Hastings, Bexhill and Battle traditional family funeral director

Arthur C Towner Ltd, the local family undertakers and stonemasons, are marking 145 in business. MD Edward Towner reflects on the changes.

Sixth generation of family funeral firm continues to help families
Sixth generation of family funeral firm continues to help families

A family owned firm which has served families on the south coast for generations is marking a milestone this year.

Arthur C. Towner Ltd was established in St Leonards in 1875 by Frederick Edward Towner. Great-grandson Edward Towner is the current managing director of the local family business.

Heart of the community

It's still an independent, family firm.

Edward Towner said: “The funeral business has changed over the years. Back in 1875 most funeral firms were small, family companies. Since then, and certainly over the 45 years that I have been at Towners, we have seen the larger national and international companies moving in and taking over the small, local firms.

“We are the last of the local, family owned funeral directors from the 19th century in the whole of Hastings, Bexhill and Battle. We are part of the local community and for many families in this area, generations of my family have served generations of theirs.”

Now Edward’s grown up children, Hannah and Oliver, have taken on part ownership of the business, continuing into the sixth generation.


They are working with families to ensure funerals can be fitting

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought changes never seen before. Although Hastings and Rother have witnessed low pandemic fatalities, funeral arrangements for all have been vastly different.

Arranging a funeral has been complex because of the government’s restrictions on the numbers who can attend a service. Social distancing is hard too – when it is difficult to find the right words a hug can be so meaningful, but people cannot do that now. Edward believes that people have been incredibly understanding about the situation, displaying British stoicism at its best.


During these unprecedented times it is important to be equipped with all the information to make the right decisions. Take care when choosing a funeral director. Check that they have their full itemised price list on their website. Feel comfortable with your point of contact. Ask for recommendations. Make use of websites like The Good Funeral Guide and The Natural Death Centre.

Everyone at this family firm is proud of the quality of care Towners strives for. Edward adds: “From your first contact with us we will support you through all the decisions and choices involved in arranging a funeral. You will have all the time and personal attention you need to get things just right. There may be tears but there may also be laughter as the memories flow and, as we work together, the ideas for your loved one’s send-off take shape.”

At their branches in St Leonards, Bexhill and Battle and the stonemasonry workshop in South Street, St Leonards, the 30-strong team ensures that a combination of tradition and technology results in customer satisfaction.

The family and staff will be happy to assist with any inquiries. Call: 01424 436386 or visit: https://towners.co.uk/