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    Hurst Green
(The Youngest Highwayman on record)

Name Derivation

General Details

Hurst Green lies about 2 miles north of Robertsbridge on the A21, the busy main road from London to Hastings.

It is possible that the area known as Burgh Hill, on the south side of the village was the site of a fort built by King Alfred the Great . The fort could have been Eorpeburner /Eorpeburnan (possibly meaning Legion fortress) , this is mentioned in the Burghal Hidage , a record of the forts from Alfreds reign. Currently no one has found the site of this fort although it may be at Newenden . In the Saxon Chronicles in 892 the Vikings stormed and destroyed the fort which was found on the river Rother / Limen .

Burgh Hill is on a very steep hill overlooking the Rother valley, and would make a good defensive position overlooking the tidal rother . During the 800's the Sea Level was higher in the area, and the Viking longboats could have sailed up the Rother valley from their base at Appledore which they created in 892.

The Fledgling Wealden iron industry based around this area at old Roman iron working bloomeries such as that found at Stonegate would have transported their goods from Etchingham or Robertsbridge as the Limen / Rother was navigable at this point. The Name Eorpeburnan (Legion fortress) could refer to the use of the Roman Bloomeries around the area, or possibly that Eorpeburna provided masses of weapons to the kingdom of Wessex.

However the other translation for the word Burgh means high so it could just be a high hill.

In 1264 King Henry III( see also Flimwell ) passed through Hurst Green with his army on the way to Lewes.

In 1744 the village green covered a triangular area from the courthouse to the village hall, including land on which some houses in Station Road stand.

'The Cottage' and 'Yew Tree' are shown on a map dated 1650, and so must have stood on the edge of the Village Green.

The notorious Hawkhurst Gang of smugglers used to terrorise the area. In 1740, at Silver Hill between Hurst Green and Robertsbridge a Revenue Officer Thomas Carswell was shot and killed while trying to apprehend some of the smugglers. One of the guilty smugglers George Chapman was gibbetted in his home village Hurst Green on the village green, no doubt watched by many of the locals as in its time it was a popular spectator sport! A few years later in 1796, Richard Russel, possibly the youngest highwayman on record at 13 years of age, was charged at the assizes for robbing the Hurst Green mail. He stole a draft to the value of 32 14s 0d, the property of a Mountfield man James Bourne. In consideration of his age he was only jailed for 6 months.

The village had its hey-day in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when it had many shops and local businesses, but declined during the post World War II period, with the advent of the motor car and large super stores.

At the end of Station Road stands the Court House, built in 1892 on the site of the old Toll Gate Cottage. The Toll Gate stood at the junction of the roads from London, Hastings and Etchingham . The Toll Cottage had a large lantern which was maintained by public subscription, the forerunner of local street lighting.

The Court House has a clock tower, which was erected in memory of Mr Gregory of Boarzell. The clock has 3 faces, each measuring 4ft in diameter, and it used to strike the hours on a bell weighing two hundred weight. In no longer does this, as at night the chiming was an annoyance to the local people. The building ceased to be a court house about 1973.


Hurst Green has a few shops and Public Houses which provide the usual village services.

The main Hawkhurst to Battle , and Hurst Green to Heathfield bus services go through the village centre.

The nearest train service is from Etchingham with a 20 minute service to London in the rush hour, and hourly in between.

The small town of Battle is about 6 miles South, and has a wide variety of shops. The main towns of Hastings about 14 miles South, and Tunbridge Wells approx 15 miles North provide supermarket access.


From the A21 road heading south of Hurst Green towards Hastings, to your right just after passing the school the Rother Valley in all its splendour winds westward upstream towards Mayfield .

Travelling south towards Etchingham via the Burgh Hill road, the full beauty of the Rother valley is before you.

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