West Sussex is the western part of the historic county of Sussex, formerly a medieval kingdom. With an area of 1,991 square kilometres (769 sq mi) and a population of over 800,000, West Sussex is a ceremonial county, with a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff. Chichester in the south-west is the county town and the only city in West Sussex; the largest towns are Crawley, Worthing and Horsham.
West Sussex has a range of scenery, including wealden, downland and coastal. The highest point of the county is Blackdown, at 280 metres (919 ft). It has a number of stately homes including Goodwood, Petworth House and Uppark, and castles such as Arundel Castle and Bramber Castle. Over half the county is protected countryside, offering walking, cycling and other recreational opportunities.
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||South East England|
(Local Government Act 1972)
|High Sheriff||Mrs Davina Irwin-Clark  (2019–20)|
|Area||1,991 km2 (769 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||30th of 48|
|Population (mid-2017 est.)||852,400|
|• Ranked||27th of 48|
|Density||428/km2 (1,110/sq mi)|
West Sussex County Council
|Area||1,991 km2 (769 sq mi)|
|• Ranked||21st of 27|
|• Ranked||9th of 27|
|Density||428/km2 (1,110/sq mi)|
Unitary County council area
Districts of West Sussex
|Members of Parliament||8 members|
|Time zone||Greenwich Mean Time (UTC)|
|• Summer (DST)||British Summer Time (UTC+1)|
Although the name Sussex, derived from the Old English 'Sūþsēaxe' ('South Saxons'), dates from the Saxon period between AD 477 to 1066, the history of human habitation in Sussex goes back to the Old Stone Age. The oldest hominin remains known in Britain were found at Eartham Pit, Boxgrove. Sussex has been occupied since those times and has succumbed to various invasions and migrations throughout its long history. Prehistoric monuments include the Devil's Jumps, a group of Bronze Age burial mounds, and the Iron Age Cissbury Ring and Chanctonbury Ring hill forts on the South Downs.
The Roman period saw the building of Fishbourne Roman Palace and rural villas such as Bignor Roman Villa together with a network of roads including Stane Street, the Chichester to Silchester Way and the Sussex Greensand Way. The Romans used the Weald for iron production on an industrial scale.
The foundation of the Kingdom of Sussex is recorded by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year AD 477; it says that Ælle arrived at a place called Cymenshore in three ships with his three sons and killed or put to flight the local inhabitants. The foundation story is regarded as somewhat of a myth by most historians, although the archaeology suggests that Saxons did start to settle in the area in the late 5th century. The Kingdom of Sussex was absorbed into Wessex as an earldom and became the county of Sussex.
With its origins in the kingdom of Sussex, the later county of Sussex was traditionally divided into six units known as rapes. By the 16th century, the three western rapes were grouped together informally, having their own separate Quarter Sessions. These were administered by a separate county council from 1888, the county of Sussex being divided for administrative purposes into the administrative counties of East and West Sussex. In 1974, West Sussex was made a single ceremonial county with the coming into force of the Local Government Act 1972. At the same time a large part of the eastern rape of Lewes (the Mid Sussex district which includes the towns of Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and East Grinstead) was transferred into West Sussex.
Until 1834 provision for the poor and destitute in West Sussex was made at parish level. From 1835 until 1948 eleven Poor Law Unions, each catering for several parishes, took on the job.
Most settlements in West Sussex are either along the south coast or in Mid Sussex, near the M23/A23 corridor. The town of Crawley is the largest in the county with an estimated population of 106,600. The coastal settlement of Worthing closely follows with a population of 104,600. The seaside resort of Bognor Regis and market town Horsham are both large towns. Chichester, the county town, has a cathedral and city status, and is situated not far from the border with Hampshire. Other conurbations of a similar size are Burgess Hill, East Grinstead and Haywards Heath in the Mid Sussex district, Littlehampton in the Arun district, and Lancing, Southwick and Shoreham in the Adur district. Much of the coastal town population is part of the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation.
Rustington and Southwater are the next largest settlements in the county. There are several more towns in West Sussex, although they are of similar size to other villages. The smaller towns of the county are Arundel, Midhurst, Petworth, Selsey and Steyning. The larger villages are Billingshurst, Copthorne, Crawley Down, Cuckfield, Henfield, Hassocks, Hurstpierpoint, Lindfield, Pulborough and Storrington. The current total population of the county makes up 1.53% of England's population.
