued to live at Fairlight Cottage located in Pett at the top of Chick Hill until her death in 1948. Noel had stayed in this house with his sister on many occasions until his death in 1941.

With the death of Beatrice in 1948, the association between the name Lucas-Shadwell and Fairlight and Pett came to an end. There are many direct descendants living in France and in Canada but none bear the name Lucas-Shadwell.

So, over the next few issues of Fairlight News, we will attempt to outline the story of each of the four male Lucas-Shadwells and their respective impacts on Fairlight and the surrounding areas.

We attach a simple family tree demonstrating the relationship between the four prominent males and a few of the other family members.

To be continued……. Next, Part 2, the first William Lucas-Shadwell.

By Paul Draper


The Sargent Family From Fairlight Return After 157 Years

The Sargent family from Fairlight return after 157 years by Paul Draper (previously published in Fairlight News in 2015)


The Sargent clan are all descended from John and Sarah Sargent, who lived in Fairlight between 1818 and 1858. At a time when they already had eight children, John decided they should emigrate to the USA and he left in 1857, via Bristol and sailed away onboard the ‘Eagle’. He established himself at a small town called Rushville in Midwest Illinois and in 1858 sent for his wife and children. Somehow she managed on her own (he did not come back for them) but we cannot find their emigration records. They were reunited at Frederick’s Landing, Illinois and made their way to Rushville where they settled and then had another five children!

Their story has been particularly interesting to study because John and Sarah were married in Fairlight old church on 9th October 1842. Their first child, Sarah, was baptised in the old church on 1st August 1843, their third child, Elizabeth, was baptised on 27th June 1847 in the new (current) church, but where was their second child, John, baptised? At the time of his baptism, 17th July 1845, the old church had just been demolished and work had commenced on the new one. So where did his baptism ceremony (and nineteen other baptisms in the building period) take place? We do not know for certain.

In the 1841 census, the unmarried John, aged 23 was living with his parents, John and Elizabeth in ‘Rosemary Lane’. (Research suggests that the house was probably either Little Stonelink or another long-since demolished building just opposite). In the 1851 census, John, now married to Sarah, is living at ‘Waites Farm’ with their first five children. (In 1851, there are three separate households called ‘Waites Farm’, but recent research suggests that John and Sarah were living in the property now known as ‘Waites Old Farmhouse’).

The 2015 visit:-

Last September Jim Sargent emailed Richard Barron, Rector of Fairlight and Pett, and advised him that he and his family intended to visit Fairlight in June to see where John and Sarah had lived. Over the following weeks and months we exchanged information and slowly put together a plan. They also have roots in Pett, Battle and Wittersham.

Day 1. Finally, on 8th June 2015, at 1.45pm, their minibus pulled up in the carpark outside St. Andrew’s and eleven members of the Sargent family set foot on Fairlight soil for the first time since 1858. They were greeted by Richard and Kath Barron, Paul Draper. the FRA Archivist, his wife Karen and local historian, Haydon Luke.

We showed them the church, the graveyard and took ten of them up the tower to see the magnificent views. After a brief visit to the old coastguard cottages, we then drove to Waites Old Farmhouse. The present owners, Brian and Daphne showed them the house and garden with particular emphasis on their original well in the back garden. There then followed a short ceremony. Jim and his family had collected some water from the River Illinois at Frederick’s Landing, the point where the family had landed in 1857/8, and Jim had somehow brought the bottled water through US and UK customs to Fairlight. We all took it in turns to pour a few drops of water down the well to symbolise the return of the Sargents to their original family home. Many photographs were taken.

The minibus then took us down Rosemary Lane to see Little Stonelynk. The owners, Roger and Susan, told them about their house and the art of thatching and again many photographs were taken.

Next, the minibus took us to Pett church where they were greeted by local Pett historian, John Taylor. He gave them a short talk on Pett and the church and then we adjourned to John’s house where he and his wife, Ray, provided tea and cakes.

