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