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(Home of English Opera)

Name Derivation

General Details

Glynde lies to the north of the A27 on the back road to Ringmer . Its name is derived from the old Saxon word glind meaning an enclosure. The road through the village used to be on the main coaching route from Lewes to Eastbourne and Newhaven. It has the feel of Northern England with its rows of terraced cottages, and seems out of place in the South Downs .

In the 1200's Glynde Place was built and in 1579 the current building was created with dragons on either side of the entrance.

Glynde is the birthplace of the delicate bright pink faced Southdown sheep which were bred in the 1700's by John Ellman who is buried in the churchyard. This breed of sheep can be found as far afield as Australia and South Africa.(See Southdown Sheep Society)

The current unusual church was built in 1763-5 in the Italian style by Richard Trevor the Bishop of Durham who was the owner of Glynde place.

The church was designed by Sir Thomas Robinson Bart an architect and landowner from Yorkshire . The building lies on top of the old Norman church of which only a few artifacts remain.

In the churchyard is another example of a Harmer Terracotta created by Jonathan Harmer in the early 1800's.

On 28th May 1934 John Christie whose family had lived at Glyndebourne an old Tudor manor since 1617, opened the Glyndebourne Opera House. The building catered for about 300 people, and became synonymous with English Opera. In 1992 the building was demolished and a new one contructed, this was opened in 1994 seating 1150 people. Glyndebourne is now the major operatic centre in the UK.

Glynde Reach lies to the south east of Glynde, and as the derivation of 'reach' means 'An inlet of the sea' it is assumed that the Sea Level in the past would have been up to 10 ft higher than at present. The Ordnance Survey map from 1813 shows the sea coming all the way to the Laughton Levels , possibly this was shown as high tide levels..


Glynde lies just off the main A27 and has a few small village services , but the nearest shopping centre is at Lewes about 2 miles north west via Ringmer .

The village benefits from a station on the Eastbourne to Lewes and Brighton line giving regular coastal services.


Glynde lies just to the west of Mount Caburn at 480 ft high one of the higher landmarks in Sussex, this is one of those areas settled in prehistoric times as tumuli are all around.

The whole area is one of the South Downs with its steep green hills and wide vistas and very low lying river valleys.

The church is very unusual and seems out of place in this downland village with its Italian styling, however it is worth visiting, and over the wall from the churchyard can be seen the dragon statues guarding Glynde Place.

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