Day 2. After an early morning visit to Wittersham, the minibus arrived at the Fairlight Lodge Hotel at 2pm where we once again greeted them for an afternoon of entertainment. The eleven Americans were joined by a total of eighteen ‘Brits’.

Firstly Jim led us all outside where they announced that Paul Draper and Paul Lamb, the minibus driver, on behalf of Back Roads Tours, were presented with T-shirts marked ‘ Sargent 2015 England Tour’ and both declared as ‘Cousin Paul’!

Next, Haydon Luke gave a photo presentation and talk on the history of Fairlight. Then, Jim and his daughter Linda organised a ‘get-to-know-you’ session called five five five. Each American spent five minutes telling one or two Brits about their own story and then, after five minutes the roles were reversed and so on. A simple but effective way for everyone to introduce themselves, but quite noisy!

High Tea was provided by Nicola and Maggie. What a magnificent spread we all enjoyed! To complete the picture, Maggie and Nicola presented our eleven guests each with Union Jack coloured Mad Hatter tea-party top hats.

Then we all adjourned to the bar where Kath Barron took to the piano to play two songs requested by the Sargents. Firstly, ‘Stilling the sea’, a hymn sung by the Sargent children in 1858 when their ship was apparently in difficulties in an Atlantic storm. Secondly, ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’. Words and music were provided but we all knew the words to the second one!

To end the afternoon, we all went outside for a selection of group photos.

In the evening we had a farewell meal at the Two Sawyers. (The Two Sawyers played a significant role in the Sargent family history. Formerly part of Fairlight, some of the Fairlight Vestry meetings, determining the future of the poor of the village, were held there. John Sargent’s parents were themselves declared poor and the whole family sent to the Poorhouse on the 25th December 1830.)

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the ‘Sargent 2015 England Tour’ and Jim announced that he will persuade all those other Sargents back in the USA to make this an annual event!!

By Paul Draper

Fairlight UK and the links with other Fairlights in Australia, New Zealand and Canada

Fairlight UK and the links with other Fairlights in Australia, New Zealand and Canada by Haydon Luke.

But first of all, where is Fairlight, UK?


Fairlight UK is located on the south east coast of England with a view over the English Channel. On a clear day the French coast at Boulogne can be seen.




Fairlight, East Sussex, England, is a small village on the English Channel coast about 3 miles east of the seaside town of Hastings.  Its population at the time of the 2011 census was 2,259 people and the area of the parish is around 613 hectares.

The history of human habitation in our home area goes back a long way even to Mesolithic times.  Archaeological evidence of hunter-gatherers has been found in our fields and on the cliff tops. In terms of recorded history the church dates back at least to 1180 though the present structure, St Andrew’s, is a Victorian re-build from 1846. Several fine farm buildings date back at least to the Tudor period

Until the early 20th century ours was a sparsely populated farming area but in the 1920s as a consequence of the agricultural depression following World War 1, one of the farms was sold off for housing development and this led to a sharp increase in population though the area still retains its essentially rural characteristics.

In the 19th century the population was much smaller, around 25% of today’s figure, and life was challenging especially in the years when British agriculture experienced depression.  Families were large and in many cases younger family members, men particularly, were attracted by the opportunities overseas in the USA and in the Empire, especially countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

So it was that men and women from a small Sussex community found their way to those other countries far away from their native shore and made new lives there.  Not all were successful, but many were.  In the case of the three Fairlights in the old British Empire, those founding the new communities felt impelled to commemorate their place of origin in the name they gave to their new homes.

The part played by three such men in the founding of these other Fairlights is each different but joined perhaps by a common thread of determination, adaptability and courage in the face of the undeniable challenges posed by life on the frontier in new and developing lands.

What do we know about these other Fairlights and their connection with this little Sussex parish?

Fairlight, Manly, NSW, Australia.

