Welcome to Roedean and Rottingdean
Rottingdean is the place I will always call home. My family moved here from the city when I was a small child as they wanted to be near the sea and to enjoy a better place for their young family. As luck would have it they chose this charming village and have stayed in the vicinity ever since.
Although I now live on the Isle of Wight, my childhood and teenage years were spent in this delightful place and it gave me the chance to enjoy the community spirit that only a village has to offer.
Smuggling and cricket
Rottingdean is an old smuggler’s village. During the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, smuggling was a way of life on this coast. Overlooking the village is the Windmill which continued to grind corn until 1881 and is now preserved by the local Rottingdean Preservation Society. Legend has it that before the present windmill was built the ground on the top of Beacon Hill was used as a cricket pitch. In 1758, whilst playing cricket there a batsman hit the ball so hard that it rolled down the hill into the village. A fielder was sent to chase it and threw the ball too hard so that it missed the stumps and rolled down the other side of the hill! There were no boundaries in those days and the batsmen managed to achieve a total of 67 runs – a record that has never been bettered before or since.
The village green
The village green tends to act nowadays as the focus for the village. Village fetes are held here during the summer months and at the very heart of it is the Village Pond. The pond is now the home of various ducks, but at one time it was bustling with activity as nearby farms used to take their sheep to drink here. This part of the village also boasts Rudyard Kipling’s House, which is to be seen across the pond.
St Margaret’s Church
Opposite is St Margaret’s Church. Little remains of the original Saxon building as it was rebuilt in the first around AD 1100 and again in AD 1200. In 1377 a party of pirates from France took over the village and many of the terrified villagers sought sanctuary here as the rest of the village was torched. Sadly, the pirates also went on to fire the church and many of the poor villagers were burnt alive inside. Evidence of this fire can be seen by the pinky/grey colouring of the interior stonework which was the result of the intense heat. Following its destruction it was rebuilt and has been periodically restored ever since, the last major restoration being during Victorian times. I was confirmed in this church and have many happy memories of “Church with Mother” and helping with the flower arrangements while I was a child. I particularly find comfort in the Garden of Rest as it is where both my Grandparents ashes are scattered.