CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Sussex Life today CLICK HERE

What it’s like to live in Alfriston

PUBLISHED: 14:50 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:50 10 September 2018

Alfriston village sign with St Andrew's Church in the background

Alfriston village sign with St Andrew's Church in the background

Archant

Bearing links to some of the county’s famous smugglers, Alfriston is a small village with a lot of history – including an impressive ‘cathedral’

Getting there

Nestled in the valley of the River Cuckmere, Alfriston is about four miles north-east of Seaford and south of the A27. The closest railway station is Berwick, which runs hourly services to Hastings and Brighton. London can be reached by rail in just over 90 minutes, with a brief change at Lewes. Regular bus services provide links between Alfriston and Berwick, Brighton, Lewes and Seaford.



History

Sitting on a small, flint-walled mound in the middle of the green, St Andrew’s Church can be dated back to Saxon times. It is built in the shape of a cross, overlooking the River Cuckmere, and due to its size, is known locally as The Cathedral of the South Downs.

The original vicarage – Alfriston Clergy House – can be found close by, originally built in 1350 under the reign of Edward III. In 1896, it became the very first house to be bought by the National Trust, purchased for a meagre £10 (around £1,300 in today’s money). A classic example of a Wealden hall house, it features a thatched roof and timber-framed walls. It was rented out by the church as a source of income.

The Smugglers’ Inn, formerly Market Cross House, is believed to have been the headquarters for one of East Sussex’s famous gangs. It is rumoured that its 21 rooms, six staircases and 48 doors offered a maze of passageways and doors, and created an easy escape for the gang in the event of an unknown caller. The Star Inn has been similarly linked to such activity. Outside a statue of a red lion can still be seen, which was once the figurehead of a Dutch ship. It was wrecked in the 1800s and raided by Stanton Collins and the famous Alfriston gang. The gang would use the Cuckmere River to transport illegal goods into the village. It was only broken up when Collins was caught for sheep rustling in the early 1830s. He was transported to Australia as punishment.


Annual festivals and events

Each year Alfriston families get together for the annual summer festival, raising funds for local charities and Alfriston School. For the past ten years, Alfriston Summer Music has attracted world class musicians to concerts in both St Andrew’s Church and Lullington Church, nearby. The 2018 event, which runs from 24 to 29 July, was rebranded to the South Downs Summer Music International Festival.

The annual Christmas market in December also brings visitors into the town.


Amenities

As well as three historic pubs, Alfriston boasts a small number of independent coffee shops and tea houses including Badgers Tea House, on North Street, which housed the village bakery for more than 200 years. An antique dealer, bookshop and barber can also be found in the village, as well as a traditional village store, complete with post office and ATM.

At the heart of the community is the Alfriston War Memorial Hall, able to accommodate up to 150 people. An excellent venue for wedding receptions, parties, and conferences, it also provides a home to the village’s art club, line dancing, yoga and bowls club, as well as a horticultural society, theatre group, historical society and WI.

Old School Surgery in Seaford offers GP services in both Alfriston, at The Furlongs, and in East Dean. The nearest dental surgeries can be found in Seaford, just over 5km away.


Meet the neighbours

The village is said to have inspired the popular hymn, Morning Has Broken, which was written in 1931 by Eleanor Farjeon, and popularised by Cat Stevens in the 1970s.

In contrast, international crime writer, Peter Cheyney, based his 1946 novel, Uneasy Terms, on the area, using one of the village’s historic pubs as a resting stop for his private detective.


Concil

Along with its own parish council, Alfriston is represented by the Wealden District of East Sussex County Council, by Conservative councillor Philip Ede. In Parliament it is part of the Lewes constituency. Since 2015 it has been represented in the House of Commons by Conservative MP, Maria Caulfield. In July she quit as the party’s vice chair for women over the Prime Minister’s Brexit plans.


More…

Taking a look at what it’s like to live in Storrington, Pulborough and surrounding villages - Head to these South Downs villages for a chance to experience modern amenities and stunning, picturesque views

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sussex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sussex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sussex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Homes & Gardens

Tue, 11:24

Ideally situated for commuting to London and Brighton, this West Sussex town offers the perfect blend of rural and urban living

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

A rich local history, thriving annual festivals and a bounty of amenities make this East Sussex town hard to top

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

As we head into Autumn, the change in season is all around us. From the leaves on the trees turning burnt orange and fiery red, to dark mornings and nights bookending our days. As we put the clocks back an hour to battle the darkness, here’s some top tips on how you can keep your home warm and costs down this Autumn.

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

This newly renovated Georgian townhouse in Worthing offers uninterrupted views over the sea, combined with designs for the modern family

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A leading property agent is going back to his roots after a 32-year career by joining one of the UK’s foremost property search companies covering Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex East Sussex and Kent.

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

Bearing links to some of the county’s famous smugglers, Alfriston is a small village with a lot of history – including an impressive ‘cathedral’

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Thursday, August 23, 2018

As well as being practical, tiles can add class, colour and style to your home. With such spectacular choice, you might feel like a kid in a sweet shop, so many delicious options. Luxury bathroom, kitchen and tile experts Sussex Plumbing Supplies (SPS) have selected the top tile styles and tips to help you make the right choice for your space.

Read more
Monday, August 20, 2018

Head to these South Downs villages for a chance to experience modern amenities and stunning, picturesque views

Read more
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Fantastic rail links, picturesque views and community spirit make this small Sussex village an ideal place to call home

Read more
Sunday, July 1, 2018

Residential property company heylo recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to fair treatment and support to the Armed Forces community, including regulars, reserves, veterans and their families. The signing took place in a ceremony held at Wellington Barracks

Read more
Monday, June 25, 2018

Community lies at the very heart of this Sussex parish, which was once home to Rudyard Kipling

Read more
Friday, June 1, 2018

The bathroom is one of the most heavily used rooms in the house yet in most cases it is one of the smallest. The growing popularity of en suites, plus the need for additional downstairs WCs, mean that space-saving solutions are increasingly in demand

Read more
Monday, May 21, 2018

Despite its rural location, the South Downs market town of Midhurst is alive with community spirit

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory


Property Search