West Sussex is bordered by Hampshire to the west, Surrey to the north and East Sussex to the east. The English Channel lies to the south. The area has been formed from Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous rock strata, part of the Weald–Artois Anticline. The eastern part of this ridge, the Weald of Kent, Sussex and Surrey has been greatly eroded, with the chalk surface removed to expose older Lower Cretaceous rocks of the Wealden Group. In West Sussex the exposed rock becomes older towards the north of the county with Lower Greensand ridges along the border with Surrey including the highest point of the county at Blackdown. Erosion of softer sand and clay strata has hollowed out the basin of the Weald leaving a north facing scarp slope of the chalk which runs east and west across the whole county, broken only by the valleys of the River Arun and River Adur. In addition to these two rivers which drain most of the county a winterbourne, the River Lavant, flows intermittently from springs on the dip slope of the chalk downs north of Chichester.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
West Sussex is the sunniest county in the United Kingdom, according to Met Office records. Over the last 29 years it has averaged 1902 hours of sunshine per year. Sunshine totals are highest near the coast with Bognor Regis often having the highest in mainland England, including a total of 2237 hours in 1990. Mean annual temperature for southern coastal counties is around 11 °C. The coldest month, January, has mean daily minimum temperatures of around 3 °C near the coast and lower inland. July tends to be the warmest month when mean daily maxima tend to be around 20 °C. A maximum temperature of 35.4 °C occurred at North Heath, Pulborough on 26 June 1976. Coastal high temperatures are often moderated by cooler sea breezes.
Monthly rainfall tends to be highest in autumn and early winter and lowest in the summer months, with July often being the driest month. There is less rainfall from summer convective showers and thunderstorms than in inland areas. The county can suffer both from localised flooding caused by heavy rainfall and from water shortages caused by prolonged periods of below average rainfall. Winter rainfall is needed to recharge the chalk aquifers from which much of the water supply is drawn.
West Sussex developed distinctive land uses along with its neighbours in the weald. The Landrace cattle transformed into Sussex cattle and Sussex chickens emerged about the time of the Roman conquest. Some of the earliest evidence of horses in Britain has been found at Boxgrove, dated to 500,000 BC. Viticulture is a part of the economy, with wineries producing mainly sparkling wine of varied quality.
The M23 Motorway runs from London to the south of Crawley. The A23 and A24 roads run from London to Brighton and Worthing respectively with the A29 a little further west ending in Bognor Regis. Other major roads are the A272 which runs east to west through the middle of the county and the A27 which does the same but closer to the coast. The A259 is a local alternate route to the A27 in the eastern coastal strip.
Gatwick Airport, which handled over 33 million passengers and had over 250,000 aircraft movements in 2011, is located within the borders of Crawley, and is the second largest airport in the United Kingdom. There is also a considerably smaller local airport at Shoreham and a grass airfield handling light aircraft and helicopters at Goodwood. There are three main railway routes: the Brighton Main Line, the Arun Valley Line and the West Coastway Line. The Portsmouth Direct Line serves and occasionally enters the westernmost part of West Sussex, although it has no railway stations in the county.
West Sussex County Council (WSCC) is the authority that governs the non-metropolitan county of West Sussex. The county contains 7 district and borough councils ( Adur, Arun, Chichester, Crawley, Horsham, Mid Sussex and Worthing), and 159 town, parish and neighbourhood councils.
West Sussex County Council has 71 councillors; the majority of them being Conservative. There are 46 Conservative councillors, 10 UK Independence Party, 8 Liberal Democrats, 6 Labour Party councillors and 1 Independent councillor. The Chief Executive and his team of Executive Directors are responsible for the day-to-day running of the council.
West Sussex County Council is based at County Hall, Chichester and provides a large range of services including education, social services, fire and rescue, libraries, trading standards, town and country planning, refuse disposal and consumer services.
The West Sussex Youth Cabinet is a group of local representatives and four UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) representatives, who are elected by young people in West Sussex. The Youth Cabinet represents the views of the young people West Sussex at county level. Elections for the Youth Cabinet and UKYP in West Sussex run every year in March.
The Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, otherwise called Chichester Cathedral, is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Chichester. It was founded as a cathedral in 1075, when the seat of the bishop was moved from Selsey Abbey. The cathedral has architecture in both the Norman and the Gothic styles, and has been called by the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner "the most typical English Cathedral". The Cathedral Church of Our Lady and St Philip Howard in Arundel is the Roman Catholic cathedral of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. Built in French Gothic style and dedicated in 1873 as the Catholic parish church of Arundel, it was not designated a cathedral until the foundation of the diocese in 1965.
