6 Sussex specific things All posts

Every county has its curiosities and interesting stories and Sussex is no different. Here we list some of the more unusual facts, pastimes and things specific to Sussex.

1). Stoolball - over 500 years old and the forerunner of both cricket and baseball, the game is played with similar equipment. One team fields while the other bats. There are 8 balls to an over, the bats are shaped like table tennis bats and made of willow. There are leagues of teams playing across East and West Sussex.

2). Sussex Churdle – Sussex’s answer to the Cornish Pasty is a tasty treat of liver and bacon stuffed in a mitre-shaped pastry, tapered at both ends and with a top ‘chimney’ stuffed with breadcrumbs and cheese. It is believed to have originated in Chichester and was most popular 400 years ago. Modern variations exist with lamb, fish and vegetarian options.

Battle Bonfire3). Bonfire is a serious business in Sussex and Lewes is the Granddaddy of them all. Run by bonfire societies steeped in pageant and tradition, each year's enemy of the bonfire is a closely guarded secret. There are colourful costumes, lighted torches and burning effigies in processions through the streets of towns and villages from September to the end of November. Gala bonfire and firework displays see huge crowds packed into small spaces and firecrackers set off at random intervals for days. It's loud, boisterous and not for the faint-hearted.  

4). Spiked Rampion - The flower stolen by Rapunzel in the 1812 Brothers Grimm fairytale has suffered a rapid decline in numbers and only grows in East Sussex. It is now so rare and endangered it is protected by an army of volunteers known as flora guardians at top secret sites. Spiked rampions bloom for most of May and June and can be identified by their angular white flowers.   

5). Tapsel Gate - Made of wood and balanced on a solid central pivot, instead of being hinged on one side, a Tapsel Gate can rotate through 90° in either direction to two fixed points. It was invented by, and named after, a Sussex family of bell-founders, essentially to keep cattle out of churchyards. Only six examples survive, all within a 10-mile (16 km) radius of Lewes.

6). Battle of Hastings – 1066 is probably the most famous date in English history when William, Duke of Normandy landed in Sussex to claim his right to the Kingdom. William marched his army inland to do battle with King Harold, who was slain when an arrow pierced his eye. Battle Abbey marks the location of this most famous battlefield on Senlac Hill.

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