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Home > Sussex > Hellingly > Golden Martlet

Golden Martlet

Picture source: Kevin Gordon

The Golden Martlet was situated on Station Road and was previously known as the Station Hotel. This pub closed in 2001 after a fire.
What a pub that was ! We lived in Station Road about 200 yards from this idyll when it was in in its heyday. This was in 1973/75. My dog strangely enjoyed  a late walk there and was always presented with the ullage pot from the barrel on the bar, usually Courage Directors. I remember the entrepreneur who allegedly owned clubs in London who took it over and organised a monster jazz festival there over a bank holiday weekend bringing in bands from everywhere and the ox roast which fed the party-goers. Great place, great memories.
Colin Notman-Watt (April 2011)
In my family tree I have a relative, Thomas J McGrath - Licensed Victualler. From the 1901 Census, he operated the Hellingly Station Hotel. By 1905 he had moved to Hastings, Sussex and was publican The Rising Sun in Old Town district of Hastings.
John Gambrill (July 2011)
While doing some family history research on my paternal grandfather, Thomas Frank Toogood, I located your web site.
What I know from notes provided by one of my aunts (T.F.T's daughter Alice who was born at that hotel) is that:

"Father worked for a while serving the Vanderbilts in New York. He then returned to England, and on November 26, 1902, bought the newly built Station Hotel, Hellingly. At that time this was a tiny ancient village on the Sussex downs, the hotel and railway station some distance from the village. Here the hotel business was fairly prosperous for the first few years during which a large mental hospital was being built a few miles away. There was a constant flow of workers coming by train, inspectors, etc., but once the building was completed and filled with patients, only a few visitors came. The medical superintendent encouraged hiring teetotallers on the staff and business at the Hotel dropped off. Becoming short of funds, Father went back to the Vanderbilts to earn some money, starting May 6, 1906, and returning April, 1907, when he went to work for a former employer, Sir Daniel Cooper, at New Market, Cambridgeshire, after one day's holiday."

Richard Toogood (October 2011)
This fire damaged pub is no more - being reduced to a pile of rubble in June 2016 and work now commenced on the site to provide seventeen houses.
Robin Hodgkinson (July 2016)
What a shame that pub has gone. My dad was vicar of Hellingly from 1968-78 and I started my association with the Martlet collecting beer glasses on a Sunday to avoid going to church in 72/73. I began to use the pub as a regular from 75 onwards. Friends from Hailsham became bar fixtures after a while too. I was in a local R&B band and we managed to get the hall next door as our rehearsal space for a while. As fellow local Colin Notman-Watt says, the pub was run by the larger than life character from London, Mr Peter Selby and his lovely wife, he had that pub buzzing for a couple of years. He brought in Frances, a big Irish barman with a black beard and a wicked sense of humour, and John, also from London, early thirties with glasses, good fun, and into punk rock. I worked behind the bar on busy occasions or covering staff evenings off. Peter's Jazz festival in 77 was a great event, and with some international and UK name musicians. I worked in the small barn at the back of the pub where a long bar and stage were set up. There were four of us running that bar and were totally run ragged on the Friday night and all day Saturday on the festival weekend, people were drinking like alcoholic fishes, It was an event success but the expenses were high and debts were incurred, as Peter told us in the later months.. One quirk left by a previous landlord were a pair of peacocks in a large outdoor cage that kept squawking 24 hours a day. We also had Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin's manager living in Horselunges manor opposite. I used to, with a local friend, clear rubbish and dead fish from the manor moat in a rubber dingy. The best perks were meeting a few well known rock musicians and Peter Grant occasionally, he was another great character. By late 78 the Martlet had lost a lot of it's popularity and the debt's prevented any more big functions / events happening. I then moved down to Eastbourne to finish an Art College course and then lived in London for nearly 40 years, and strangely bumping into Peter Selby on a tube train in 1982. Fantastic memories and meeting great people who were connected to the pub during the 70's, surely a final heyday before it's slow demise and sadly climaxing with the terminal fire 20 years ago.
Chris Johnson (January 2021)

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Other Photos

Picture source: Richard Toogood