Sussex facts for kids
|Motto: '"We wunt be druv"'|
Flag of Sussex
Ancient extent of Sussex
|Status||Historic county (current)
Ceremonial county (until 1974)
|1901 area||932,409 acres (3,773 km2)|
|2011 area||934,900 acres (3,783 km2)|
|HQ||Chichester or Lewes|
|Origin||Kingdom of Sussex|
|Succeeded by||East Sussex and West Sussex|
Quick facts for kidsDemography
- 1901 density
0.6 inhabitants per acre (150/km2)
- 2011 density
1.72 inhabitants per acre (430/km2)
Sussex ( abbreviated Sx), from the Old English Sūþsēaxe (South Saxons), is a historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded to the west by Hampshire, north by Surrey, north-east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and divided for local government into West Sussex and East Sussex and the city of Brighton and Hove. Brighton and Hove was created as a unitary authority in 1997, and granted City status in 2000. Until then, Chichester was Sussex's only city.
Sussex has three main geographic sub-regions, each oriented approximately east to west. In the south-west is the fertile and densely populated coastal plain. North of this are the rolling chalk hills of the South Downs, beyond which is the well-wooded Sussex Weald.
The name derives from the Kingdom of Sussex, which was founded, according to legend, by Ælle of Sussex in AD 477. In 825, it was absorbed into the kingdom of Wessex and subsequently into the kingdom of England. It was the home of some of Europe's earliest hominids, whose remains have been found at Boxgrove, and was invaded by the Romans and is the site of the Battle of Hastings.
In 1974, the Lord-Lieutenant of Sussex was replaced with one each for East and West Sussex, which became separate ceremonial counties. Sussex continues to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. It has had a single police force since 1968 and its name is in common use in the media. In 2007, Sussex Day was created to celebrate the county's rich culture and history. Based on the traditional emblem of Sussex, a blue shield with six gold martlets, the flag of Sussex was recognised by the Flag Institute in 2011. In 2013, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles formally recognised and acknowledged the continued existence of England's 39 historic counties, including Sussex.
- Images for kids
The name "Sussex" is derived from the Middle English Suth-sæxe, which is in turn derived from the Old English Suth-Seaxe which means (land or people) of the South Saxons (cf. Essex, Middlesex and Wessex). The South Saxons were a Germanic tribe that settled in the region from the North German Plain during the 5th and 6th centuries.
The earliest known usage of the term South Saxons (Latin: Australes Saxones) is in a royal charter of 689 which names them and their king, Noðhelm, although the term may well have been in use for some time before that. The monastic chronicler who wrote up the entry classifying the invasion seems to have got his dates wrong; recent scholars have suggested he might have been a quarter of a century too late.
The New Latin word Suthsexia was used for Sussex by Dutch cartographer Joan Blaeu in his 1645 map.
The flag of Sussex consists of six gold martlets, or heraldic swallows, on a blue background, blazoned as Azure, six martlets or. Officially recognised by the Flag Institute on 20 May 2011, its design is based on the heraldic shield of Sussex. The first known recording of this emblem being used to represent the county was in 1611 when cartographer John Speed deployed it to represent the Kingdom of the South Saxons. However it seems that Speed was repeating an earlier association between the emblem and the county, rather than being the inventor of the association. It is now firmly regarded that the county emblem originated and derived from the coat of arms of the 14th century Knight of the Shire, Sir John de Radynden. Sussex’s six martlets are today held to symbolise the traditional six sub-divisions of the county known as rapes.
Sussex by the Sea is regarded as the unofficial anthem of Sussex; it was composed by William Ward-Higgs in 1907, perhaps originally from the lyrics of Rudyard Kipling's poem entitled Sussex. Adopted by the Royal Sussex Regiment and popularised in World War I, it is sung at celebrations across the county, including those at Lewes Bonfire, and at sports matches, including those of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club and Sussex County Cricket Club.
The county day, called Sussex Day, is celebrated on 16 June, the same day as the feast day of St Richard of Chichester, Sussex's patron saint, whose shrine at Chichester Cathedral was an important place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages.