Bosham Church is partly of Saxon construction and is shown on the Bayeaux Tapestry as the local church of late Saxon and Danish kings of England. Many other Saxon and early Norman have survived in the county with little alteration including the Church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin, Sompting, an 11th-century Anglo-Saxon church with a Rhenish helm unique in England and St. Nicholas' Church, Worth, a 10th-century church in Worth, Crawley. Some Anglican churches and many of the numerous nonconformist chapels in the county have been converted to residential use. Cittaviveka is a Buddhist monastery in Chithurst.
Pallant House Gallery in Chichester houses one of the most significant collections of 20th-century British art outside London. It includes a substantial body of early and mid-20th-century work bequeathed by Walter Hussey and many later works donated by Sir Colin St John 'Sandy' Wilson.
This is a table of trend of regional gross value added of West Sussex at current basic prices published by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.
Significant companies in the county include Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, a substantial employer near Chichester. Gatwick Airport, with associated airlines including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, is a major source of direct and indirect employment. Thales Group also has a presence in the county.
The table below shows the population change up to the 2011 census, contrasting the previous census. It also shows the proportion of residents in each district reliant upon lowest income and/or joblessness benefits, the national average proportion of which was 4.5% as at August 2012, the year for which latest datasets have been published. It can be seen that the most populous district of West Sussex is Arun containing the towns of Arundel, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton:
|Unit||JSA or Inc. Supp. claimants (August 2012) % of 2011 population||JSA and Income Support claimants (August 2001) % of 2001 population||Population (April 2011)||Population (April 2001)|
|Ranked by district|
West Sussex has a comprehensive education system, with a mix of county-maintained secondary schools and academies and over twenty independent senior schools. In addition primary education is provided through a mix of around 240 infant, junior, primary, first and middle schools.
At least 40 sports are active in West Sussex. Sussex was the first First-Class cricket county formed in 1839 and was a cradle for club cricket. Sussex is home to Fontwell Park Racecourse. The county has one Football League club located in Crawley, that is Crawley Town F.C..
Arundel ( or locally ) is a market town and civil parish in a steep vale of the South Downs, West Sussex, England.
The much-conserved town has a medieval castle and Roman Catholic cathedral. Although smaller in population than most other parishes, Arundel has a museum and comes second behind much larger Chichester in its number of listed buildings in West Sussex. The River Arun runs through the eastern side of the town.
Arundel was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Reform Act 1835. From 1836-1889 the town had its own Borough police force with a strength of three. In 1974 it became part of the Arun district, and is now a civil parish with a town council.Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle is a restored and remodelled medieval castle in Arundel, West Sussex, England. It was established by Roger de Montgomery on Christmas Day 1067. Roger became the first to hold the earldom of Arundel by the graces of William the Conqueror. The castle was damaged in the English Civil War and then restored in the 18th and 19th centuries.From the 11th century, the castle has served as a home and has been in the ownership of the family of the Duke of Norfolk for over 400 years. It is the principal seat of the Howard family, whose heads have been first Earls of Arundel and then Dukes of Norfolk. It is a Grade I listed building.Bognor Regis
Bognor Regis is a seaside resort in West Sussex on the south coast of England, 55.5 miles (89 km) south-west of London, 24 miles (39 km) west of Brighton, 5.81 miles (9 km) south-east of Chichester and 16 miles (26 km) east of Portsmouth. Other nearby towns include Littlehampton east-north-east and Selsey to the south-west. The nearby villages of Felpham, and Aldwick are now suburbs of Bognor Regis, along with those of North and South Bersted. The population of the Bognor Regis built-up area, including Felpham and Aldwick, was 63,855 at the 2011 census.A seaside resort was developed by Sir Richard Hotham in the late 18th century on what was a sandy, undeveloped coastline. It has been claimed that Hotham and his new resort are portrayed in Jane Austen's unfinished novel Sanditon. The resort grew slowly in the first half of the 19th century but grew rapidly following the coming of the railway in 1864. In 1929 the area was chosen by advisors to King George V which led to its regal suffix, by royal consent. Butlin's has been present in the town since the early 1930s when an amusement park and zoo were opened. A holiday camp followed in 1960 and this has more recently moved towards hotel accommodation with modern amenities.Chichester
Chichester () is a cathedral city in West Sussex, in South-East England. It is the only city in West Sussex and is its county town. It has a long history as a settlement from Roman times and was important in Anglo-Saxon times. It is the seat of the Church of England Diocese of Chichester, with a 12th-century cathedral.
