Rother District

Rother is a local government district in East Sussex, England. The district is named after the River Rother which flows within its boundaries.

Rother District
Rother shown within East Sussex
Rother shown within East Sussex
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionSouth East England
Non-metropolitan countyEast Sussex
StatusNon-metropolitan district
Admin HQBexhill-on-Sea
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyRother District Council
 • LeadershipLeader and Cabinet (Rother Alliance)
 • MPsHuw Merriman
Amber Rudd
 • Total197.6 sq mi (511.8 km2)
Area rank90th (of 317)
 (mid-2018 est.)
 • Total95,656
 • Rank254th (of 317)
 • Density480/sq mi (190/km2)
 • Ethnicity
98.1% White
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code21UG (ONS)
E07000064 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTQ7388508555


The District of Rother was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, by the merger of the Municipal Borough of Bexhill, the Municipal Borough of Rye and Battle Rural District. It is one of three districts within the county without borough status and is the easternmost one: the other two being Lewes to the west, and Wealden in the centre. The borough of Hastings lies surrounded by Rother.


Rother District Council is elected every four years, with currently 38 councillors being elected at each election. From 1983 until 2019, the Conservatives have had a majority on the council, apart from between 1991 and the 1999 election when no party had a majority. Since 2019, the 'Rother Alliance' has controlled the council, formed of a mixture of Independent, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green Party councillors.[1] As of the last election in 2019 the council was composed of the following councillors:-[2]

Party Councillors
Conservative Party 14
Independent 13
Liberal Democrats 7
Labour Party 3
Green Party 1
Rother District Council 2019
Rother District Council after the 2019 election.


Rother District Council offices are based in Bexhill-on-Sea. Bexhill has nine wards: the remaining councillors represent the other 11 wards.

Ward Population (2007) Councillors Ratio
Battle Town 4919 2 2460
Brede Valley 4698 2 2349
Central (Bexhill) 5106 2 2553
Collington (Bexhill) 4292 2 2146
Crowhurst 2546 1 2546
Darwell 4901 2 2451
Eastern Rother [includes Winchelsea and Camber] 4817 2 2409
Ewhurst and Sedlescombe 2382 1 2382
Kewhurst (Bexhill) 4500 2 2250
Marsham 3736 2 1868
Old Town (Bexhill) 3780 2 1890
Rother Levels [includes Northiam and Peasmarsh] 4627 2 2314
Rye 4108 2 2054
Sackville (Bexhill) 4577 2 2289
St Marks (Bexhill) 4590 2 2295
St Michaels (Bexhill) 4629 2 2315
St Stephens (Bexhill) 4366 2 2183
Salehurst 4430 2 2215
Sidley (Bexhill) 5333 2 2667
Ticehurst and Etchingham 4168 2 2084
Total Rother 86505 38 2276


The lowest level of local government is the civil parish: there are 29 within the Rother District[3] which are:

Parish Type Area (sq mi) Population (2007) Pop Density /sq mi
Ashburnham and Penhurst Parish Council 22.4 370 43
Battle Town Council 31.8 6171 503
Beckley Parish Council 22.8 1012 115
Bexhill-on-Sea None 32.3 41173 3300
Bodiam Parish Council 6.5 391 156
Brede Parish Council 17.6 1715 252
Brightling Parish Council 19.8 366 48
Burwash Parish Council 30.1 2511 216
Camber Parish Council 14.1 1229 227
Catsfield Parish Council 12.2 805 171
Crowhurst Parish Council 10.1 859 219
Dallington Parish Council 7.9 310 102
Etchingham Parish Council 13.4 747 145
Ewhurst Parish Council 23.6 1052 115
Fairlight Parish Council 6.1 1682 711
Guestling Parish Council 15.9 1273 207
Hurst Green Parish Council 10.4 1451 362
Icklesham Parish Council 23.5 2804 309
Iden Parish Council 12.0 457 98
Mountfield Parish Council 15.3 573 97
Northiam Parish Council 14.5 2094 374
Peasmarsh Parish Council 15.8 1167 191
Pett Parish Council 6.5 781 311
Playden & East Guldeford See note 16.6 327 51
Rye Town Council 4.2 4108 2564
Rye Foreign Parish Council 3.9 354 238
Salehurst and Robertsbridge Parish Council 18.2 2588 369
Sedlescombe Parish Council 12.6 1330 273
Ticehurst Parish Council 32.5 3421 272
Udimore Parish Council 11.7 365 81
Westfield Parish Council 19.1 2618 355
Whatlington Parish Council 6.0 401 172
Total Rother 509.4 86505 440

Playden and East Guldeford are merged in the statistical analysis although they are both civil parishes in their own right. Playden has a Parish Council whilst East Guldeford holds a Parish Meeting.