Sussex's motto, We wunt be druv, is a Sussex dialect expression meaning 'we will not be pushed around' and reflects the traditionally independent nature of Sussex men and women. The round-headed rampion, also known as the 'Pride of Sussex', was adopted as Sussex's county flower in 2002.
- See also: Geology of East Sussex
The 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. Natural England has identified the following seven national character areas in Sussex:
At 280m, Blackdown is the highest point in Sussex, or county top. Ditchling Beacon (248m) is the highest point in East Sussex. At 113 kilometres (70 miles) long, the River Medway is the longest river flowing through Sussex. The longest river entirely in Sussex is the River Arun, which is 60 kilometres (37 miles) long. Sussex's largest lakes are man-made reservoirs. The largest is Bewl Water on the Kent border, while the largest wholly within Sussex is Ardingly Reservoir.
The coastal resorts of Sussex and neighbouring Hampshire are the sunniest places in the United Kingdom. The coast has consistently more sunshine than the inland areas: sea breezes, blowing off the sea, tend to clear any cloud from the coast. Most of Sussex lies in Hardiness zone 8; the exception is the coastal plain west of Brighton, which lies in the milder zone 9.
Rainfall is below average with the heaviest precipitation on the South Downs with 950 mm (37 in) of rainfall per year. The close proximity of Sussex to the Continent of Europe, results in cold spells in winter and hot, humid weather in summer.
The climate of the coastal districts is strongly influenced by the sea, which, because of its tendency to warm up slower than land, can result in cooler temperatures than inland in the summer. In the autumn months, the coast sometimes has higher temperatures. Rainfall during the summer months is mainly from thunderstorms and thundery showers; from January to March the heavier rainfall is due to prevailing south-westerly frontal systems.
In winter, the east winds can be as cold as further inland. Selsey is known as a tornado hotspot, with small tornadoes hitting the town in 1986, 1998 and 2000, with the 1998 tornado causing an estimated £10 million of damage to 1,000 buildings.
The sunshine average is approximately 1900 hours a year, this is much higher than the UK average of 1340 hours a year.
Most of Sussex's population is distributed in an east-west line along the English Channel coast or on the east-west line of the A272. The exception to this pattern is the 20th century north-south development on the A23-Brighton line corridor, Sussex's main link to London. Sussex's population is dominated by the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation that, with a population of over 470,000, is home to almost 1 in 3 of Sussex's population. According to the ONS urban area populations for continuous built-up areas, these are the 5 largest conurbations (population figures from the 2001 census):
|Population (2011 Census)||Localities||Comments|
|1||Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton||461,181||474,485||10||Sometimes referred to as two Primary Urban Areas - Brighton Urban Area and Worthing Urban Area|
|2||Crawley||180,177||180,508||6||Includes approx. 30,000 people living in Surrey
In the 2001 census this urban area included Reigate and Redhill in Surrey but in the 2011 census it did not. East Grinstead was part of this urban area for the 2011 census but it was not for previous censuses.
The combined population of Sussex is about 1.6 million. In 2011, Sussex had a population density of 425 per km2, higher than the average for England of 407 per km2.
The earliest statement as to the population of Sussex is made by Bede, who describes the county as containing in 681 land of 7,000 families; allowing ten to a family (a reasonable estimate at that date), the total population would be 70,000.
In 1693 the county is stated to have contained 21,537 houses. The 1801 census found that the population was 159,311. The decline of the Sussex ironworks probably accounts for the small increase of population during several centuries, although after the massacre of St Bartholomew upwards of 1,500 Huguenots landed at Rye, and in 1685, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, many more refugees were added to the county.
The area of the ancient county is 933,887 acres (377,931 ha) with a population in 1891 of 550,446 and in 1901 of 605,202.
Finds at Eartham Pit in Boxgrove show that the area has some of the earliest hominid remains in Europe, dating back some 500,000 years and known as Boxgrove Man or Homo heidelbergensis. At a site near Pulborough called The Beedings, tools have been found that date from around 35,000 years ago and that are thought to be from either the last Neanderthals in northern Europe or pioneer populations of modern humans. The thriving population lived by hunting game such as horses, bison, mammoth and woolly rhinos. Around 6000BC the ice sheet over the North Sea melted, sea levels rose and the meltwaters burst south and westwards, creating the English Channel and cutting the people of Sussex off from their Mesolithic kinsmen to the south. Later in the Neolithic period, the area of the South Downs above Worthing was one of Britain's largest and most important flint-mining centres. The flints were used to help fell trees for agriculture. The oldest of these mines, at Church Hill in Findon, has been carbon-dated to 4500BC to 3750BC, making it one of the earliest known mines in Britain. Flint tools from Cissbury have been found as far away as the eastern Mediterranean.