The largest of the three is in Australia.  It has a population of almost 5,500 and is attractively situated on the water of the Sydney Harbour inlet and is a small part of the district of Manly – itself a major suburb of Sydney.  It was first settled in the mid-19th century.  Fairlight’s namesake was in fact a house, the home of Henry Gilbert Smith (1802-1886) who is regarded as the founder of Manly.

North Harbour from Fairlight, c. 1907, ©Manly Local Studies Library




Smith had prospered in business in Australia and in 1853 bought 26 acres of land on the eastern side of the Cove.  He first built a small 4 bedroomed cottage and wrote in 1855 “I am now spending a good part of every week at Fairlight…it is a most delightful spot, admired by everyone for its beauty.” This is thought to be the first time the address Fairlight was used.  Then, about 5 years later, around 1859/60, Smith had a larger house built.

The house he had constructed was an elegant, Georgian style sandstone mansion, two storeys high and five windows wide, with tower and veranda, set in park like grounds on the waterfront at Fairlight.  It was designed by a well-known Sydney architect, Edmund Blacket and completed in May 1860.  It was Smith’s first wife who was born in our parish and he named both the house as well as the settlement Fairlight in her honour.

Fairlight House with guests, image ©Manly Local Studies Library       





The local history says of Smith and the founding of Fairlight: “Fairlight House was the original home of Henry Gilbert Smith. Its original design was a traditional Georgian design, with two storeys and five windows. It originally occupied 36 acres, of what is now known as the suburb of Fairlight to and including what is now occupied by Manly golf course.

Henry Gilbert Smith was the first to recognise the potential of Manly as a resort area for those wishing to temporarily escape busy Sydney. He planned the Corso, the street that connects Sydney Harbour with the Ocean. He also had the Norfolk Pines planted that line the beaches of Manly and had hotels built along the Corso.”

After the death of his second wife who died at Fairlight House, Smith returned to England and to Sussex in 1867.  Fairlight House survived until 1939 when it was sold to a builder who demolished it and put up flats [apartments] on the site.  The name, however, just survives because a road named Fairlight Crescent actually crosses over the land where the house formerly stood.

After Smith sold up, Fairlight grew slowly until a tram route was developed around the time of the First World War after which the settlement started to increase and, as Sydney got bigger, it became a flourishing community.  So in that respect the development of housing in Fairlight NSW and Fairlight UK were broadly in step.

Another similarity is, of course, proximity to the sea and all that brings both in terms of happy seaside recreation and the less pleasant possibility of shipwrecks.  Throughout its history Fairlight UK has seen its fair share of wrecks and rescues and, because of the proximity of the English Channel, this was particularly the case during wartime.   

Fairlight NSW can match Fairlight UK in that respect, too, when in 1949 the Dutch submarine KXII ran aground on the foreshore.  The submarine had had an active World War 2 career having sunk at least 3 enemy ships and then been damaged during the Japanese assault on Indonesia in 1942.  It limped back to Sydney with difficulty, was repaired but declared unfit for further service and sold off, subsequently becoming a tourist attraction moored off Manly.  Admission; one shilling!

In June 1949 whilst being towed to a safer location “wind and swell combined to break the tow-line, and it ran aground on the sand at Fairlight broadside on.” Fortunately there was no loss of life but for a year the submarine lay beached at Fairlight becoming something of an informal playground for local children.  Eventually the wreck was bought up for salvage, broken up and with some irony sold off as scrap to Japan leaving only memories behind.

Photo of the K XII aground off Fairlight Beach, c.1949.

Photo ©John Cowper




Fairlight, Southland, New Zealand.

Earlier I said that some folk from our tiny parish were adventurous and got about a bit in the 19th century.   That was certainly true of John Howell, the local man responsible for the founding of Fairlight, New Zealand.