The city is a hub of several main road routes, and has a railway station, theatre, hospital, schools and museums. The River Lavant runs through, and partly beneath, the city.Chichester District
Chichester is a largely rural local government district in West Sussex, England. Its council is based in the city of Chichester.Crawley
Crawley (pronunciation ) is a large town and borough in West Sussex, England. It is 28 miles (45 km) south of Charing Cross (London), 18 miles (29 km) north of Brighton and Hove, and 32 miles (51 km) north-east of the county town of Chichester. Crawley covers an area of 17.36 square miles (44.96 km2) and had a population of 106,597 at the time of the 2011 Census.
The area has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and was a centre of ironworking in Roman times. Crawley developed slowly as a market town from the 13th century, serving the surrounding villages in the Weald. Its location on the main road from London to Brighton brought passing trade, which encouraged the development of coaching inns. A rail link to London opened in 1841.
Gatwick Airport, nowadays one of Britain's busiest international airports, opened on the edge of the town in the 1940s, encouraging commercial and industrial growth. After the Second World War, the British Government planned to move large numbers of people and jobs out of London and into new towns around South East England. The New Towns Act 1946 designated Crawley as the site of one of these. A master plan was developed for the establishment of new residential, commercial, industrial and civic areas, and rapid development greatly increased the size and population of the town over a few decades.
The town contains 13 residential neighbourhoods radiating out from the core of the old market town, and separated by main roads and railway lines. The nearby communities of Ifield, Pound Hill and Three Bridges were absorbed into the new town at various stages in its development. In 2009, expansion was being planned in the west and north-west of the town, in cooperation with Horsham District Council, which has now become a new neighborhood named Kilnwood Vale, but it not in Crawley. Economically, the town has developed into the main centre of industry and employment between London and the south coast. Its large industrial area supports manufacturing and service companies, many of them connected with the airport. The commercial and retail sectors continue to expand.East Grinstead
East Grinstead is a town and civil parish in the northeastern corner of Mid Sussex district of West Sussex in England near the East Sussex, Surrey, and Kent borders. It lies 27 miles (43 km) south of London, 21 miles (34 km) north northeast of Brighton, and 38 miles (61 km) east northeast of the county town of Chichester. The civil parish covers an area of 2,443.45 hectares (6,037.9 acres) and had a population of 23,942 persons in the 2001 census. The population of the town at the 2011 Census was 26,383.Nearby towns include Crawley and Horley to the west, Tunbridge Wells to the east and Redhill and Reigate to the northwest. The town is contiguous with the village of Felbridge to the northwest. Until 1974 East Grinstead was the centre for local government - East Grinstead Urban District Council - and was located in the county of East Sussex. East Grinstead, along with Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill, as part of the former Cuckfield Rural District Council, came together as Mid-Sussex; moving to the jurisdiction of West Sussex County Council. The town has many historic buildings and is located on the Greenwich Meridian. It is located in the Weald and Ashdown Forest lies to the south-east of the town.Horsham
Horsham is a market town on the upper reaches of the River Arun on the fringe of the Weald in West Sussex, England. The town is 31 miles (50 km) south south-west of London, 18.5 miles (30 km) north-west of Brighton and 26 miles (42 km) north-east of the county town of Chichester. Nearby towns include Crawley to the north-east and Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill to the south-east. It is the administrative centre of the Horsham district.List of civil parishes in West Sussex
This is a list of civil parishes in the ceremonial county of West Sussex, England.List of places in England
Here is a list of places, divided by ceremonial county of England.List of places in West Sussex
This is a list of cities, towns and villages in the ceremonial county of West Sussex, England. Towns and cities are shown in bold type.
Most of the larger settlements are shown on the map.
For a map of villages in West Sussex, see:
Map of villages in West SussexTo locate those places that do not have their own article, see List of United Kingdom locations for geographic coordinates and further links to maps.List of schools in West Sussex
This is a list of schools in West Sussex, England.Littlehampton
Littlehampton is a seaside resort and pleasure harbour, and the most populous civil parish in the Arun District of West Sussex, England. It lies on the English Channel on the eastern bank of the mouth of the River Arun. It is 51.5 miles (83 km) south south-west of London, 19 miles (31 km) west of Brighton and 10 miles (16 km) east of the county town of Chichester.
