The tales behind island’s architectural stunners

During the building of the Royal Hotel, workers discovered two coffins. Picture: Costen.co.uk
During the building of the Royal Hotel, workers discovered two coffins. Picture: Costen.co.uk
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Three pictures today showing a trio of Hayling Island’s most architecturally stunning buildings.

Built in 1825, Norfolk Crescent and the neighbouring Royal Hotel formed part of a vision of Hayling as a Utopia by the Sea and were joined by a salt water bath house and library on the seafront.

This building was originally known as Westfield House, before becoming the Grand Hotel and Chateau Blanc. Picture: costen.co.uk

This building was originally known as Westfield House, before becoming the Grand Hotel and Chateau Blanc. Picture: costen.co.uk

During the building of the Royal Hotel, workers discovered two wooden coffins buried a couple of feet below the surface.

Both coffins and remains crumbled when they were removed, but an inscription – PS 1707 – was still visible on the lid of one. The remains are thought to have been those of drowned mariners that had been buried in this area, once so popular with smugglers.

It is said that London hatter Sir Richard Hotham originally chose Hayling as the location for his ‘fashionable and well-frequented watering place’, but rejected it on the grounds of accessibility before the island was connected to the mainland by the road bridge.

Sir Richard later went on to bring this vision to life by founding Bognor Regis.

The large Italianate house was originally built as a home for the well-known Sandeman family.

It was known as Westfield House until late in the 19th century when, after conversion, it became the Grand Hotel.

When the intended development of Hayling as a first-class resort failed, the building enjoyed only a brief interlude as the Grand Hotel before it became the Chateau Blanc Girls’ School.

In the 1930s it followed a trend set by advanced educationalists and became home to the Open-Air School of St Patrick. The building was largely demolished in 1993.

Our final picture shows the island’s Manor House.

It was built in 1777 by the Duke of Norfolk, close to the site of its predecessor.

This ancient moated site has history dating back at least to the Norman period and the house is considered by some to be the location of Hayling’s lost priory, but is more likely to have been the site of the grange belonging to the priory.