My quest for information about this Fairlight began with an unattributed photo in the Fairlight Village Archive showing what appears to be a tiny and remote railway halt.  There is no other information on the photo which is clearly fairly modern.  No one associated with the archive knew anything about the photo and it was clear from the research we had done on the Australian Fairlight that there was no railway there.  Could the location perhaps be New Zealand?

Last November my wife, Elaine, and I were lucky enough to go to New Zealand on holiday and whilst there we discovered, quite by chance when studying our route on the map, that, lo and behold, there was Fairlight!  It lay on our intended path south from Lake Wakatipu close to the border between Otago and Southland provinces and we would pass through it on our way to explore some of the fiord lands in the south west of South Island.






Fairlight, Southland, New Zealand.


So it was on 16th November 2014 that I found myself standing on a tiny station platform which in all respects matched the photo in the Fairlight Archive.

Fairlight station is in an isolated location on a plain but close to mountains and would not have looked out of place in Scotland.  There was little else in the area save for a section of track, a hiking trail, a few isolated agricultural buildings and, in the distance, sheep. We explored the immediate area and it was clear that the station was no longer in use.  We were intrigued and resolved to find out more, knowing we would come along the same road in a few days’ time when we headed back to Queenstown.

So, on our return we investigated further.  We were keen to establish whether there was a definite connection between our parish and the place we had found on the other side of the world.  Helpful librarians in Queenstown aided us and we learnt that Fairlight had been a halt on the 19th century railway from Invercargill, the port on the far south coast of South Island, north to Kingston on Lake Wakatipu.  The story of the line went back to the discovery of gold in the Wakatipu district in 1862 and the consequent need to improve communication between Invercargill, which was the access port, and the area round the lake. 

So far, so interesting.  But how did this remote settlement come to be called Fairlight?  Our investigation took two forms.  First, we went back to Fairlight Station to explore more thoroughly ‘on the ground’ and, second, we decided to follow up local sources in the museum at Arrowtown near Queenstown which we had been told had a lot of material on the early settlements. 

On the ground we found that in recent times the section of the railway from Kingston to Fairlight had been revived as a heritage railway but unfortunately it no longer operated.  However, we also found an intriguing signpost pointing to a Fairlight Homestead and indicating that it was on a heritage trail.  A few hundred metres further on and there it was – Fairlight Homestead, complete with sheep. 

Sadly, a sign warned us that the property was private and not open to the public. Our disappointment at that was tempered by our excitement at what we read.  The heritage trail plaque told us that the homestead was the centre of a vast 30,000 acre sheep ‘run’ and, although originally called Bucurochi, the run had been purchased in 1860 “and renamed Fairlight by the famous Captain John Howell after his birthplace on England’s Sussex coast, from where he had set out to sea on whaling ships.  Howell commissioned the construction of a Georgian style homestead which stands today.”  We felt as though we had hit the jackpot.  Not only did we have proof that Fairlight, NZ, was indeed named after ‘our’ Fairlight but there was clearly more of a story to be uncovered about ‘famous’ Captain John Howell himself.

At the museum in Arrowtown we found more leads and much fascinating material about the lives of the early settlers and the challenges they faced developing their lives in a new country.  After we returned to the UK we made further enquiries to the New Zealand Government Department of Conservation and had another bit of luck.  The officer who responded to our query, Rachael Egerton, had a personal research interest in Captain Howell who, she said, is somewhat of a legend in Southland, being one of the earliest European settlers, and very important in many other ways as a pioneer pastoralist and businessman. Many trace their ancestry to him”.  This latter point is given impetus by the fact that he had 19 children by two wives!

Rachael gave us some further leads to follow up from which it was clear that John Howell had indeed          

been born in Fairlight in 1809.  Local Records, now in the East Sussex Records Office at The Keep, confirm this. The entry in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography takes up his story.

