Sussex (with a foreword by Christopher Hibbert)

  • England, 1995, Pimlico (Random House)


Here is pagan Sussex to Bloomsbury Sussex and beyond. Critical of the encroachments of the modern world, Desmond Seward takes us behind suburbia and motorways and explores the old, secret Sussex, still there for those who want to find it. He brilliantly conveys his affection for the county – for its ghosts, legends and smugglers, for its castles and great country houses and, above all, for the fern-coloured slopes of the Weald, the colour and shapes of the ‘soothing, healing Downs.

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Reviews of: Sussex (with a foreword by Christopher Hibbert)

  • ”Does Sussex still survive?” Desmond Seward asks, and then shows how the county is imbued with a sense of continuous time that might surprise a Horsham commuter or Gatwick passenger. Cut off by forest, marsh and sea it was the last Anglo-Saxon kingdom to become Christian. And some queer things still go on there … Seward emphasises the mystery of Susses, the secret beauty that he believes will outlast any teashop or barn conversion.

  • He is a pithy guide whose writing contains a vivid out-of-doors feeling, and whose tales one senses must have been heard rather than found in the local archive … has a way of drawing one to a place which one thought one knew.

    The Tablet
  • Desmond Seward’s excellent guide to the history of Sussex quotes Leonard Woolf: “This was the first time that I had seen the South Downs from the inside.” Now, thanks to Seward’s revealing insights, it is possible to view the whole of Sussex in the same way … conjuring up visions of witch hounds and water demons in an older, secret Sussex.

    The Times