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(Smuggling and Ghosts)

Domesday Community

General Details topsmall

Alfriston Sussex - An old house
The area around Alfriston must have been occupied from neolithic times as a number of barrows from this period have been found higher up the surrounding Downs .

Alfriston lies in the Cuckmere valley just off the main A27 Eastbourne to Lewes road.

The village was settled long before the Norman invasion of 1066 , as the mound that the church lies on was an old Saxon burial ground. St Lewinna a Saxon virgin Christian was killed by the Saxons in 690AD and her body was kept at the church, her relics were attributed to a number of miracles. They were stolen by a monk from Belgium and transported to the Priory of Bergue St Winox in 1058.

King Alfred was believed to have burnt the cakes at the Star Inn in the village, this is possible as he had his palace a few miles away at West Dean .

The majority of the church of St Andrews was built in the 1300's and is known as The Cathedral of the Downs. The rectory was built in the 14th century and is of wattle and daub construction. This building is now owned by the National Trust, and is open to the public.

The Star Inn it is believed was built as a hostel by the Abbot of Battle. In the 1500's it was turned into an Inn with numerous wooden figures looking down on passing travellers, these figures still remain watching. Outside the Inn is a red Lion, once the figurehead of a Dutch ship which was wrecked in the 1800's and was raided by Stanton Collins and his smugglers. Many of the old buildings in the village are tiled in Horsham Tiles .

Towards the end of the 1700's the son and heir of the Chowne family, who owned Place House Estate, went for a walk with his dog, and was attacked by thieves. He was killed by a blow to the head, and the thieves buried the young man. Seven years later, a couple were walking along the road, and saw a small white dog that walked into the bank of the read. Every seven years the phantom dog returned until the early 1800 when the skeleton of a young man was found while the road was being widened, his bones were moved to the church and the ghostly dog never reappeared.

During the Napoleonic Wars Alfriston was the home to a large number of troops, they were to have been there to repel the invaders should they have got past the Martello towers and the cliffs on the coast. The village gained from this friendly invasion by providing food drink and other services to the troops.

After the Napoleonic wars the village turned to smuggling, and the Alfriston gang, well known for their violence, used the Cuckmere river to bring the illegal goods in to the village. The gang was broken up when the leader Stanton Collins was caught for sheep rustling in the early 1830's and transported to Australia.

Nowadays the village is a tourist attraction with its many old buildings and its feel of an ancient time.

Services TopSmall

Alfriston East Sussex - Black and White cottages
Alfriston has a wide range of shops with the emphasis on gift shops, antiques and food establishments, showing the influence that tourism now has on the area.

The nearest trains run from the station at Berwick about 2 miles to the north.

The shopping centre of Lewes lies about 6 miles to the north west.

Views TopSmall

Alfriston East Sussex - St Andrews church
Alfriston has many beautiful views within the village, looking at the Star Inn can keep you occupied for quite a while with its figures.

The high street is a beautiful example of an old Sussex village, and has many beautiful old buildings.

The area near the church and river Cuckmere is very pretty and it is enjoyable just walking around the village. Above the Grizzly Bear shop is a very interesting historical exhibition of the village and this is worth visiting.
Name Derivation TopSmall
Alfriston originally known as Aelfric tun the 'farmstead of Alfric' in Anglo Saxon times, was recorded in the Domesday Book as Alvriceston and had a range of other names including Alvericheston and Aveston.
There is a possibility that the name derives from Aella fyrst tun ( Aella the Saxon's first settlement), but this is conjecture. (see our page on Aelle the Saxon )

Nearby Villages (within 6 miles)
Lullington (destroyed by Cromwell ??) 0.7 miles
Berwick (Sharpen your arrows on the Church) 0.8 miles
Litlington (Secret marriage of George IV) 1.4 miles
Wilmington (The Long Man) 1.5 miles
Alciston (Fifty thousand tiles on the Barn) 1.6 miles
Exceat (Alfred the Great's Naval Base?) 2.1 miles
West Dean (Alfred the Great's Palace) 2.1 miles
Folkington (Teasles and Badgers) 2.2 miles
Selmeston (Tomb to store the Contraband) 2.2 miles
Jevington (Smugglers and Churchill Tanks) 2.3 miles
Arlington (Peaceful Village and hectic Stadium) 3.1 miles
East Blatchington (Mutiny and the Edge of Space) 3.3 miles
Bishopstone (Largest Tide-Mill in Sussex) 3.4 miles
Chalvington (The miniature church) 3.5 miles
Upper & Lower Dicker (Michelham Priory) 3.5 miles
Polegate (Fine old Tower Mill) 3.6 miles
Firle (Home of the Greengage) 3.8 miles
Seaford (The cormorants or shags) 3.8 miles
Friston (Home of the Railway Children) 3.9 miles
East Dean (Fishing and Wrecking) 4.1 miles
Ripe (Earl Harolds estate) 4.2 miles
Denton (Earl Godwins Manor) 4.4 miles
South Heighton () 4.8 miles
Newhaven () 5.0 miles
Glynde (Home of English Opera) 5.2 miles
Tarring Neville (The Chest from the Spanish Armarda) 5.3 miles
Beddingham (At the base of Mount Caburn) 5.5 miles
Hailsham (Ropes and Napoleon) 5.6 miles
Piddinghoe () 5.7 miles


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