A brief history of the Coach House and its land
In 772AD King Offa gave the land of Bexhill “to serve the praise of God.” After the Norman conquest, Robert Croel, a relative of William the Conqueror, gave the Manor of Bexhill to the Church. Later the Bishops of Chichester used the Manor House as their residence when they were in East Sussex (referred to as the Bishop’s Palace). Its most famous resident was Richard De Wyche of Chichester, renowned for his love of God and care of His people. As St Richard he was later made the patron Saint of Sussex, and his connection with the Parish of Bexhill is clearly marked with the stained glass window at St Peter’s and the naming of the local secondary school in Ashdown Road. The house was retained by the Church for 400 years, during which time the town enjoyed considerable prosperity.
There is more detail about the origins of the Manor House here.
The vision for the Servants with Jesus was given to Sister Eileen in 1971. This Fellowship of praying women restored the Coach House to provide a centre for its ministry in 1978. The Sisters kept charge of the Coach House and served the Bexhill Community as well as the wider area of East Sussex there for the next 43 years until 2021 when the baton was passed onto HOPES. The Sisters now continue their fellowship in each other’s homes. Their vision to ‘work and pray for the furtherance of the love and unity of God’s People’ will also continue on through the current work of HOPES – House of Prayer East Sussex – at the Coach House.