Official site of the Hastings & Rother Family History Society, covering Battle, Bexhill, Rye and surrounding area

Registered charity – Number 298438

We are here to help with family research and we believe that means genealogy in its widest sense. We are not only about births, marriages and deaths but also the lives our ancestors lived, the times they lived in and the places they frequented. To this end, we gather together as many resources as possible to find the people and tell those stories.


British Isles mapBritish Isles map courtesy
We are situated in the South-East corner of the UK, approximately 40 miles from Dover to the east which is the gateway to mainland Europe. 60 miles north is London and 40 miles west is Brighton. “Hastings” gave its name to the famous 1066 battle so decisive in changing rule from Saxon to Norman French. The area around the town is referred to as “Rother” which is taken from the River Rother which flows through it and into the English Channel at Rye. The ancient town of Rye was, for centuries, a vital port for ship-building, imports and exports as well as for fishing. So, too, was Hastings and Henry VIII designated them as two of his “Cinque Ports” which were set up to build his navy and defend the Country against possible invasion. Very many original settlers to Britain would have entered through these ports and many emigrants will have exited the same way until the bigger city ports took over.

Hastings and Rother is a large area which includes many villages as well as the larger conurbations of Hastings, Bexhill, Battle and Rye. Why not browse the site and get to know more about our work and how we can help with your own family story. Whether you live in the area and you go back several generations or you are elsewhere and want to trace those who started out here we can join your quest to find out. Whatever link your ancestry has with the area – be it birth-to-death, temporary or migrant within UK or abroad – we will help you track them down.



The Research Room

Our research room at the Ore Centre – The Tomlin Room (named after our Founder Member and late President Stan Tomlin) is a good place to start your research. We have resources for exploring all aspects of Family and Local History including internet access. Open on Thursday mornings from 10.00 am until noon and Saturday mornings from 10.00 am until 12.30 pm Free parking.