Rother District covers two areas of relief: to the south, a section of the High Weald; and to the north the lower land, named the Rother Levels, across which flow the River Rother, which rises on the Weald and flows easterly towards Rye Bay, and its tributaries. For much of the course of the main river it constitutes the boundary between East Sussex and Kent, and is given the alternative title of the ’’Kent Ditch’’. Tributaries of the river include the Rivers Dudwell, Tillingham and Brede.

The district reaches the coast in the vicinity of Bexhill, and on the shores of Rye Bay.


Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year round. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb" (Marine West Coast Climate/Oceanic climate).[4]


Rother has one of the oldest populations (with a median age of 52 years)[6] and the lowest per capita income[7] in the UK.


There are several main roads crossing the district. The major trunk road is the A21, London to Hastings road; it is joined by the A28 road from Ashford road near Hastings; which in turn is crossed by the A268 Hawkhurst to Rye road. There is also the A259 coastal route

The Hastings Line, East Coastway Line and the Marshlink Line are the three railway lines in the District; The Kent and East Sussex Railway tourist line terminates at Bodiam.

Long-distance footpaths include the Sussex Border Path; and the Saxon Shore Way, which links with the 1066 Country Walk.


Major landmarks include Bodiam and Camber Castles; and Battle Abbey.


  1. ^ "Rother District Council's new leader confirmed as parties form alliance". Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  2. ^ "Local election results 2015 in full". The Guardian. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  3. ^ Parish and Town Councils: map
  4. ^ Climate Summary for Rother, UK
  5. ^ "". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved on July 9, 2013.
  6. ^ ONS - Median age for local authorities, mid 2015
  7. ^ ONS and data tables

Coordinates: 50°50′59.24″N 0°28′13.81″E / 50.8497889°N 0.4705028°E

1999 Rother District Council election

The 1999 Rother District Council election took place on 6 May 1999 to elect members of Rother District Council in East Sussex, England. The whole council was up for election and the Conservative party gained overall control of the council from no overall control.

2003 Rother District Council election

The 2003 Rother District Council election took place on 1 May 2003 to elect members of Rother District Council in East Sussex, England. The whole council was up for election after boundary changes reduced the number of seats by 7. The Conservative party stayed in overall control of the council.

2007 Rother District Council election

The 2007 Rother District Council election took place on 3 May 2007 to elect members of Rother District Council in East Sussex, England. The whole council was up for election and the Conservative party stayed in overall control of the council.

2011 Rother District Council election

The 2011 Rother District Council election took place on 5 May 2011 to elect members of Rother District Council in East Sussex, England. The whole council was up for election and the Conservative party stayed in overall control of the council.

2015 Rother District Council election

The 2015 Rother District Council election took place on 7 May 2015 to elect members of Rother District Council in East Sussex, England. The whole council was up for election and the Conservative party stayed in overall control of the council.

Ashburnham and Penhurst

Ashburnham and Penhurst are civil parishes in the Rother district of the local government county of East Sussex, England, within historic Sussex, situated to the west of Battle. The two parishes share a joint parish council which also covers the settlements of Brownbread Street, Ponts Green and Ashburnham Forge. Neither of the parishes have many dwellings, Ashburnham having a population of 303, whilst Penhurst has just 52 inhabitants.

Battle, East Sussex

Battle is a small town and civil parish in the local government district of Rother in East Sussex, England. It lies 50 miles (80 km) south-east of London, 30 miles (50 km) east of Brighton and 20 miles (30 km) east of Lewes. Hastings is to the south-east and Bexhill-on-Sea to the south. Battle is in the designated High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is a tourist destination and commuter town for white collar workers in the City of London. The parish population was 6,048 according to the 2001 census, increasing to 6,673 with the 2011 Census.Battle is the site of the Battle of Hastings, where William, Duke of Normandy, defeated King Harold II to become William I in 1066.


