The Wellington Hotel

View from the Esplanade Hotel. At this point the Church has been recently built but the King's Well is still there.

Just across the bottom of High Street from Marine Terrace, this popular public house has been in operation certainly for more than a century and possibly two centuries. From the image above it’s more obvious than it is today that Steyne Road, on which it stands, was once the boundary of the Steyne, or harbour. The lower ground, the bed of the old inlet or river, ran in front of it. It extended to Seaford Head to the east, and to the River Ouse to the west (at Meeching which became the new haven or Newhaven when the sea took a shortcut).

When originally built it was known as the New Inn, but was renamed after the Duke of Wellington (probably) stayed here in 1829, the year he became Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. The Cinque Ports Confederation has a long history back dating over a 1000 years. The Iron Duke was one of many who held the post of Lord Warden, previously titled “The Keeper of the Coast”.

In 1845, probably as part of his duties, he visited this area, passing through Eastbourne on his way to Seaford, allegedly staying one night at the New Inn before returning to Eastbourne and visiting the Redoubt. Then he went on by horse via Pevensey Bay, making his way to Hastings where according to a Court Circular of the time his carriage was waiting for his onward Journey. The circular does not state where he stayed but the New Inn at the time was used by the Military when they visited Seaford for their annual manoeuvres.

In front of the inn was the King’s Well which was the last source of fresh water available to ships about to set sail from the Port of Seaford. A water fountain denoting it was originally erected here, but was later moved to a site on The Salts (now the recreation ground to the west of the town centre). At the beginning of the 21st century, it was moved again to its current location in nearby Jubilee Gardens.

The New Inn was the centre of many activities in Seaford for a very long period, being used for public dinners, as Headquarters for the Honourable Artillery Company during its annual manoeuvres in the last part of the 19th century, and for important town events such as the announcement of election results. The establishment of the grand Esplanade Hotel in 1891 took much of the business away from the New Inn. 

Continue along Steyne Road to the bush-enclosed green on your left.

The Wellington with its drinking fountain - see Jubilee Garden
The Welly, maybe late 19th C. note the floods.