Coghurst Gates

Coghurst Estate And Woods



Brief History


The picture above is of "Coghurst Gates". This was the gatehouse to Coghurst Estate and stood on The Ridge at Hastings opposite Victoria Avenue. During the war the Ades family lived there and it was at that time that the iron gates were removed. Coghurst Gates was last lived in by the Moon family and was demolished in the late 1950's.

Coghurst is a large area of countryside to the north of Hastings, it is unusual in the fact that it is almost impossible to find out its history, The orgin of the name is not known, a John Coghurt of Guestling is recorded in 1327.
There was a tenement and 260 acres called "Coghurst" in the parishes of Guestling and Westfield which were occupied by William Fletcher in 1694.
A Coghurst House is mentioned in 1666.

Manwaring Baines who wrote "Historic Hastings" and was curator of the museum states that Coghurst Hall was built for Musgrave Brisco in 1811, but it is elsewhere said have had Decimus Burton as architect, as he lived from 1800 - 1881 there would appear to be something wrong here, unless he drew up the plans aged 11!!
A message from Colin Pope who has researched the Brisco Family in some depth puts the construction date as around 1834 which would appear to be more accurate.
Musgrave later became High Sheriff for Sussex. He died in 1854 and had no children.

The 1867 Kelly's Directory lists Charles Hay Frewen, esq. Coghurst hall under Borough Magistrates.
"Coghurst Hall, the seat of Charles Hay Frewen, Esq., J.P., is a commodious mansion, situated in a fine park".

After Musgrave Brisco (born 13 April 1791) died on 9 May 1854, he left the bulk of his estate, including Coghurst Hall, to his wife Frances (nee Woodgate), with instructions that after her death it was to devolve to his brother Wastel Brisco (of Bohemia House).
Musgrave was elected mayor of Hastings in 1842,  and was elected MP for Hastings on 30 March 1844. After a successful fight in 1847, he was returned as a Peelite, and in 1852 as a Conservative. Two years later, however, he applied for the Chiltern Hundreds, and retired from active political life. Shortly thereafter he died, and was buried at Old St Helen's, the ruins of which stand near the Parish Church of Ore. He was also a magistrate and deputy-lieutenant for the counties of Sussex and York and was directly related to the Briscos of Crofton Hall, Cumberland.
In 1856, Frances Brisco married Charles Hay Frewen and they lived in Coghurst Hall until Frances died on 14 February 1867.
Wastel then inherited the property and Charles Hay Frewen moved out soon after [a letter from Helen Frewen, Brickwall to Edward Frewen informs him that "uncle Charles [Hay Frewen] is to leave Coghurst ... and that Mr Brisco will rent it out', 11 Mar 1867].
Charles Frewen, who served as Deputy Lieutenant for Sussex and Rutland, was High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 1866 and MP for Eastern Sussex, 1846-1857 until he blew his election via unwise correspondence, died on 1 September 1878 at Cold Overton Hall.  
If Coghurst Hall was built for Musgrave in 1811 it must have been financed by his father Wastel Brisco (1754-1834) who was born in Yorkshire but lived and died in Coghurst. He was a captain in the Coldstream guards and a deputy lieutenant for the counties of Sussex and York.

My thanks to Murray Waldren for the above information

From "Who's Who in Staffordshire" 1934
COGHILL, Archibald Fuller,
Redland, Basford, Stoke-on-Trent.
Born, Newcastle, Staffs., 1853. Son of late Harry Coghill, Esq. JP., Coghurst Hall, Hastings.
Educated Cheltenham College.
Married 1877, Jessie, daughter of late John Drake, Esq., of Weston-super-Mare.

J.P. for Pirehill, North Staffs., appointed 1900 ; 
President NS. Infirmary, 1902-1903; 
President N.S. Musical Festival, 1899 ; 
Chemical Manufacturer (retired).

From :-
Anna Louisa Walker Coghill -1836-1907
Born: 1836, Kiddermore, Staffordshire, England.
July 7, 1907, Bath, England.
Buried: Fairlight (near Hastings), England.
Pseudonym: Mrs. Harry Coghill.

In 1857, Anna’s family moved to Canada, where she and her two sisters ran a girls’ school. Anna returned to England in 1863 and worked as a governess and book reviewer. In 1883, she married Harry Coghill and moved to Coghurst Hall, near Hastings, England. Her works include:

  • Leaves from the Backwoods (Montréal, Canada: John Lovell, 1861)
  • A Canadian Heroine, a Novel (London: Tinsley, 1873)
  • Oak and Maple: English and Canadian Verses (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trüber & Co., Ltd., 1890)
  • Edited and published the Autobiography and Letters of her cousin, Mrs. Oliphant, 1898


  1. Work, for the Night Is Coming

In addition to the above the following information is available

This hymn, which emphasizes the joy and dignity of work, especially Christian service, was written in 1854 by an 18 year-old Canadian girl, known then as Annie Louise Walker. (Annie married a wealthy merchant, Harry Coghill, in 1883). Her poem was first published in a Canadian newspaper and later in her own book, Leaves From the Back Woods. Mrs. Coghill eventually attained prominence as a poet and author, producing several volumes which enjoyed wide circulation.

Philosophers and writers have made many profound statements about the intrinsic value of labour; but none has been able to state more simply and meaningfully the joy of being co-workers with God in worthy labour than has Annie Louise Coghill in this hymn text.

  1. Women's Rights

See this poem at

Today what is left of Coghurst Hall is a Holiday Park, much of the building has been changed, but Coghurst Hall Holiday Village only covers a small part of what was once Coghurst.

Click on the picture for a larger version

More pictures from the air here

Ghosts!! - locals say they have seen the ghost of a young WWII soldier on the Ridge, who was killed by a German bomb, as he crouched under a sand rock wall, which was part of the now-demolished Coghurst Hall Gatehouse lodge.  When I was a child there was a gap in the wall opposite Frederick Road that could have been caused by a bomb, there were tales that the gatehouse was haunted.  Today there is a filling station on the site of the gap in the wall.

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Page last updated on 10 May 2006