The Hatch Inn was originally a row of three cottages said to date back to 1430, which means that they were there before the Newbridge furnaces were blowing, and might well in due course have housed the workers from this local water-driven hammer mill at the bottom of the hill. It was not until the eighteenth century that the cottages became an inn, called at that time "The Cock"; or was chark the word used and then corrupted by time, for a landlord tells of its use by the charcoal burners, who working in the forest came toiling up the long hill for refreshment.
Later it became The Hatch to commemorate the original Coleman's Gate onto Ashdown Forest. There are numerous other "Hatches" around the area which all designated gates onto the Royal Ashdown Forest as it used to be.
It is claimed that The Hatch was a haunt for smugglers with rum its speciality and Captain Kidd its mastermind, although there is little proof of this last fact. Nevertheless the hill running down from Gills Lap (as shown on the location map) is still known as Kidd's Hill to this day.
Certainly the Inn looked the part, low, rather dark and hugged into the landscape; a mysterious place with secrets to confide.