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. Towards the end of the Iron Age in 75BC people from the Atrebates, one of the tribes of the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and German stock, started invading and occupying southern Britain. This was followed by an invasion by the Roman army under Julius Caesar that temporarily occupied the south-east in 55BC. Soon after the first Roman invasion had ended, the Celtic Regnenses tribe under their leader Commius occupied the Manhood Peninsula. Tincomarus and then Cogidubnus followed Commius as rulers of the Regnenses.
At the time of the Roman conquest in AD43, there was an oppidum in the southern part of their territory, probably in the Selsey region. A number of archaeologists now think there is a strong possibility that the Roman invasion of Britain in AD43 started around Fishbourne and Chichester Harbour rather than the traditional landing place of Richborough in Kent. According to this theory, the Romans were called to restore the refugee Verica, king of the Atrebates, who had been driven out by the Catuvellauni, a tribe based around modern Hertfordshire.
Sussex was home to the magnificent Roman Palace at Fishbourne, by far the largest Roman residence known north of the Alps. Much of Sussex was a Roman canton of the Regnenses or Regni, with its capital at Noviomagus Reginorum, modern-day Chichester. The Romans built villas, especially on the coastal plain and around Chichester, one of the best preserved being that at Bignor. Christianity first came to Sussex at this time, but faded away when the Romans left in the 5th century. The nationally important Patching hoard of Roman coins that was found in 1997 is the latest find of Roman coins found in Britain, probably deposited after 475 AD, well after the Roman departure from Britain around 410 AD.
The 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. Having fought on the banks of the Mearcredesburna, it seems Aelle secured the area between the Ouse and Cuckmere in a treaty. After Aelle’s forces seized the Saxon Shore fort of Anderida, the South Saxons were able to gradually colonise free of Romano-British control and extend their territory westwards to link with the Saxon settlement at Highdown Hill. Aelle was recognised as the first 'Bretwalda' or overlord of southern Britain. He was probably the most senior of the Anglo-Saxon kings and led the ill-fated campaign against King Arthur at Mount Badon.
By the end of the 7th century, the region around Selsey and Chichester had become the political centre of the kingdom. In the 660s-670s, King Aethelwealh of Sussex formed an alliance with the Mercian king Wulfhere and together they took the Isle of Wight from the West Saxons, probably at the battle of Biedanheafele. As Mercia's first Christian king, Wulfhere insisted that Æthelwealh also convert to Christianity. Æthelwealh was baptised in Mercia, with Wulfhere as his sponsor. Wulfhere gave the Isle of Wight and Meon Valley to Aethelwealh, with Wulfhere acting as overlord. The alliance with Mercia was sealed with Æthelwealh taking the hand of Eabe, a Mercian princess in marriage.
Wilfrid, the exiled bishop of York, came to Sussex in 681 and with King Æthelwealh's approval set up a mission to convert the people of Sussex to Christianity. Æthelwealh gave Wilfrid land on the Manhood peninsula, close to his own royal estate and Wilfrid founded Selsey Abbey. The mission was jeopardised when King Æthelwealh was killed by Cædwalla, a prince of Wessex. Cædwalla confirmed Æthelwealh's grant of land and Wilfrid built his Selsey Abbey. Cædwalla was driven out by the South Saxon nobles Berthun and Andhun.
The South Saxons fought off the West Saxons in 722 and again in 725. At the end of the 8th century, Ealdwulf was perhaps the last independent king of Sussex, after which Sussex and other southern kingdoms came increasingly under Mercian rule. Mercia's grip was shattered in 825 at the battle of Ellendun, after which Sussex and the other southern kingdoms came under the control of Wessex, which later grew into the kingdom of England.
