The 1066 Rifle and Pistol Club started life as the Battle Rifle Club, which was formed before World War II. Its activity was suspended during the War and its facilities used by the military and Home Guard.
In 1945 the Club was reconvened in a shed alongside the Drill Hall (which was opposite Battle Police Station) and on an outdoor range in Powdermill Lane. Shortly afterwards the Club moved to better premises, a shed at the rear of the Wellington Pub in the High Street in Battle, where it established a 25 yard small-bore range.
In the early 1980’s the Wellington Pub was put up for sale and the Powdermill Lane range had fallen into disuse. In 1984 a group of the remaining members decided to try to keep the Club going, despite a complete lack of finance and to search for a suitable site to create a new range. Various sites were considered: one was a flooded farm, another was part of a quarry, a third was a disused railway line and the fourth was a steeply sloping field in Rock Lane, Ore, Hastings. All the sites except Rock Lane, were refused planning permission for one reason or another. A lease was secured on the land at Rock Lane, various loans were raised; a small team of builders hired and an area was excavated by machine, leaving the ground to settle. This process took the best part of a year. The limited funds available dictated that a pipe range should be selected as the cheapest option. The shingle bedding was laid for the pipes and the builders began constructing the concrete bases for the two adjoining buildings attached to the pipe range, i.e. the clubhouse and the target house.
Finances were, by this time, virtually exhausted: the initial loans of £6,000 had been expended. An application was made to the Sports Council for a grant and after persistence from the then Secretary, they finally agreed to award a grant of £5,000 plus a £3,000 interest free loan to be repaid over three years. The building was completed and officially opened in 1992. The Club advertised for new members and received a very good response and over the next few years the membership was increased from 6 to 70 and the loan was repaid on time.
Dave McCleery stepped down from his position as Membership Secretary (he was one of the original six members who completed the above) and his position was taken over by Chris Wallace who shortly afterwards became the Treasurer and combined both functions. Gradually there was a change of personnel, Eric Jones became the Secretary and Phillip Jenkins became Chairman (replacing Mike Beck). There was a new committee and the Club’s opening hours were expanded to five nights a week, plus Wednesday mornings fortnightly, together with Sunday mornings.
In 2000/2001 the Treasurer (C.Wallace) informed the new Chairman (P.Jenkins) that the freeholder was likely to raise the rent for our lease because structural improvements were about to be made and a rent review was due. The two of them agreed that they would approach the committee with a view to the club purchasing the freehold of the land. With the assistance of our Club solicitor (Chris Barber) the negotiations were completed; the freehold purchased with the funds being raised via various internal loans made by members. Then, in 2003 an extension was built to the clubhouse to accommodate a kitchen, toilet and armoury. Shortly afterwards, the car park was enlarged and resurfaced; gas central heating was fitted to the club room, together with safety lights for the pathway down to the club facilities.
This was followed by an outdoor airgun range, with the construction of a wooden target house donated by a committee member, Roger Hardy.
The name of the Club was changed from Battle Rifle & Blackpowder Pistol Club to 1066 Rifle & Pistol Club after the committee had agreed that as we no longer had premises in Battle that such a change would be appropriate.
The original pipe range served well for 16 years, but unfortunately, it began to seriously deteriorate. The tubes began to split; there was a periodic serious ingress of water and having taken professional advice, it was agreed by the committee and the membership of the Club that the range would be completely rebuilt. Planning consent was granted and then the mammoth task of raising the finance was undertaken. During the Spring of 2009, after the plans for the new range had been agreed at the AGM, a work party of members stripped out the old firing point and the target house, whilst the contractor went to work in removing the tonnes of soil that covered the old tubes and then the tubes themselves. The site was cleared prior to the construction of concrete foundations followed by a block and beam floor. The 9” block walls were laid along the exterior in readiness for the concrete beams which formed the new roof, which was then sealed.
The entire rebuild took less than 11 weeks and once the shell of the building had been handed over to the Club a small band of volunteers moved in to construct the internal parts, i.e. six new lane booths at the firing point and the creation of a whole new target receiving area, with metal back plates at the far end where the original target house area had been.
The Club re-opened for members on Sunday 9th August 2009 and the official opening was on the 30th August 2009, where a buffet party was attended by approximately 80 members and guests.