“John Howell was baptised at Eastbourne, Sussex, England, probably on 8 July 1810, the son of William Howell and his wife, Mary Collings. At the age of about 12 he stowed away on a smuggling vessel; apprehended on the vessel’s return from France, he was released when found to have no connection with the smugglers. He promptly stowed away on a ship bound for Australia, became first mate on a whaling ship, and arrived at Kapiti Island, New Zealand, in 1827 or 1828. Here he engaged in whaling and the export of greenstone to Australia.”

In the late 1820s and 1830s, then, he was active in the whaling business which in those days thrived in the southern oceans and, whilst fraught with great danger, was also capable of delivering to successful ships’ captains great wealth. Later, as whaling declined, Howell turned to agriculture making good use of the land he had acquired at Fairlight. Howell was also involved in developing political and personal relations with the indigenous Maori population across the racial boundaries.  Indeed, both his wives were Maori.

Over time, the Howell family came to be seen as social and economic leaders amongst the developing colonial settlements and pastoral economy in that part of New Zealand, at a time when many mixed race families found themselves increasingly marginalized.  Such was the significance of the experience of Howell.

Fairlight Station Homestead © NZ Historic Places Trust. Photo taken 1996.

and his descendants in managing to live and thrive ‘in between worlds’ that they have become the focus of serious academic study which explores the way they made the transition from leading members of a mixed community to, in effect, colonial gentry.

It is interesting to reflect on the fact that a son of Fairlight should make such an eventful life on the other side of the world, playing a significant part in shaping his adopted country.  On his death in 1874 his newspaper obituary stated that “Captain Howell has left a very wide circle of friends.  He was universally respected by all, both rich and poor; his purse was always ready for any charitable object, as was his home for many years free and open to any who pleased to call.  In Captain Howell, Southland has lost a treasure.” (Bruce Herald, Vol VII, Issue 623, 14th August, 1874, p.7)  His second wife survived him by 25 years, dying in 1899.

140 years after his death, it is clear that ‘our’ Captain Howell was a remarkable man indeed and I am keen to find out even more of his life and times.

Fairlight, Saskatchewan, Canada

So now, finally, on to Canada, another railway connection, and yet another son of Fairlight who left home shores in the 19th century to find a new life thousands of miles away from the Sussex coast.

This story is still work in progress.  I am very much indebted to Julia Adamson for her energy is responding to my enquiries and for her willingness to help an unknown stranger unravel the story because until she responded to my enquiry I really had uncovered very little about the Canadian Fairlight.

In fact, all I knew was that it is now a tiny village in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan lying just south of Provincial Highway 48 and the Canadian National Railway about a kilometre west of Highway 8 and with a population of some 40 people.

But then a lucky hit with good old Google took me to the Saskatchewan One Room School Project for which Julia was webmaster.  From that site I learned that there had been a Fairlight School and in response to my enquiry Julia was able to confirm that yes we have a village of that name which was named by Henry Hyde who came from your Fairlight.” Census and other records positively link Henry to both locations.

Thus, armed with the name Henry Hyde, I was able to search our local Sussex records and uncovered some details from which I knew that he was born in Fairlight, East Sussex, and baptised Henry Mathew George in our local St Andrew’s Church on September 21st 1856.  His parents were Henry and Elizabeth Hyde and his father was a coastguard.  The coastguard cottages still stand on the cliff top and I can see them from my study window as I write this.

But what thread could lead from seaside Sussex to rural Saskatchewan, thousands of miles from the sea?  It turns out almost certainly to be a thread of iron in the shape of the railway that came to span the entire breadth of Canada – the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Page from the Baptism register of St Andrew’s Church, Fairlight, East Sussex, England.

Henry Hyde’s baptism is the bottom record on the page. A younger brother, Joseph James Hyde, was born on 10th February 1860.





When Henry arrived in Canada, how he travelled and how exactly he came in later life to be the first postmaster at Fairlight is not yet clear to me.  It is to complete that narrative that I am working hard, with the help of Julia and her associates, and my colleagues here in Fairlight UK.

By Haydon Luke