Sussex was the venue for the momentous Battle of Hastings, the decisive victory in the Norman conquest of England. In September 1066, William of Normandy landed with his forces at Pevensey and erected a wooden castle at Hastings, from which they raided the surrounding area. The battle was fought between Duke William of Normandy and the English king, Harold Godwinson, who had strong connections with Sussex and whose chief seat was probably in Bosham. After having marched his exhausted army all the way from Yorkshire, Harold fought the Normans at the Battle of Hastings, where England's army was defeated and Harold was killed. It is likely that all the fighting men of Sussex were at the battle, as the county's thegns were decimated and any that survived had their lands confiscated. William built Battle Abbey at the site of the battle, with the exact spot where Harold fell marked by the high altar.
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. The county was of great importance to the Normans; Hastings and Pevensey being on the most direct route for Normandy. The county's existing sub-divisions, known as rapes, were made into castleries and each territory was given to one of William's most trusted barons. Castles were built to defend the territories including at Arundel, Bramber, Lewes, Pevensey and Hastings. Sussex's bishop, Æthelric II, was deposed and imprisoned and replaced with and William the Conqueror's personal chaplain, Stigand. The Normans also built Chichester Cathedral and moved the seat of Sussex's bishopric from Selsey to Chichester. The Normans also founded new towns in Sussex, including New Shoreham (the centre of modern Shoreham-by-Sea), Battle, Arundel, Uckfield and Winchelsea.
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 (later Edward I), the son and heir of Henry III. The subsequent treaty, known as the Mise of Lewes, led to Montfort summoning the first parliament in English history without any prior royal authorisation. A provisional administration was set up, consisting of Montfort, the Bishop of Chichester and the Earl of Gloucester. These three were to elect a council of nine, to govern until a permanent settlement could be reached.
Sussex under the Plantagenets
During the Hundred Years War, Sussex found itself on the frontline, convenient both for intended invasions and retaliatory expeditions by licensed French pirates. Hastings, Rye and Winchelsea were all burnt during this period and all three towns became part of the Cinque Ports, a loose federation for supplying ships for the country's security. Also at this time, Amberley and Bodiam castles were built to defend the upper reaches of navigable rivers.
Early modern Sussex
Like the rest of the country, the Church of England's split with Rome during the reign of Henry VIII was felt in Sussex. In 1538 there was a royal order for the demolition of the shrine of Saint Richard, in Chichester Cathedral, with Thomas Cromwell saying that there was "a certain kind of idolatry about the shrine". In the reign of Queen Mary, 41 people in Sussex were burnt at the stake for their Protestant beliefs. Elizabeth re-established the break with Rome when she passed the 1559 Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity. Under Elizabeth I, religious intolerance continued albeit on a lesser scale, with several people being executed for their Catholic beliefs.
Sussex escaped the worst ravages of the English Civil War, although in 1642 there were sieges at Arundel and Chichester, and a skirmish at Haywards Heath when Royalists marching towards Lewes were intercepted by local Parliamentarians. The Royalists were routed with around 200 killed or taken prisoner. Despite its being under Parliamentarian control, Charles II was able to journey through the county after the Battle of Worcester in 1651 to make his escape to France from the port of Shoreham.
Late modern and contemporary Sussex
The 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. Resorts developed all along the coast, including at Brighton, Hastings, Worthing, and Bognor. At the beginning of the 19th century agricultural labourers' conditions took a turn for the worse with an increasing amount of them becoming unemployed, those in work faced their wages being forced down. Conditions became so bad that it was even reported to the House of Lords in 1830 that four harvest labourers (seasonal workers) had been found dead of starvation. The deteriorating conditions of work for the agricultural labourer eventually triggered riots, first in neighbouring Kent, and then in Sussex, where they lasted for several weeks, although the unrest continued until 1832 and became known as the Swing Riots.
Railways spread across Sussex in the 19th century and county councils were created for Sussex's eastern and western divisions in 1889.
During World War I, on the eve of the Battle of the Somme on 30 June 1916, the Royal Sussex Regiment took part in the Battle of the Boar's Head at Richebourg-l'Avoué. The day subsequently became known as The Day Sussex Died. Over a period of less than five hours the 17 officers and 349 men were killed, including 12 sets of brothers, including three from one family. A further 1,000 men were wounded or taken prisoner.
