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(c) Jon S. Page

Holmhurst was Augustus' home from 1860 until his death. Since then it has been home to a religious order, The Community of the Holy Family, founded by Mother Agnes Mason.

One of the former students there, Julia Bolton Holloway, has a website which can be accessed here. Not only was she a student at Holmhurst St. Mary's, but she also devoted a large section of her life to the Community of the Holy Family. In her words:

"I gave up my tenured Professorship and Directorship of Medieval Studies in America, family, house, car, American naturalized citizenship, doctoral robes, everything, solely excepting books and computer, to come back and join the Community of the Holy Family, was with them for four years (one year being the Novitiate canonically), nursing three dying sisters, my teachers, scrubbing floors, repairing books, running the library, to save the charisma of our Mother Foundress and Holmhurst as her dream. My last year there I was Hermit, and am still Hermit of the Holy Family. Always will be."

I have been in contact with someone else who was also a student at Holmhurst, the actress Joanna Lumley, who has recollections of Holmhurst in her book "Stare Back and Smile". She has kindly given me full permission to reproduce quotes of her recollections on this site which can be found here.


The house is on The Ridge, St. Leonards on Sea, Near Hastings, East Sussex.

Some of the land on which Holmhurst stands was sold off to become the site of the Conquest Hospital which was opened in 1993 and the community was asked to move out.


(c) Jon S. Page

At present, the house stands empty and is falling into a state of disrepair even though it is a listed building (Grade II). The statue of Queen Anne in the grounds of Holmhurst is Grade II* Listed and is on the English Heritage 'Monuments at risk' register.


(c) Jon S. Page

The entry in the register for Holmhurst reads: (including typographical errors)


Local Authority Reference Number: 5204
Serial Number of Entry in List: TQ 81 SW 2/591
Grade of Building: II
Date when first Listed: 14 September 1976
Address:
THE RIDGE
(South Side)
Holmhurst
St Mary's School

Home of Augustus J C Hare from 1860 till his death. Formerly known as Little Ridge, Hare renamed it Holmhurst, and it is frequently mentioned in "Memories of My Life" by A J C flare.
The original part of the building appears to be late C18 or early C19, ashlar with hipped slate roof, rectangular on plan, 2 storeys, 3 windows, flush keyblocks, 3 ground floor Fench windows, 3 1st floor casements all with glazing bars, wide band at 1st floor cill level. To right (north) a larger wing of circa 1840 with alterations and additions of 1898 by A J C Hare, ashlar, gable ended slate roof, 2 storeys, casement windows, band at floor level, the 1898 additions include a stone canted bay and a large 2 storeyed gabled bay with moulded coping, large 1st floor window with 5 Tudor-headed lights and panel above with initials AJCH and date 1897, chimney stack with octagonal shafts. In fromt (east) is a stone terrace with a flight of shaped steps at centre with pair of obelisks at top, to right of terrace is stone 4-centered archway with very large pierced ogee-shaped finial on top in stone. The entrance front (north west) is of 1898 date with canted bays and stone porch with 4-centred arch and niches with carved figures, double gabled end with stone oriel, 2 large octagonal chimneys rising up wall. Interior fragments of C16 panelling and carved wall posts in hall (from earlier building on this site or probably imported?). C20 additions to west.