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(Escape from the Great Plague)

Name Derivation

General Details

The name Sandhurst means simply a place which is mostly wooded in sandy ground.

It occupies a low ridge, surrounded possibly as late as the Norman conquest with sea-water estuaries, at least at high tide. The ridge ends at Newenden , where floods have shown what the land and sea may have looked like in the past.

The hill on which Downgate is built, near the church, is the highest point in the parish, this is to the south of the main road towards Hawkhurst .

The main road from London to Rye runs through the village.

The other principal routes from Hastings and Maidstone meet at a staggered crossroads in the village. These roads are the modern re-alignment of the Roman route from Beauport near Battle to Rochester and in places follows its actual line. The original Roman road surface lies two feet below the present ground level. It has been exposed more than once in recent years, and the track is partly visible from the air.

The history of Sandhurst is fairly scanty. It is probable that the village would have been called on to provide for the defenders on their way to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 , and later, the survivors retreating to London.

The church of St Nicholas was completed by the time of the Black Death in 1348/49. The church and the main part of the village are widely separated. The main part of the village used to be near the church, however, local tradition has it that due to the number of plague victims buried in the churchyard, the remaining inhabitants sought a healthier site on which to live! A factor in favour of a move to the north-east was probably the increasing importance of the ridge road as a way to Rye , one of the ancient Cinque Ports .

In 1331 the export of unwashed wool was prohibited by King Edward III. He encouraged weavers from Flanders to settle here, thus bringing their weaving and dyeing techniques to England. Sandhurst has a couple of houses which were used by the weavers.

There are many houses in and around the village dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries, some still retain their original exposed timber frames.

Others have been 'modernised' by tile-hanging, thus obscuring their early date. The church sports a good example of a mounting block used by ladies with long skirts to get onto their horses.

Near the north side of the Rye road stands the brick base of a fairly unique 'five-sailer' smock windmill, this is being rebuilt into a power generating windmill which will look similar to the original.


Sandhurst has limited services.

There is an infrequent bus service through the village from Hawkhurst to Hastings .

The trains can be caught in Robertsbridge about 6 miles south east, or Etchingham about 7 miles west.

The nearest shopping is in Hawkhurst about 4 miles to the west.

The nearest large town is Hastings, about 12 miles south.


The road from Sandhurst towards Newenden , runs along the ridge with wide views across the valley to the North.

From the village centre travel towards Bodiam , until you get to the old village, turn left up to the church.

There is a nice view across the valley to the north east towards the ridge road.

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