With the declaration of the World War II, Sussex found itself part of the country's frontline with its airfields playing a key role in the Battle of Britain and with its towns being some of the most frequently bombed. As the Sussex regiments served overseas, the defence of the county was undertaken by units of the Home Guard with help from the First Canadian Army. During the lead up to the D-Day landings, the people of Sussex were witness to the buildup of military personnel and materials, including the assembly of landing crafts and construction of Mulberry harbours off the county's coast.
In the post-war era, the New Towns Act 1946 designated Crawley as the site of a new town. As part of the Local Government Act 1972, the eastern and western divisions of Sussex were made into the ceremonial counties of East and West Sussex in 1974. Boundaries were changed and a large part of the rape of Lewes was transferred from the eastern division into West Sussex, along with Gatwick Airport, which was historically part of the county of Surrey.
Sussex has a centuries-old reputation for being separate and culturally distinct from the rest of England. 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. Sussex is known for its strong tradition of bonfire celebrations and its proud musical heritage. The county is home to England's largest arts festival, the Brighton Festival and Brighton Pride, one of the UK's largest and oldest gay pride parades. Chichester is home to the Chichester Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery.
Typically conservative and moderate, the architecture of Sussex also 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.
- See also: Sussex dialect
Historically, Sussex has had its own dialect with regional differences reflecting its cultural history. It has been divided into variants for the three western rapes of West Sussex, the two eastern rapes of Lewes and Pevensey and an area approximate to the easternmost rape of Hastings. The Sussex dialect is also 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.
Writers born in Sussex include the Renaissance poet Thomas May and playwights Thomas Otway, and John Fletcher. One of the most prolific playwrights of his day, Fletcher is thought to have collaborated with Shakespeare. Notable Sussex poets include William Hayley, William Collins, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt and Richard Realf, while poet and writer Hilaire Belloc spent most of his life in Sussex.
Sheila Kaye-Smith is known for her many novels in the British regional literature genre, which are set in the borderlands of Sussex and Kent. Other writers from Sussex include Maureen Duffy and Hammond Innes.
In addition there are writers, who while they were not born in Sussex had a strong connection. This includes William Blake and Alfred Tennyson. 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. Irishman W.B. Yeats spent three winters living with American poet Ezra Pound at Colemans Hatch in the Ashdown Forest and towards the end of his life spent much time at Steyning and Withyham; John Galsworthy spent much of his life in Bury in the Sussex Downs; and Harold Pinter lived in Worthing in the 1960s.
H.G. Wells was brought up at Uppark, South Harting, near Petersfield, where his mother was housekeeper. He also went to school and taught in Midhurst. While the novelist John Cowper Powys is particularly associated with Dorset and Wales, he lived in Sussex from the mid-1890s until 1910. Another modernist Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) and her husband Leonard, had a country retreat at Monk's House in Rodmell near in Lewes from 1919. They received there many important visitors connected to the Bloomsbury Group, including T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry and Lytton Strachey. Scottish writer Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) spent the last thirty years of his life in Crowborough. In 1897 Henry James (1843-1916) leased Lamb House in Rye, and purchasing it two years later, spent most of his last 18 years there, where he wrote several major works. Lamb House was subsequently home to both E.F. Benson and Rumer Godden.
- See also: Music of Sussex
Sussex's rich musical heritage encompasses folk, classical and popular genres amongst others. Composed by William Ward-Higgs, Sussex by the Sea is the county's unofficial anthem. Passed on through oral tradition, many of Sussex's traditional songs may not have changed significantly for centuries, with their origins perhaps dating as far back as the time of the South Saxons. William Henry Hudson compared the singing of the Sussexians with that of the Basques and the Tehuelche people of Patagonia, both peoples with ancient cultures. The songs sung by the Copper Family, Henry Burstow, Samuel Willett, Peter and Harriett Verrall, David Penfold and others were collected by John Broadwood and his niece Lucy Broadwood, Kate Lee and composers Ralph Vaughan Williams and George Butterworth. Sussex also 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 sisters Dolly and Shirley Collins.