Bexhill-on-Sea (often simply Bexhill) is a seaside town situated in the county of East Sussex in South East England. An ancient town and part of the local-government district of Rother, Bexhill is home to a number of archaeological sites, a Manor House in the Old Town, an abundance of Edwardian and Victorian architecture, and the famous De La Warr Pavilion: today a centre for contemporary art – which has featured the work of Andy Warhol, Cerith Wyn Evans and Richard Wilson amongst others – and an auditorium, where Bob Marley had his first UK appearance and has since seen performances by Elvis Costello, Goldfrapp, Ray Davies, Years & Years, Patti Smith and Laurie Anderson.


Bodiam () is a small village and civil parish in the Rother District district, in East Sussex, England, in the valley of the River Rother near to the villages of Sandhurst and Ewhurst Green. There is a 12th-century church, which contains a brass of a knight with the arms of the de Bodeham family, one of the first lords of the manor. Originally it was a port and crossing point from Battle to North Kent. During the medieval period a great moated castle Bodiam Castle, was built which is now a popular visitor attraction. There is a small range of houses, a pub (The Castle), and a restaurant (The Curlew). Although famous for its castle, Bodiam was also in a main hop-growing area in the last century and was famous for growing hops for Guinness. Reginald B. Levett of Court Lodge Farm would sell part of his land to Guinness to grow hops. A railway was built to provide transport for the hoppers, the Kent and East Sussex Railway (K&ESR), which is now another tourist attraction. The MP of the local UK Parliament constituency is (as of February 2019) is Huw Merrriman.


Brightling is a village and civil parish in the Rother district of East Sussex, England. It is located on the Weald eight miles (13 km) north-west of Battle and four miles (6 km) west of Robertsbridge.

The village lies in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and due to its vantage point commands views in all directions.

The village pub used to be The Green Man on the corner opposite the church, dedicated to St. Thomas Becket, but it is said that as part of the arrangements to build 'The Pyramid' Jack Fuller caused the pub to be relocated about three miles (5 km) towards Robertsbridge at Oxley's Green.

The parish includes outlying hamlets Cackle Street, Hollingrove, Oxley's Green and Twelve Oaks. Brightling, Hollingrove and Cackle Street all had their own shop with a post office in Brightling itself. These have all closed with the passing of time.

Also in the parish is Brightling Down (197 m), the local vantage point topped by 'The Needle' and used as a beacon point hence Brightling Beacon.

The most obvious 'industry' in the area is agriculture yet well hidden is the Gypsum mine with conveyor to the Mountfield plaster board processing plant.

There is an annual horse trials run at Brightling Park (formerly Rose Hill).


Burwash, archaically known as Burghersh, is a rural village and civil parish in the Rother district of Sussex, England. Situated 15 miles (24 km) inland from the port of Hastings, it is located five miles (8 km) south-west of Hurst Green, on the A265 road, and on the River Dudwell, a tributary of the River Rother. In an area steeped in history, some nine miles (14 km) to the south-east lies Battle Abbey and eight miles (13 km) to the east is Bodiam Castle.

Its main claim to fame is that for half of his life Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) lived in the village at Bateman's. Kipling used the house's setting and the wider local area as the setting for many of his stories in Puck of Pook's Hill (1906) and the sequel Rewards and Fairies (1910), and there is a Kipling room at "The Bear" public house, one of two pubs located along Burwash High Street. Rudyard's son John Kipling, died during the First World War and is named on the village memorial at the end of Bell Alley Lane. He was named after Rudyard's father, the artist John Lockwood Kipling, (1837–1911), who provided illustrations for the classic story collection The Jungle Book. A complete collection of Kipling's works, including Just So Stories, Rewards and Fairies, The Man Who Would Be King and Kim, was published as the "Burwash Edition" (1941).

Fairlight, East Sussex

Fairlight is a village in East Sussex, England within Rother district, three miles (5 km) to the east of Hastings. Fairlight is also the name of the civil parish forming part of the Rother district which includes the villages of Fairlight and Fairlight Cove.

