St Clement’s Church is one of the two ancient churches that form the Old Town Parish of Hastings. St Clement’s can trace its origins back to 1080, although it was attacked by the French in 1339 and again in 1377. The church was rebuilt in 1380.
It has many interesting features including a 15th century font depicting the Passion of Christ and two magnificent chandeliers – one of which was presented by the Hastings Barons of the Cinque Ports who raised the funds for the purchase by selling the canopy and silver staves they held above King George III at his coronation in 1761.The other chandelier was purchased by the Townsmen of Hastings.
St Clement’s has two beautiful stained-glass windows at its east end. These are the work of Philip Cole and replaced the original windows destroyed by bomb blast in the Second World War when a German bomb demolished the nearby Old Swann Inn which dated back to 1309. (This incident is part inspiration for an episode of the television detective series Foyle’s War and the fictional Inspector Foyle’s house is in Croft Road at the West end of St. Clement’s.)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, poet and artist, married Elizabeth Siddall in St Clement’s in May 1860 and the Christian poet and ecologist Christina Rossetti would have worshipped here during her many visits to Hastings. A small permanent exhibition entitled Rossettis in Love is currently in preparation.
The Church was restored by the noted Victorian architect William Butterfield.
St Clement’s is the Civic Church of Hastings.