63 Facts About Sussex


Brighton and Hove, though part of East Sussex, was made a unitary authority in 1997, and as such, is administered independently of the rest of East Sussex.

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Sussex has three main geographic sub-regions, each oriented approximately east to west.

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Sussex played a key role in the Roman conquest of Britain, with some of the earliest significant signs of a Roman presence in Britain.

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The kingdom of Sussex was founded in the aftermath of the Roman withdrawal from Britain.

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Sussex played a key role in the Norman conquest of England when in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, landed at Pevensey and fought the decisive Battle of Hastings.

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In 1974, the Lord-Lieutenant of Sussex was replaced with one each for East and West Sussex, which became separate ceremonial counties.

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Sussex continues to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region.

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In 2007, Sussex Day was created to celebrate the county's rich culture and history and in 2011 the flag of Sussex was recognised by the Flag Institute.

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Physical geography of Sussex relies heavily on its lying on the southern part of the Wealden anticline, the major features of which are the high lands that cross the county in a west to east direction: the Weald itself and the South Downs.

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In 2011, Sussex had a population density of 425 per km, higher than the average for England of 407 per km.

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Sussex is rich in remains from the Bronze and Iron Ages, in particular the Bronze Age barrows known as the Devil's Jumps and Cissbury Ring, one of Britain's largest hillforts.

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Much of Sussex was a Roman canton of the Regni, probably taking a similar area to the pre-Roman tribal area and kingdom.

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Sussex was home to the magnificent Roman Palace at Fishbourne, by far the largest Roman residence known north of the Alps.

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Foundation legend of Sussex is provided by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which states that in the year AD 477 Ælle landed with his three sons.

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Sussex was probably the most senior of the Anglo-Saxon kings and led the ill-fated campaign against King Arthur at Mount Badon.

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For much of the 7th and 8th centuries, Sussex was engaged in conflict with the kingdom of Wessex to its west.

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The South Saxons forced Cædwalla from Sussex and were able to lead a campaign into Kent, replacing its king.

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Shortly afterwards, Cædwalla returned to Sussex, killing its king and oppressing its people, putting them in what Bede called "a worse state of slavery".

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Sussex experienced some of the greatest changes of any English county under the Normans, for it was the heartland of King Harold and was potentially vulnerable to further invasion.

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Sussex was on the main route between England and Normandy, and the lands of the Anglo-Norman nobility in what is western France.

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Sussex experienced the most radical and thorough reorganisation of land in England.

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The Normans founded new towns in Sussex, including New Shoreham, Battle, Arundel, Uckfield and Winchelsea.

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In 1264, the Sussex Downs were the location of the Battle of Lewes, in which Simon de Montfort and his fellow barons captured Prince Edward, the son and heir of Henry III.

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One of the impacts of the war and the Black Death, which killed around half of the population of Sussex, was the perceived injustice that led many Sussex people to participate in the Peasant's Revolt of 1381.

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Skilled Flemish workers moved to Sussex, followed again by Huguenot craftsmen from France, who brought new techniques.

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In Elizabeth's reign, Sussex was open to the older Protestant forms practised in the Weald as well as the newer Protestant forms coming from Continental Europe; combined with a significant Catholic presence, Sussex was in many ways out of step with the rest of southern England.

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Sussex escaped the worst ravages of the English Civil War, although control of the Wealden iron industry was strategically important to both sides.

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Sussex coast was greatly modified by the social movement of sea bathing for health which became fashionable among the wealthy in the second half of the 18th century.

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Poverty increased and by 1801 Sussex had the highest poor law rates in England, with 23 per cent of its population living on the breadline and receiving regular relief.

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Socially acceptable crimes including protest, riot, collective action and smuggling were commonplace in Sussex and were seen by many as a legitimate way to address grievances and assert freedoms.

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Sussex was garrisoned by multiple British and Canadian Army units from 1940 until at least May 1942.

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From 1290, Sussex returned two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of England.

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The local prison in Sussex for men is Lewes Prison and there is a Category D prison at Ford.

