Peacehaven & Telscombe Historical Society (now disbanded) 

Site now run to inform the public about the history of Peacehaven & Telscombe 

Telscombe history

Telscombe is not as old as time but it is a timeless village. We can trace the church of St Laurence back to about 966, while there is evidence that the village of Telscombe was either here or just a short distance away at Highdole Hill during the Roman period.

The earliest records of Telscombe tell us that it was given by King Edgar to the New Minster of Hyde at Winchester. It was to remain in the hands of the church until the dissolution of the monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII. On Dissolution Telscombe was given to Thomas Cromwell possibly the highest ranking courtier in the country. He became Lord of the Manor of Telscombe a noble title to which was added Earl of Essex. But on his fall from favour by loosing his head, the Village reverted to the crown and remained in the hands of Queen Elizabeth I until the end of her reign. Telscombe was now independent and part of the lands of the Sir Richard Sackville, and remained in the Duke of Dorset’s hand until 1623, from which point in time the lordship of the manor passed through a number of hands in rapid succession.

It appears that from 1700 until 1900 the manor was held Henry Shelley and members of the Shelley family. Little changed during these years, until a new name appears. Ambrose Gorham, became the Lord of the Manor about 1900. In 1902 he won the Grand National with his horse Shannon Lass with his winnings the village was modernised, water and power was brought into the village. However Ambrose insisted that no public house should be allowed in Telscombe Village!

At this point we can say that the land along the coast was removed from the village and called Telscombe Cliffs. Cavendish Land tried in the last decade of the 1890's to develop Telscombe Cliffs as a new village. A number of houses were built, but it was to be the development at Peacehaven that brought life to Telscombe Cliffs.

Little is as yet known about The Cavendish Land Company. All know at the moment is that the first land sales for their new estate called Telscombe Cliffs took place in 1898. Harman Brothers conducted the auction and Ambrose Harman was also a director of Cavendish Land, he later became Lord of the Manor of Telscombe.

            If you can help with more information please email mr Bernard.

The information we would like are copies of title deeds of the older properties. If we could just copy them it will be a start in mapping the first inhabitants of Telscombe Cliffs before it was really developed, perhaps trace names of the Coast Guard men who lived and patrolled the shoreline in the 1800's