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Facts

EAST SUSSEX

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FUN FACTS

East Sussex is the 33rd largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
East Sussex has the 29th highest population in England.
East Sussex is in 21st place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. England has 39 historic counties. These were the ones in use in 1899. For our journey we are using the ones in use now. However for our royal connection we are combining the two Sussex counties, west and east, into the old historic county of Sussex but only for the Royal Connection. In other words whether you are on this page or the other Sussex one, for this section you will read the same story.

    This is because our royal connection is with the fact that Sussex has a dukedom. There is a Duke of Sussex. You probably know that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, were created Duke and Duchess of Sussex on 19 May 2018, the date of their wedding. Their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, who was born on 6 May 2019, is the heir to the dukedom.

    There was only one other Duke of Sussex and that was Prince Augustus Frederick, the sixth son of King George III. He was made Duke of Sussex on 24 November 1801. The title became extinct on his death in 1843. There are only 5 other counties who have a royal duke; Cornwall, Cambridge, York, Gloucestershire and Kent.

  3. East Sussex Eats
  4. Sussex Pond Pudding was first recorded in a book of 1672 so it's been around a long time. As with many dishes from olden days there are considerable differences and arguments about the way to make the pudding. It is generally agreed that this pudding is made of suet pastry filled with butter and sugar and then boiled for several hours. Modern versions of the pudding have a whole lemon enclosed in the pastry, which sounds a bit interesting to me.

    During the cooking process the filling ingredients create a thick sauce which runs out when the pudding is cut. This then forms a pool around the plate, creating a "pond" around the edges of the pudding, hence pond pudding. If the plate you are serving on doesn't have a nice lip around the edge you would probably create Sussex overflow pudding.

    There are some variants which include apples as part of the filling and some which include currants. Presumably you could include both. Have fun.

  5. East Sussex VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in East Sussex in the last 100 years:-
    Holly Willoughby (TV Presenter), Teresa May (Politician), Alex Costello (Singer), Samantha Womack (Actor), Katie Price (Model/TV Personality), Kim Sears (Artist/Illustrator) and Suggs (Singer/Songwriter).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. The Cinque (French meaning 5 and pronounced sank) Ports were a group of 5 (you don't say) ports on the Kent and Sussex coasts which were granted a Royal Charter in 1155. They had to provide 57 ships for 15 days each year for use by the monarch. The original ports were Dover, Sandwich, Hythe and New Romney, all in Kent, and Hastings in Sussex. In return for providing the ships the towns and citizens were given certain privileges.

    After a severe storm in 1287 the port of New Romney was seriously damaged. The harbour silted up and the nearby River Rother also changed course and moved closer to the Sussex port of Rye. As a result, Rye took the place of New Romney and became one of the Cinque Ports.

    The importance of the ports lessened over the centuries and their significance now is purely ceremonial. There has been a Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports since 1267. Since 1941 there have only been four holders of the post. Sir Winston Churchill from 1941 till his death in 1965; Sir Robert Menzies, one time Prime Minister of Australia was warden until his death in1978 and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother until her death in 2002. The present holder is Admiral of the Fleet, Michael Boyce, Baron Boyce.

    The weird bit is that although Rye took over from New Romney in 1287, Rye is no longer on the coast any more, being some 2 miles inland. Nature makes changes and man can do nothing. A perfect example of deposition which is something we will look at when we tackle geography topics, starting in September 2022.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. Probably the most famous battle fought on English soil was the Battle of Hastings in 1066. It was also the last time a foreign army landed in England and conquered. However, as you may know, it wasn't fought at Hastings but down the road, probably on Senlac Hill. Oh, and by the way, the Battle of Waterloo wasn't fought at a London train station and the Battle of Trafalgar wasn't fought in London either.

    You can read a lot more about the battle of Hastings, why it was fought where it was and how the two armies got to where they were, in the Times Past section of our website, here. The picture below shows the likely battle site as it is now so you can try to imagine how the armies were spaced out. The inset in the bottom corner of our picture gives an idea of how they all lined up.

    I don't know about you but I would find it quite strange to go back and stand on the very ground where the battle happened. As I intend to do this, I'll let you know more round about January 2023. Keep your eye on this space but look out for falling arrows.



  11. Richard Remembers
  12. East Sussex stretches from the above-mentioned non-port of Rye to just west of Brighton, one of England's best known resorts. To be honest I was not impressed by the beaches here but there are some amazing views, though not in my top ten. Just west of Rye is Winchelsea, which is on the coast, was the place for my second seaside holiday in 1955 and has a very pebbly beach. Further along you come to Hastings and the thing I remember here was a lot of tall, wooden buildings which, I was told, were where the fishermen dried their nets. Who was I to argue and are they still there?

