Langney Priory, thought to be Eastbourne’s oldest building, has held a successful open day after being closed for decades.
Langney Priory was built before 1121 and can be found in Etchingham Road. It is a Grade II* listed building but is one of Eastbourne’s best-kept secrets, with many residents in the town unaware of its existence.
The open day was a great success and gave locals the chance to see inside the historic building and hear about future plans to turn it into a top training facility to support the local hospitality industry and to provide accommodation for visitors to Eastbourne and surrounding area.
There was a presentation by Charlie Turner, director of Sussex-based company EU Eco-Hub CIC, who outlined the restoration project which includes turning the building into a bed and breakfast facility with the consecrated chapel being used as a wedding venue. There would also be a range of accommodation including shepherds’ huts and glamping.
The Priory would provide local people with training and employment and help those in disadvantaged groups. Archaeological and heritage research work would also involve the community, local schools and colleges. In order to finance the plans, a holding company Historic Langney Priory, has been set up to enable local people to buy shares for as little as £50.
Cllr Jim Murray said, “It was an absolutely amazing day at the priory on Saturday, we were expecting about 100 people to come and have a look and we ended up with 350.
“We sold out of all our cakes and coffees.
“We were so busy that we had to create a queuing system to be able to take everybody on tours of the house and garden and heard loads of great stories about the Priory, ranging from young kids who used to go scrumping in the gardens and getting chased off by the gardener and his shotgun, to stories of strange noises and ghosts known to come from the priory.”
There were lots of people buying shares and entertainment from the Chalk Horse Music.
Cllr Murray has thanked all the people who helped clear the gardens ready for the open day and helped out with refreshments on the day.