Sussex has also 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. While Glyndebourne is one of the world's best known opera houses, the county is home to professional orchestras the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Worthing Symphony Orchestra.
In popular music, Sussex has produced artists including Leo Sayer, The Cure, The Levellers, Brett Anderson, Keane, The Kooks, The Feeling, Rizzle Kicks, Conor Maynard, Tom Odell, Royal Blood and Rag'n'Bone Man. In the 1970s, Sussex was home to Phun City, the UK's first large-scale free music festival and hosted the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest which propelled ABBA to worldwide fame. Major festivals include The Great Escape Festival and Glyndebourne Festival Opera.
Sussex is connected with several saints, including St Lewina; St Wilfrid, sometimes known as the 'Apostle of Sussex'; St Cuthman of Steyning; St Richard of Chichester, Sussex's patron saint; St Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel; and James Hannington. In folklore, Mayfield and Devil's Dyke are linked with St Dunstan while West Tarring has links with St Thomas a Becket. The historic county has been a single diocese after St Wilfrid converted the kingdom of Sussex in the seventh century. The seat of the Sussex bishopric was originally located at Selsey Abbey before the Normans moved it to Chichester Cathedral in 1075. Since 1965 Arundel Cathedral has been the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Arundel and Brighton, which covers Sussex and Surrey.
Historically, the west of the county has had a tendency towards Catholicism while the east of the county has had a tendency towards non-conformism. The county has been home to several pilgrimage sites, including the shrine (at Chichester Cathedral) to St Richard of Chichester which was destroyed during the Reformation, and the more recent Catholic shrine at West Grinstead. During the Marian persecutions, several Sussex men were martyred for their Protestant faith, including 17 men at Lewes. The Society of Dependents (nicknamed the Cokelers) were a non-conformist sect formed in Loxwood. The Quaker and founding father of Pennsylvania, William Penn worshipped near Thakeham; his UK home from 1677 to 1702 was at nearby Warminghurst. The UK's only Carthusian monastery is situated at St. Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster near Cowfold. The UK headquarters of the Church of Scientology is situated at Saint Hill Manor, near East Grinstead.
Pell's equation and the Pell number are both named after 17th century mathematician John Pell. Pell is sometimes credited with inventing the division sign, which has also been attributed to Swiss mathematician Johann Heinrich Rahn, one of his students. In the 19th century, geologist and palaeontologist Gideon Mantell began the scientific study of dinosaurs. In 1822 he was responsible for the discovery and eventual identification of the first fossil teeth, and later much of the skeleton of Iguanodon. Braxton Hicks contractions are named after John Braxton Hicks, the Sussex doctor who in 1872 first described the uterine contractions not resulting in childbirth.
In the 20th century, Frederick Soddy won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on radioactive substances, and his investigations into the origin and nature of isotopes. Frederick Gowland Hopkins shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1929 with Christiaan Eijkman, for discovering the growth-stimulating vitamins. Martin Ryle shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974 with Cornishman Antony Hewish, the first Nobel prize awarded in recognition of astronomical research. While working at the University of Sussex, Harold Kroto won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Richard Smalley and Robert Curl from Rice University in the USA for the discovery of fullerenes. David Mumford is a mathematician known for distinguished work in algebraic geometry and then for research into vision and pattern theory. He won the International Mathematical Union's Fields Medal in 1974 and in 2010 was awarded the United States National Medal of Science.
In the social sciences, Sussex was home to economist John Maynard Keynes from 1925 to 1946. The founding father of Keynesian economics, he is widely considered to be one of the founders of modern macroeconomics and the most influential economist of the 20th century. David Pilbeam won the 1986 International Prize from the Fyssen Foundation.
In the early 20th century, Sussex was at the centre of one of what has been described as 'British archaeology's greatest hoax'. Bone fragments said to have been collected in 1912 were presented as the fossilised remains of a previously unknown early human, referred to as Piltdown Man. In 1953 the bone fragments were exposed as a forgery, consisting of the lower jawbone of an orangutan deliberately combined with the skull of a fully developed modern human. From 1967 to 1979, Sussex was home to the Isaac Newton Telescope at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in Herstmonceux Castle.
