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Frewen College
Grid reference: TQ825249
Location: 50°59’24"N, 0°36’0"E
Population: 2,083  (2011[1])
Post town: Rye
Postcode: TN31
Dialling code: 01797
Local Government
Council: Rother
Bexhill and Battle

Northiam is a village and parish in Sussex, 13 miles north of Hastings in the valley of the River Rother. The A28 road to Canterbury and Hastings passes through it.


There is a Site of Special Scientific Interest within the parish. It refers to a disused and partially flooded quarry on the outskirts of Northiam village. It is of geological, palaeoenvironmental and palaeogeographic interest.[2]

The historic house Great Dixter is found within the village. Many parts of the village are listed including Frewen College (formally Brickwall House School), which is a day and boarding school for dyslexic children. It is believed to have been the first such school in the country, set up by Admiral Frewen. Centred on a Grade-I-listed Jacobean mansion named Brickwall after the extensive boundary walls, many period features have been retained in both the house and gardens.

Brickwall is where Elizabeth I's slippers could for many years be found, given as a memento after she rested under the oak on Church Road. The slippers were retained by the Frewen family when the rest of the property was given to The Frewen Educational Trust in 1972.

St Mary's Church and war memorial

The parish church is dedicated to St Mary which is home to six bells and over the years was funded and supported by the Frewens (which is now the private school).

Four Prime Ministers for D-Day

Four Prime Ministers Plaque

On 12 May 1944, four prime ministers visited the troops before D-Day in Normandy. The village field gates were erected to commemorate the visit. The four Prime ministers were:

  • Rt Hon. Winston S. Churchill P.C., O.M., C.H., F.R.S. - Great Britain
  • Rt Hon. Mackenzie King P.C., C.M.G. - Canada
  • Rt Hon. Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts P.C., O.M., C.H., K.G., F.R.S. - South Africa
  • Hon. Sir Godfrey M. Huggins C.H., K.C.M.G., 78F.R.C.S. - Southern Rhodesia

Notable people

  • Joanna Lumley - Attended school in the village
  • Christopher Lloyd - Owner and gardener of Great Dixter
  • Neil Buchanan - TV Artist And Children TV Presenter
  • Moreton Frewen
  • Major-General James Johnston, OBE, MC - A senior British Army medical officer who lived in the village following his retirement
  • John Andrews - (author) lives in the village

UK's first green village

Northiam is in contention to be the UK's First green village. With plans for a biomass power station providing power to the whole village.[3] The first application for planning permission was refused in 2009.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is Rye. However the closest station is Doleham, 6½ miles away; However this station is not served by regular stopping trains. Hourly bus services (except Sunday) operates to Tenterden, Rye, and Hastings. The bus route 344 runs from Northiam (Coppards Lane) and Hastings, via Rye. Route 340/341 runs from Tenterden to Hastings via the Westfield and the Conquest Hospital. Similarly the bus route 2 runs between Hastings and Ashford International, passing through Westfield, Brede, Broad Oak, Northiam and Tenterden. The Kent and East Sussex Railway manages Northiam station which operates steam trains for tourists between Bodiam and Tenterden.


There are two main schools in Northiam. Northiam Primary school is located at the southern end of the village. The school has had a new community sports hall built which is used by the school during the day and for community sporting clubs in the evenings and school holidays. The second school is Frewen College which specialises in supporting young people aged from 7 to 19 whose education has been adversely affected by dyslexia, developmental coordination disorder, dyscalculia, or speech and language difficulties. Founded in 1910 we it is believed that Frewen College is the oldest such school in the country.


Northiam is fortunate enough to be located along the route of the Sussex Border Path. Northiam also has public footpath walks to Beckley, Newenden, Ewhurst Green and Staplecross. The local walking group Northiam Footpath Group set up in 1994 provides organised walks for local people while aiming to promote and encourage walking as a healthy, sociable and enjoyable form of exercise, while exploring the surrounding countryside in a safe manner, to keep footpaths open; maintaining the network of local and adjoining Public Rights Of Way.


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