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Some areas of Sussex are in the top 5 per cent most deprived in the UK and, in some areas, two-thirds of children are living in poverty.

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Tourism in Sussex is well-established, and includes seaside resorts and the South Downs National Park.

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Sussex Weald had an iron working industry from the Iron Age until the 19th century.

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Agriculture in Sussex depended on the terrain, so in the sticky clays and acid sands of the Sussex Weald, pastoral and mixed farming took place, with sheep farming being common on the chalk downland.

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The Mid Sussex area had a thriving clay industry in the early 20th century.

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Oldest university in Sussex is the research intensive University of Sussex, founded in 1961 at Falmer in Brighton, the first new university in England since World War II.

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Primary and secondary education in the state sector in Sussex is provided by its three local education authorities of East and West Sussex County Councils and Brighton and Hove City Council.

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Sussex has some of the best-known independent schools in England including Christ's Hospital School, Brighton College, Eastbourne College, Lancing College and Battle Abbey School.

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Sussex has a centuries-old reputation for being separate and culturally distinct from the rest of England.

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The people of Sussex have a reputation for independence of thought and have an aversion to being pushed around, as expressed through the Sussex motto, We wunt be druv.

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Sussex is known for its strong tradition of bonfire celebrations and its proud musical heritage.

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Sussex in the first half of the 20th century was a major centre for modernism, and saw many radical artists and writers move to its seaside towns and countryside.

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Sussex's building materials reflect its geology, being made of flint on and near the South Downs and sandstone in the Weald.

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Typically conservative and moderate, the architecture of Sussex has elaborate and eccentric buildings rarely matched elsewhere in England including the Saxon Church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin, Sompting, Castle Goring, which has a front and rear of entirely different styles and Brighton's Indo-Saracenic Royal Pavilion.

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The Sussex dialect is notable in having an unusually large number of words for mud, in a way similar to the popular belief which exists that the Inuit have an unusually large number of words for snow.

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Notable Sussex poets include William Collins, William Hayley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Richard Realf, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, Edward Carpenter and John Scott.

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Sussex has been home to four winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature: Rudyard Kipling spent much of his life in Sussex, living in Rottingdean and later at Burwash.

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Sussex played a major part in the folk music revival of the 1960s and 1970s with various singers including George 'Pop' Maynard, Scan Tester, Tony Wales and the sistersDolly and Shirley Collins.

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Sussex has been home to many composers of classical music including Thomas Weelkes, John Ireland, Edward Elgar, Frank Bridge, Sir Hubert Parry and Ralph Vaughan Williams, who played a major part in recording Sussex's traditional music.

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Sussex has been a single diocese of the established church since the eighth century, after St Wilfrid founded Selsey Abbey on land granted by King Æðelwealh, Sussex's first Christian king.

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Sussex won the International Mathematical Union's Fields Medal in 1974 and in 2010 was awarded the United States National Medal of Science.

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From 1967 to 1979, Sussex was home to the Isaac Newton Telescope at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in Herstmonceux Castle.

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Sussex has played a key role in the early development of both cricket and stoolball.

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Cricket is recognised as having been formed in the Weald and Sussex is where cricket was first recorded as being played by men, and by women, as well as being the location of the first reference to a cricket bat and a wicket .

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Sussex has had its own football association, since 1882 and its own football league, which has since expanded into Surrey, since 1920.

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In horse racing, Sussex is home to Goodwood, Fontwell Park, Brighton and Plumpton.

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In recent decades Sussex wines have gained international acclaim winning awards including the 2006 Best Sparkling Wine in the World at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

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Some earliest known art in Sussex is the carvings in the galleries of the Neolithic flint mines at Cissbury on the South Downs near Worthing.

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William Burrell of Knepp Castle commissioned Swiss-born watercolourist Samuel Hieronymus Grimm to tour Sussex, producing 900 watercolours of the county's buildings.

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Sussex became a major centre for surrealism in the early 20th century.

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