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Sussex Map by C & J Greenwood - Framed Print - 16"H x 20"W


Sussex Map by C & J Greenwood - Framed Print - 16"H x 20"W

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.

The name derives from the Kingdom of Sussex, which was founded, according to legend, by Ælle of Sussex in AD 477. In 825, 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 hominids, whose remains have been found at at Boxgrove, and was invaded by the Romans and is the site of the Battle of Hastings.

The earliest known usage of the term South Saxons is in a royal charter of 689 which names them and their king, Noðhelm, although the term may well have been in use for some time before that.

Sussex's motto, We wunt be druv, is a Sussex dialect expression meaning 'we will not be pushed around' and reflects the traditionally independent nature of Sussex men and women.

Sussex is rich in remains from in particular the Bronze Age, including barrows known as the Devil's Jumps and Cissbury Ring, one of Britain's largest hillforts. Towards the end of the Iron Age in 75BC people from the Atrebates, started invading and occupying southern Britain. This was followed by an invasion by the Roman army under Julius Caesar that temporarily occupied the south-east in 55BC. Soon after the first Roman invasion had ended, the Celtic Regnenses tribe under their leader Commius occupied the Manhood Peninsula.

A number of archaeologists now think there is a strong possibility that the Roman invasion of Britain in AD43 started around Fishbourne and Chichester Harbour rather than the traditional landing place of Richborough in Kent. According to this theory, the Romans were called to restore the refugee Verica, king of the Atrebates, who had been driven out by the Catuvellauni, a tribe based around modern Hertfordshire.

Sussex was home to the magnificent Roman Palace at Fishbourne, by far the largest Roman residence known north of the Alps. Much of Sussex was a Roman canton of the Regnenses or Regni, with its capital at Noviomagus Reginorum, (Chichester).

The foundation legend of Sussex is provided by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which states that in the year AD 477 Ælle landed with his three sons. Having fought on the banks of the Mearcredesburna, seized the Saxon Shore fort of Anderida. They were able to gradually colonise. Aelle was recognised as the first 'Bretwalda' of southern Britain. He was probably the most senior of the Anglo-Saxon kings and led the ill-fated campaign against King Arthur at Mount Badon.

Sussex was the scene for the Battle of Hastings. In September 1066, William of Normandy landed with his forces, and erected a wooden castle at Hastings, from which they raided the surrounding area. The battle was fought between William of Normandy and King Harold Godwinson.

England's army was defeated and Harold was killed. It is likely that all the fighting men of Sussex were at the battle, as the county's thegns were decimated and any that survived had their lands confiscated. William built Battle Abbey at the site of the battle, with the exact spot where Harold fell marked by the high altar.

In 1264, Sussex was the location of the Battle of Lewes, in which Simon de Montfort and his fellow barons captured Prince Edward (later Edward I). The subsequent treaty, known as the Mise of Lewes, led to Montfort summoning the first parliament in English history without any prior royal authorisation.

Sussex escaped the worst ravages of the English Civil War. Despite its being under Parliamentarian control, Charles II was able to journey through the county after the Battle of Worcester in 1651 to make his escape to France from the port of Shoreham.

During WWI, on the eve of the Battle of the Somme on 30 June 1916, the Royal Sussex Regiment took part in the Battle of the Boar's Head at Richebourg-l'Avoué. The day subsequently became known as The Day Sussex Died. Over a period of less than five hours the 17 officers and 349 men were killed, including 12 sets of brothers,  a further 1,000 men were wounded or taken prisoner.

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