The Bull Inn

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THE BULL INN

As long ago as roman times a small port existed at Bulverhythe, its main purpose in those days being the shipment of iron ore quarried at Beauport.

Even earlier than this, as the footprints in the rocks tell us, the iguandon roamed the shore at Galley Hill seeking food in the great forest of Anderida that then swept down to the present coast line and way beyond.

This little port of Bulverhythe probably reached the peak of its importance during Norman times but it declined, with its neighbour Hastings, as the Cinque Ports lost most of their significance and restored to traditional fishing ports. Although in 1624 mention is made of the Port of Bulverhythe as a location notorious for smugglers, nothing remains to attest to its existence but the little ruins of the little church of St Mary, Bulverhythe.

This ancient ruin stands virtually in the back garden of the only other building of antiquity in the area, The Bull Inn. The proximity of the two buildings may not be purely coincidental as there is evidence to suggest that stones used in the construction of the pub may well have been purloined from the ruins of the church or the abbey at the rear of The Bull Inn. The existence of the church coigns, window sills and window tracery in this hostelry would go someway to support this claim,(look at the pictures of the rear of the building but in any case it is still pleasant to study ancient architecture with the companionship of a glass of ale.

Although records of various owners exist as far back as 1736 allusions are made to a building for the sale of liquor long before this time, indeed in 1695 mention was made of a hostelry called Bulverhythe House notorious for its connection with local smugglers and is proofed without doubt that there are two tunnels one leading from the cellar of the pub to the cliffs at bulverhythe and the other leading north to the old Abbey St Mary's Bulverhythe where the Monks made there way from the old Abbey to the Old Bull Inn.

Perhaps one of the most famous associations with The Bull Inn was that of the Amsterdam the Dutch East Indiaman bound for Batavia that ran aground in 1748. During the days that followed this incident the Bull Inn almost certainly played host to the investigators of the wreck and to those charged with protecting its valuable cargoes.

Also it is said that the Eastern part of the old Pub John Keats sat and did his writing whilst looking out to sea. also the Eastern part of the pub was also used as a Court House and in the basement under the bar was the cells where they held the prisoner to be hung at Gallows Hill which is now called Gally Hill.

One of the earliest owners of the pub was Andrew Dunk, a Rye brewer, and although in the very earliest days beer would have been brewed local to the inn, one could well envisage a delivery of Rye brewed beer being made by sea, by far the easiest means of access to Bulverhythe at that time.

Further business came the way of the Bull Inn during the construction of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway and in 1846 a temporary station was erected on Bulverhythe salts pending the construction of a bridge across the River Asten. The Bull Inn would have provided shelter for those passengers in an area that was still desolate and devoid of other buildings until the opening of the gas works in 1907.

In the early part of this century the Bull Inn was served by both the Hastings and St Leonards Omnibus Company for which it was a terminus and for short period by rail motor when a halt existed at Glyne Gap.