Also known as the Brightling Needle, this obelisk stands atop a hill, variously known as Brightling Down and Brightling Beacon, that is 646 feet (187 m) above sea level, making it the second highest point in East Sussex.
The obelisk itself is 65 feet (20 m) high. The reason for its existence is open to conjecture. Some sources claim that it was erected to commemorate Nelson's victory at Trafalgar in 1805. Still others purport that it stands in celebration of Wellington's victory over Napoleon in 1815. It seems odd, however, that there is no inscription on the monument, another mystery left by Jack Fuller.
In 1985, extensive renovations were carried out to strengthen and stabilize the obelisk. Two local men who were involved with earlier repairs scratched these words into the structure: R Croft, 1899; and Charles Croft, July 29, 1889, aged 16 years.
In comparison, the Wellington memorial in Phoenix Park, Dublin stands 205 feet ( 62.5 m) tall. Completed in 1861 it did not however reach it's full proposed height. Lack of funds also prevented a statue of the Duke on horseback that was in the original plans from being installed. Nevertheless, it is still the tallest obelisk in Europe. Interestingly enough it was designed by none other than Sir Robert Smirke which leads to conjecture about the Brightling Needle. In contrast, there are four bronze plaques on the Dublin obelisk cast from cannons captured at Waterloo. The inscription reads:
Asia and Europe, saved by thee, proclaim
Invincible in war thy deathless name,
Now round thy brow the civic oak we twine
That every earthly glory may be thine.
"The Battle of Waterloo" - Wellington Obelisk, Dublin