Celebrating Sussex Day!

A day to immerse yourself in the deep-rooted history and heritage of our wonderful county.

What is Sussex Day?

In 2007, Sussex Day was started as a day for residents to celebrate everything that is good about the county and its rich heritage.

Each year it is is honoured on 16 June, which coincides with St Richard's Day; a day to mark the life of St Richard, who was Bishop of Chichester from 1245 until his death in 1253.

Take the quiz

Our local history librarians have also put their heads together and come up with a new Sussex Day quiz to test your local knowledge.

Did you know?

To mark the occasion, let's step back in time and take a look at 16 interesting facts you may not know about the historic county of West Sussex... 

  1. West Sussex is the second most wooded county in England.
  2. The oldest human remains ever found were uncovered at Eartham Pit, Boxgrove, dating to 500,000 years ago.
  3. In medieval times the River Adur was much wider than it is today. It was over a mile across in places and Steyning and Bramber were busy ports.
  4. The term ‘mullet’ has been used for hundreds of years for people born within the Parish of Arundel. It came about due to the abundance of grey mullet fish that could be caught in the River Arun as it flowed through the town.
  5. Kingley Vale, near the village of West Stoke, has a grove of ancient yews believed to have started growing before the time of Christ over 2,000 years ago. The Vale was used as a base for Canadian soldiers in World War 2, and you can still see dug-outs and bullet holes in some of the trees.
  6. The Dolphin Hotel and pub in Littlehampton dates back to 1735 and purportedly has many ghosts, including a woman called Jane who was murdered by her uncle and now haunts the ladies loo! TV ghost hunters  visited the pub to investigate the ghostly happenings.
  7. The High Street in East Grinstead has the longest continuous run of 14th century buildings in England.
  8. The first English branch of the Women’s Institute was established in Singleton and East Dean in 1915.
  9. Rustington and Littlehampton were centres for the suffrage movement. Leading lights included Rustington resident Lady Maud Parry. Her husband Sir Hubert Parry wrote the music to William Blake’s Jerusalem which later became the Women Voter’s Hymn. Blake wrote Jerusalem when he lived in Felpham.
  10. In 1861 the entire spire of Chichester Cathedral collapsed into the nave below. The Cathedral owns an archive of photos from the disaster.
  11. In 1946 the village of Crawley was selected as a site for a New Town. The idea was to move people out of London and in 1947 the decision was taken to initially build homes and factories should be built on 6,000 acres in the area.
  12. The font at the hamlet’s church in North Mundham is one of the largest in Sussex and is made of Sussex Marble – which is a stone made of compacted fossil snails!
  13. In the Domesday Book, Steyning was recorded as having 123 dwellings and about 1,500 people – one of the largest towns in the south east at that time. It also had a mint and two churches.
  14. Reports suggest that St Thomas A’ Becket planted a fig tree in The Palace of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Tarring (now Tarring Parish Hall). This was in 1162 and it is reputed to still exist within the orchard there. The fig trees are known to have existed in 1745.
  15. In days gone by May 1 was Garland Day in Sussex. Children would sell bunches of wild flowers, chimney sweeps would wear them in their caps, and Morris Dancers were at their most active.
  16. The court of Queen Elizabeth I came to Cowdray for a week in 1591. Lord Montagu laid on a lavish feast for the Queen and her attendants. This included consuming 30 oxen and 140 geese.

Things to do

Looking for things to do in the county? Check out the Experience West Sussex website for ideas!

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