“Growing together in Christ”

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Welcome to Christ Church, Blacklands & St. Andrew, Laton Road, Hastings

How does the name of St. Andrew appear in the title of our Parish?

The St. Andrew name derives from one of the original ancient churches of Hastings that was situated just below the castle, indeed it was called St. Andrew sub Castro. It was first mentioned in a return to the Pope in 1291, along with other churches dedicated to St. Margaret, St. Leonard, St. Michael, St. Peter, St. Clement and to All Saints. It was again mentioned in a 1372 document although three of the previously named churches had disappeared. Probably plundered by French marauders St. Andrew’s itself fell into disuse by 1440 although there is evidence that some ruins were still visible in 1610 and the graveyard was still in use after that time.

A new church dedicated to St. Andrew was built in 1869 and served as the parish church for the western side of the main road then called St. Andrew’s Road. Immediately south of the church was an elegant little development called St. Andrew’s Square. The central space of that square is now occupied by the Salvation Army Citadel.

Further up the main road was the original brick-built tunnel which passed through the great embankment that had been thrown up to enable the rail line to Rye and Ashford to be built. That was called St. Andrew’s Arch and when in 1898 it was replaced by an iron bridge that in turn was called St. Andrew’s Bridge. If you passed under the bridge you came to what is now called Alexandra Park but was then St. Andrew’s Gardens.

In 1876 St. Andrew’s Road, along with it’s lower continuation  into the town, then known as Meadow Road and containing Meadow Cottages, was renamed Queen’s Road, in honour of the reigning monarch.

Sadly through lack of congregation numbers St. Andrew’s Church has been closed and demolished with the loss of some wall paintings by Robert Tressell, the activist writer of The Ragged Trousered Philantropist. It’s place is now taken by the Morrison supermarket and the petrol station. The parish was combined with Christ Church, Blacklands, and thus the name of St. Andrew was enjoined.

It remains a sad and poignant truth that church buildings do sometimes disappear!

Many thanks to Leslie Adams who sent in the above article. Something for us all to think about.

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