Explore Eastbourne

Heritage on your doorstep

Bringing History to Life

Neolithic Enclosure at Butts Brow

Butts BrowWe have started investigating an intriguing earthwork that appears to surround the hilltop above the Butts Brow car park near Willingdon.

A ditch was found to run around the hilltop with an associated bank made up of chalk, dug out of the ditch, but whether this barrier was complete or broken by openings is still unclear.

At this stage we believe that this was most likely created in the distant Neolithic era, around 5,000-6,000 years ago, when our ancestors were slowly starting to adopt a more settled lifestyle, beginning to farm and also clearing the Downs of trees.

Roman Villa under the Seafront

Carpet GardensSince 1717 there have been reports of Roman Remains being periodically found in the vicinity of what is now Grand Parade and Queens Gardens, the last time being around 1880. These discoveries consisted of walls, tessellated (mosaic) corridors and even a grand bath house all now lost beneath later buildings or demolished at the time to provide rubble for building foundations (nothing stood in the way of Victorian progress!). From the drawings, plans and few material finds that remain we can say that this Villa must have been very large, perhaps even palatial in scale on a par with other important Roman buildings such as Fishbourne in West Sussex.

Motcombe Dovecote

Motcombe Dovecote

The Dovecote may have been built around 700 years ago.
Over 500 pigeons would have nested there and their young (known as squabs) would have provided luxury food for the Lord of the Manor who once owned the building and the farm that it once stood at the heart of.

Archaeological excavations in 2014 and 2017 have shown that this farmyard developed over the years and that by 1870 the Dovecote stood within a complex of buildings and structures including barns and troughs actually attached to it.
By 1850 the land behind (to the north) of the Dovecote had been raised by about one meter and then by the early 1900’s it had all been covered with another meter of chalk and rubble to form the bank there today.
The original land surface, perhaps holding secrets of the medieval farm lies buried under two meters of soil and chalk but investigations in 2019 hope to uncover the stories that have been hidden for so long.

Historic Graffiti and more!

St Mary's Church Window

Using archaeological recording methods, this project will create a detailed record of historic graffiti in Sussex. All of the information gathered will be available here soon 

 

Contact us to get involved

Visitor GuideFrom exploring the historic landscape, travelling back in time to walk the paths with Eastbourne's Stone Age ancestors to discovering tales of the people who built our stunning seafront, find out more about some of the heritage, arts and culture in Eastbourne at VisitEastbourne.com