The parish covers an area of 11.35 km2 (4 sq mi). The suburban area of the town has a population of approximately 55,000. The conurbation includes other settlements: Wick in the north west; Lyminster to the north; and Rustington to the east. Wick and Toddington, which has a large business park, became part of the town in 1901. Nearby towns include Bognor Regis (WSW) and Worthing to the east. The town is also the westernmost settlement of the 15th largest urban area in England and Wales, the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation, a region encompassing 474,485 people (2011 census). The South Downs National Park commences 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the town: Littlehampton links to Amberley and Arundel by footpaths and railway as well as by roads.Petworth
Petworth is a small town and civil parish in the Chichester District of West Sussex, England. It is located at the junction of the A272 east-west road from Heathfield to Winchester and the A283 Milford to Shoreham-by-Sea road. Some twelve miles (21 km) to the south west of Petworth along the A285 road lies Chichester and the south-coast. The parish includes the settlements of Byworth and Hampers Green and covers an area of 2,690 hectares (6,600 acres). In 2001 the population of the parish was 2,775 persons living in 1,200 households of whom 1,326 were economically active. At the 2011 Census the population was 3,027.Petworth House
Petworth House in the parish of Petworth, West Sussex, England, is a late 17th-century Grade I listed country house, rebuilt in 1688 by Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset, and altered in the 1870s to the design of the architect Anthony Salvin. It contains intricate wood-carvings by Grinling Gibbons (d.1721). It is the manor house of the manor of Petworth. For centuries it was the southern home for the Percy family, Earls of Northumberland. Petworth is famous for its extensive art collection made by George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751-1837), containing many works by his friend J. M. W. Turner. It also has an expansive deer park, landscaped by Capability Brown, which contains the largest herd of fallow deer in England.Shoreham-by-Sea
Shoreham-by-Sea (often shortened to Shoreham) is a seaside town and port in West Sussex, England.
The town is bordered to its north by the South Downs, to its west by the Adur Valley and to its south by the River Adur and Shoreham Beach on the English Channel. The town lies in the middle of the ribbon of urban development along the English south coast, approximately equidistant from the city of Brighton and Hove to the east and the town of Worthing to the west. Shoreham covers an area of 2,430 acres (980 ha) and has a population of 20,547 (2011 census).Sussex
Sussex (), 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, northeast by Kent, south by the English Channel, and divided for many purposes into the ceremonial counties of West Sussex and East Sussex. Brighton and Hove, though part of East Sussex, was made a unitary authority in 1997, and as such, is administered independently of the rest of East Sussex. Brighton and Hove was 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 southwest 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. Around 827, 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 recorded hominids, whose remains have been found at Boxgrove. It 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.West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
The West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is statutory fire and rescue service for the administrative county of West Sussex, England. It is part of West Sussex County Council. The county as of March 2018 has 25 fire stations.Worthing
Worthing () is a large seaside town in England, and district with borough status in West Sussex. It is situated at the foot of the South Downs, 10 miles (16 km) west of Brighton, and 18 miles (29 km) east of the county town of Chichester. With an estimated population of 104,600 and an area of 12.5 square miles (32.37 km2) the borough is the second largest component of the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation, which makes it part of the 15th most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. Since 2010 northern parts of the borough, including the Worthing Downland Estate, have formed part of the South Downs National Park. In April 2019, the Art Deco Worthing Pier was dubbed the best in Britain.The area around Worthing has been populated for at least 6,000 years and contains Britain's greatest concentration of Stone Age flint mines, which are some of the earliest mines in Europe. Lying within the borough, the Iron Age hill fort of Cissbury Ring is one of Britain's largest. Worthing means "(place of) Worth/Worō's people", from the Old English personal name Worth/Worō (the name means "valiant one, one who is noble"), and -ingas "people of" (reduced to -ing in the modern name).
For many centuries Worthing was a small mackerel fishing hamlet until in the late 18th century it developed into an elegant Georgian seaside resort and attracted the well-known and wealthy of the day. In the 19th and 20th centuries the area was one of Britain's chief market gardening centres.Modern Worthing has a large service industry, particularly in financial services. It has three theatres and one of Britain's oldest cinemas Dome cinema. Writers Oscar Wilde and Harold Pinter lived and worked in the town.
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Ceremonial county of West Sussex
West Sussex Portal
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1974–1996 ← Ceremonial counties of England → current