The village of Fairlight lies on a minor road between Ore, Pett and Winchelsea. St Andrew's Church (built 1845) has a tall tower and beacon turret, and can be seen for some distance around. The church is one of three in the United Benefice of Fairlight, Guestling and Pett. Richard D'Oyly Carte, founder of the Savoy Theatre, Savoy Hotel, and D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which produced the Gilbert and Sullivan light operas, is buried in the churchyard. So also are Thomas Attwood Walmisley, and Sir James Roberts of Saltaire and his wife.Fairlight Cove, the neighbouring settlement and part of the parish, suffered from coastal erosion and landslip at Rockmead Road and Sea Road. A number of houses there are very close to the sea edge, and properties on those roads suffered through demolition and abandonment of a number of properties. The Fairlight Preservation Trust - a registered charity was set up with a view to combating the loss by erosion and more generally to enhance and protect the village. Sea defences were built in the 90s at Sea Road and at Rockmead Road in 2007. The 2007 works are intended to be effective for 50 years from 2007, and are regularly monitored by Rother District Council and by the Trust.

Although the nearest railway station is Three Oaks, Hastings offers a much better service and can be reached by bus from Fairlight. Rye station is also accessible by bus from Fairlight.


Guestling is a village and civil parish in the Rother district of East Sussex, England. The village is located three miles (5 km) north-east of Hastings on the A259 road to Rye. Its parish church is dedicated to St Laurence, and is part of the United Benefice of Fairlight, Guestling and Pett. The school in the village is the Guestling-Bradshaw CE Primary School The village is a scattered one, consisting of two parts — Guestling Green and Guestling Thorn; the hamlet of Three Oaks lies within the parish.

In June 2017, Brian Bellhouse was trampled to death by a herd of cows in a field at Church Lane, Guestling.

Mountfield, East Sussex

Mountfield is a village and civil parish in the Rother district of East Sussex, England, and three miles (5 km) north-west of Battle. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book.The parish church is dedicated to All Saints; Mountfield and Whatlington Church of England Primary School is at the road junction in the nearby hamlet of Johns Cross by the A21 and the A2100 roads further north.


PETT is also an abbreviation for the Kamchatka Time Zone in Russia.Pett is a village and civil parish in the Rother district of East Sussex, England. The village is located 5 miles (8.0 km) north-east of Hastings on the edge of Pett Level, the one-time marshes stretching along the coast of Rye Bay.

The road through the village leads down to the second village in the parish: Pett Level, the coastal part of which is known as Cliff End. Here there is a beach and, as the name suggests, the Weald sandstone cliffs reach their easternmost point. Pett Level marks the end of both the Royal Military Canal and the western end of the 1940s sea defence wall. The Saxon Shore Way passes through Pett Level.

Pett parish church is dedicated to St Mary and St Peter. Pett also has a Methodist chapel, originally Mount Calvary Bible Christian Chapel, and a small Church of England church at Cliff End.


Robertsbridge is a village in the civil parish of Salehurst and Robertsbridge, and the Rother district of East Sussex, England. It is approximately 10 miles (16 km) north of Hastings and 13 miles (21 km) south-east of Royal Tunbridge Wells. The River Rother passes through the village.

Rother District Council elections

Rother District Council in East Sussex, England is elected every four years. Since the last boundary changes in 2003, 38 councillors have been elected from 20 wards.


Udimore is a village and civil parish in the Rother district of East Sussex, England. It is located five miles (8 km) west of Rye on the B2089 road to Brede.

The ecclesiastical parish is teamed with Brede; the two parish churches are St George, Brede and St Mary Udimore.

Westfield F.C. (Sussex)

Westfield Football Club are a football club based in Westfield, near Hastings, England. They were established before World War I. They joined the Sussex County Football League Division Three in 1997. Despite finishing outside the Sussex County Football League Division Two relegation places Westfield were relegated due to failing the ground grading regulations. They are currently members of the Mid-Sussex League Premier Division and play at the Parish Field.

Climate data for Rother, UK
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 43
Average precipitation days 21 19 22 20 16 19 16 16 19 22 21 21 232
Source: Weatherbase [5]
East Sussex
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