Sussex has a centuries-long tradition of sport. Sussex has played a key role in the early development of both cricket and stoolball. Cricket is recognised as having been formed in the Weald and Sussex CCC is England's oldest county cricket club. Slindon Cricket Club dominated the sport for a while in the 18th century. The cricket ground at Arundel Castle traditionally plays host to a Duchess of Norfolk's XI which plays the national test sides touring England. The sport of stoolball is also associated with Sussex, which has a claim to be where the sport originated and certainly where its revival took place in the early 20th century. Sussex is represented in the Football League by Brighton & Hove Albion and Crawley Town. Brighton has been a League member since 1920, whereas Crawley was promoted to the League in 2011. Sussex has had its own football association, since 1882 and its own football league, which has since expanded into Surrey, since 1920. In horse racing, Sussex is home to Goodwood, Fontwell Park, Brighton and Plumpton. The All England Jumping Course show jumping facility at Hickstead is situated 8 miles (13 km) north of Brighton and Hove.
In Arlington, near Eastbourne, the local stadium is home to the Eastbourne Eagles speedway team, who race in the UK's top flight of speedway, the Elite League. Stock Car racing is also held at the same venue.
The historic county is known for its "seven good things of Sussex". These seven things are Pulborough eel, Selsey cockle, Chichester lobster, Rye herring, Arundel mullet, Amberley trout and Bourne wheatear. Sussex is also known for Ashdown Partridge Pudding, Chiddingly Hot pot, Sussex Bacon Pudding, Sussex Hogs' Pudding, Huffed Chicken, Sussex Churdles, Sussex Shepherds Pie, Sussex Pond Pudding, Sussex Blanket Pudding, Sussex Well Pudding, and Chichester Pudding. Sussex is also known for its cakes and biscuits known as Sussex Plum Heavies and Sussex Lardy Johns, while banoffee pie was first created in 1972 in Jevington.
The county has vineyards and the 18th century beer brewers, Harveys of Lewes as well as many more recently established breweries. 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. Many vineyards make wines using traditional Champagne varieties and methods, and there are similarities between the topography and chalk and clay soils of Sussex downland and that of the Champagne region which lies on a latitude 100 miles (161 km) to the south.
Some of the earliest known art in Sussex is the carvings in the galleries of the Neolithic flint mines at Cissbury on the South Downs near Worthing. From the Roman period, the palace at Fishbourne has the largest in situ collection of mosaics in the UK, while the villa at Bignor contains some of the best preserved Roman mosaics in England.
Dating from around the 12th century, the 'Lewes Group' of wall paintings can be found in several churches across the centre of Sussex, some of which are celebrated for their age, extent and quality. Of uncertain origin, the Long Man of Wilmington is Europe’s largest representation of the human form.
In the late 18th century three men commissioned important works of the county which ensured that its landscapes and daily life were captured onto canvas. William Burrell of Knepp Castle commissioned Swiss-born watercolourist Samuel Hieronymus Grimm to tour Sussex, producing 900 watercolours of the county's buildings. George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont of Petworth House was a patron of painters such as JMW Turner and John Constable. John 'Mad Jack' Fuller also commissioned Turner to make a series of paintings which resulted in thirteen finished watercolours of Fuller's house at Brightling and the area around it.
In the 19th century landscape watercolourist Copley Fielding lived in Sussex and illustrator Aubrey Beardsley and painter and sculptor Eric Gill were born in Brighton. Gill went on to found an art colony in Ditchling known as The Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, which survived until 1989. The 1920s and 1930s saw the creation of some of the best-known works by Edward Burra who was known for his work of Sussex, Paris and Harlem and Eric Ravilious who is known for his paintings of the South Downs.
In the early 20th century Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, both members of the Bloomsbury Group, lived and worked at Charleston Farmhouse near Firle. Sussex also became a major centre for surrealism in the early 20th century. At West Dean, Edward James was patron to artists including Salvador Dalí and René Magritte while at Farley Farm House near Chiddingly the home of Roland Penrose and Lee Miller was frequented by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Henry Moore, Eileen Agar, Jean Dubuffet, Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst. Both collections form one of the most important bodies of Surrealist art in Europe.
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