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Bexhill, East Sussex (England)

Bexhill-on-Sea, English Town

Last modified: 2021-05-08 by rob raeside
Keywords: bexhill | east sussex | sussex |
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[Flag of Bexhill, East Sussex] image by Pete Loeser, 29 November 2015
As registered with The Flag Institute.

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Introduction: Bexhill or Bexhill-on-Sea

Bexhill, or Bexhill-on-Sea, is a seaside town in East Sussex County. It is located in Southeast England. The first reference to Bexhill (Bexelei) was in a town charter granted by King Offa of Mercia in 772 AD. A Manor House was built there. It was largely destroyed during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the Domesday survey of 1086 records that the manor was "waste" and basically worthless. King William I used it to reward one of his knights, Robert, the Count of Eu, along with most of the area. From there is would pass from hand to hand. A grandson of Robert gave the manor to the bishops of Chichester in 1148. In 1276 a large portion of Bexhill was made into a hunting reserve and in 1447 Bishop Adam de Moleyns fortified the Manor House. In 1561 Queen Elizabeth I took possession of Bexhill Manor and three years later she gave it to Sir Thomas Sackville, the Earl of Dorset. The Earls, and later Dukes of Dorset owned Bexhill until the mid-19th century. In 1804 it was turned into a barracks for the soldiers of the King's German Legion. These troops were Hanoverians who had escaped when their country was overrun by Napoleon's French Army. They were there to protect Bexhill from a French attack and stop local smugglers. In 1815 these troops would play an important role in the Battle of Waterloo.
In 1813 Elizabeth Sackville, the wife of the Earl De La Warr, inherited Bexhill, and it was her husband who decided to transform the small rural village of Bexhill into an exclusive seaside resort. He contracted the architect John Webb to construct the first sea wall and develop the resort. Opened in 1890, the luxurious Sackville Hotel was built for the Earl De La Warr and originally included a house for the use of his family. Eventually the resort and its sea front included an entertainment pavilion and a bicycle track to attract guests. At the same time several independent schools were built for the expanding town, and it soon became known for its boarding schools, which catered largely for the children of the armed forces serving overseas and those of the colonial administration. The railway came to Bexhill in 1846 making it easily accessible for tourists. In 1902, Bexhill became an Incorporated Borough and got a Royal Charter granted by Edward VII. England's first ever motorcar races were held on the De La Warr Parade the same year. The De La Warr Pavilion was built and opened as a famed entertainment centre in 1935.
The Second World War caused the evacuation of the schools and substantial bomb-damage to the town. Following the break-up of the British Empire, and in particular the independence of India in 1947, the enrollment in the town's school declined. The schools and tourism had been the sources of the town's prosperity and from the 1960s on the town began to lose its appeal as a popular seaside resort and it became more residential in nature and a nice place to retire. In 1972, Bob Marley performed at the De La Warr Pavilion in his first ever UK gig, but that was the last big act to perform there. Bexhill still remains a nice, but quieter, place for a vacation however.
Pete Loeser, 1 May 2021

Description of the Bexhill Flag

From the notes of the Flag Institute Chief Vexillologist, Graham Bartram:

The Bexhill Flag is a community flag proclaiming the unique identity of this Sussex town and its people.

The flag was designed in the late nineteenth century by the Town Colours Committee. The committee adopted it on 29 July 1893, and it first flew in public later that year. Since then Bexhill Rowing Club has used it on ceremonial occasions. It also forms the basis of the clubs sporting colours.

The Bexhill Charter Trustees requested this registration, with the support of Bexhill Heritage and of Rother District Council.

  • Flag Type: Town Flag
  • Flag Date: 11 March 2020
  • Flag Designer: Bexhill Town Colours Committee 1893
  • Adoption Route: Town Association
  • UK Design Code: UNKG7544
  • Aspect Ratio: 3:5
  • Pantone® Colours: Red 186, White, Green 356
  • Certification: Graham Bartram: Flag Institute Chief Vexillologist
The Flag Institute.
Pete Loeser, 1 May 2021

Reference to a 19th Century Flag

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images located by Jason Saber, 31 July 2018

The two posters above date from 1893. Apparently, the flag was a red, white and green tricolour which I believe is still used by the Bexhill Rowing Club.
Jason Saber 31 July 2018