Based on the site of an earlier windmill, North’s Seat is the highest point on Fairlight Down just outside of Hastings, and a fantastic viewpoint around the local area. Apart from a commemorative plaque, giving directions to nearby landmarks, there is little remaining from this feature of the local countryside.
Approached by footpath from the Fairlight Road, and linked by Mill Lane and Beacon Road, North’s Seat is just two miles from the sea and is the highest point in the town, standing 575 feet above sea level. The windmill on this spot was destroyed by fire in 1872.
Following the closure of the windmill, referenced in Henry Cousin’s book ‘Hasting’s of Bygone Days and the Present’, North’s Seat was used as a triangulation landmark in the mapping of the UK’s geography. This early mapping process in the late 18th century led to the foundation of the Ordnance Survey in 1791.
To this day there is still a trigonometry point (trig-point) at North’s Seat, which helps the OS keep track of changing landscapes, and are used as reference points by walkers making use of the South Downs in the Hastings area.
With the dubious accolade of being the 3044th tallest hill in England, North’s Seat was so named in honour of Frederick North, a Liberal politician and one of the MPs for Hastings until his death in 1869, aged 69. In 1870, an actual seat was placed on the top of the hill, with a commemorative plate in his name, although this is no longer present on the site.
In 1930, North’s Seat was provided with a raised wooden viewing platform, to provide a better view of the surrounding region, making it possible to see over the growing vegetation. It was subsequently used as an observation point for the military during the Second World War, before being taken down following vandalism in 1982. On a really clear day, it is possible to see France in the far distance from the top of North’s Seat. It is often incorrectly referred to as simply North Seat, appearing as it does at the north end of Hastings, although with views over the sea, and actually to the north west of the town, it is difficult to see why this mistake is so often made.