Crossing from the Jubilee Gardens you are in the southern entrance of Pelham Yard. The yard was named after Thomas Pelham, the highly influential Duke of Newcastle, who has the distinction of starting a Prime Ministerial dynasty. He is remembered as the father of two British prime ministers, Henry Pelham and the Duke of Newcastle who, between them, served as such for 18 years. Pelham was also deemed to be responsible for getting Pitt the Elder elected to Parliament as MP for Seaford.
The ‘yard’ has an interesting history. The flint and brick building to the rear of 18 High Street – round the corner ahead of you – is a rare 18th century commercial survival and still in use today. It was once a barracks. It’s said that the soldiers went through a hole in the wall to get to the pub, originally called the Duke of Cumberland’s Head and later the Pelham arms, so was was known locally as the Hole in the Wall. Eventually, in the 20th centure, the pub succumbed to custom and practise and formally changed its name.
A pub for centuries, the building has recently been redeveloped as apartments.
Seaford was a great place for smugglers in the 1800s and the pub was deemed to be their Headquarters. It was subjected to numerous raids by Excise Officers over the years. Once it was owned by Israel Medhurst, a member of a crew of one of the first lifeboats in the district (incidentally kept at Lewes and bought overland to the sea when needed).
The Pelham Arms was also a coaching inn and coaches left every Sunday, Tuesday Thursday and Saturday for Lewes to meet the London coach, at a single fare of 3s.6d. (17p) – quite a large sum at the time
The area around Pelham Yard was described in the Seaford Town Centre Conservation Area Appraisal published by Lewes District Council in 2005 as “the very core of the Old Town. Though presently rather run down, it contains a cluster of humble buildings remaining from the period when this area was the main hive of activity in the town. Several buildings in this area have recently been renovated, and further careful conservation and redevelopment of this area could maximise its historic assets.”
Continue through Pelham Yard and emerge onto High Street again. This time turn right, along to the junction onto Broad Street by Walbrin’s, Seaford’s last proper butchers.