    Bexhill comes next, unmemorable (maybe) and then Pevensey Bay where William, the soon-to-be Conqueror, landed in 1066. It is said that on landing, William slipped and his soldiers thought that was a bad omen. But William stood up with a handful of sand, spat the rest out of his mouth, and said "Look I have grasped the soil of England already", which made everyone feel better, except William who had the taste of seaweed in his mouth for a few hours.

    Next comes Eastbourne which I remember very well. One because it is a pleasant town with a bandstand and a Martello Tower but two because of an incident that happened at the end of our first trip. We decided, as it was June, that rather than stay in a holiday house we would take our tent. We did, set it up and I crawled around the base of said quite large tent hammering in the pegs holding the ropes. I hammered in the last one and went to stand up but couldn't. My back had totally locked. I was stuck bent double. To cut a long story short, and put my out of my pain as soon as possible, we abandoned the tent idea, stayed with friends overnight where I still actually slept on the floor and next morning I could almost stand though walking was really painful. Not wishing to ruin everyone's time I said I was fine although a quick glance would show I couldn't move at more than a snail's pace. We went down the promenade and there were some amusements and my then 8-year-old son asked to go on the go-karts. He couldn't without an adult and his mother wasn't willing. I never like to disappoint children, especially my own, so I said I'd go with him. All adults present, we were with friends remember, tutted, raised their eyebrows to the heavens and said I was an idiot. As this was not news to me, I lowered myself with some difficulty into the go-kart, Dave got in alongside me, and off we went for twenty laps. The surface was the rough side of smooth and each bump sent a massive pain up my back. At the end, we stopped and I climbed out and was immediately able to walk normally again. What had locked, was now unlocked and the "idiot" didn't look quite so stupid and my son had his fun. The back has locked a few times since, more often as I get older, I was 37 when this first one happened, but I've never been near Eastbourne so have had to use other non-medically approved methods.

    Leaving Eastbourne, upright and pain-free, we continue west to Beachy Head and just on from there the Seven Sisters, 7 (really?) white chalk cliffs towering up to 500 feet in places. Theses, and Beachy Head, are the amazing views I mentioned at the start of this piece. I hate heights but I am told the view of Beachy Head is fantastic.



    Then, just before we leave East Sussex for West, we arrive at Brighton. In 1750 a Doctor Russell said bathing in the sea at Brighton, or Brighthelmstone as it then was, cured all manner of illnesses. His idea proved very popular and, in 1783, the then Prince of Wales, later George IV, who was suffering from a glandular swelling in the neck, came to Brighton. He loved it so much that he decided to live there. He first rented a small farmhouse but, royalty being royalty, he then had the Royal Pavilion built for him. That Oriental-style building is still there and can be visited today.

    But there is one very important question that I need someone to answer. I am utterly convinced that somewhere along the Sussex coast, it may be east, it maybe be west, there is a building along the seafront that looks like a cruise liner. I cannot remember where it is and, in an exception to my normal rules, I even tried googling it. Nothing. I think it might be Worthing or it could be Bexhill. Help.

    Oh, and while I think of it, and I'm now pretty sure this building is in Bexhill, Bexhill is known as the home of British Motor Racing as, in 1902, the 8th Earl De La Warr had encouraged the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland to organise the Great Whitsuntide Motor Races. The earl had created a Bicycle Boulevard on the seafront in 1896 and he turned this into a one-kilometre motor racing course and, as it was his own private land, it was exempt from the national speed limit of 12 miles per hour. The 1902 races were won by French driver Leon Serpollet in his steam car Easter Egg, which reached a speed of 54 miles an hour.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. As far as the UK goes, the oystercatcher has been badly named because they seldom eat oysters. They will mainly eat cockles and mussels and, if they are inland, they are happy just to eat worms. They can be found on almost all of England's coasts and some now breed inland. In winter birds from Norway join our English birds. There are about 110,00 breeding pairs and some 340,000 birds wintering here.

    Oystercatchers are hard to miss. They are large black and white birds with a long orange-red powerful beak and pinky red legs. They use the beak to either prise open a mussel or smash through the shell of a cockle. In flight, they have an obvious white wing-stripe, a black tail and a white rump that extends as a 'V' between the wings. You often hear them before you see them, thanks to their loud peeping call.

    Oystercatchers are between 40 and 45 cms in length, have a wingspan of between 80 to 86 cms and weigh anywhere between 430 and 650 grams.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into East Sussex check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020