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Rotherfield Sussex street.JPG
High Street, Rotherfield
Grid reference: TQ556297
Location: 51°2’46"N, 0°13’9"E
Population: 3,208  (2011)
Post town: Crowborough
Postcode: TN6
Dialling code: 01892
Local Government
Council: Wealden

Rotherfield is a village in the north of Sussex. It gives a name to the Rotherfield Hundred im the Rape of Pevensey.

There are three villages in the parish: Rotherfield, Mark Cross and Eridge. The River Rother, which drains much of the eastern parts of the county and discharges at Rye Harbour, has its source on the south side of the hill on which Rotherfield village is built.

The village is built around its church, which stands at the top of a hill, and was then surrounded by cleared land. The areas nearest to the valley bottoms, where water was available, were farmed. Rotherfield became a royal hunting estate in the times of Kings Alfred the Great, Athelstan and William Rufus.

The village pubs are the Catts Inn and the Kings Arms. In Mark Cross is the Mark Cross Inn; in Eridge are the Huntsman and the Nevill Crest and Gun.


Cottages in the main street

The name Rotherfield is thought to derive from the Old English Hriðerfeld meaning cattle lands, although it has been speculated that it may have originally been called or Hrytheranfelda meaning Hrother's field.[1] On the south side of the hill on which the village of Rotherfield is built, the River Rother has its source.[2]


There are written records of Rotherfield in the 8th century; it was also included in the Domesday Book of 1086 and in various other mediæval documents. In Tudor times three of the inhabitants were burned at the stake for their religious beliefs.[3]

In the 18th century, the road through the village became part of the Turnpike Trust road between Tunbridge Wells and Lewes. Until 1880, when a new ecclesiastical parish was formed, Crowborough was also part of the parish.


Boarshead, a hamlet within the parish, developed around the A26 road between Crowborough and Eridge. Current amenities include an eponymous pub and a public golf course.


Church of St Denys

There are three churches in Rotherfield and two more in the parish:

  • Church of England: St Denys
  • Baptist (Strict Baptist): Providence Chapel
  • Roman Catholic: St Peter

A former Methodist chapel at Town Row, between Rotherfield and Mark Cross, was closed in the early 21st century.

  • In Mark Cross: St Mark
  • In Eridge Green, Holy Trinity

Rotherfield's church, St Denis, is of the 11th century. A timber church was first built on the site in 792, and the present sandstone church occupies the same site; the original church is believed to have been under the north-east corner of the current building, in the area now known as the Nevill chapel. The Nevill family were Lords of the Manor from 1450.

The chiurch was extended at various times, with the last major alteration being the addition of the tower, porch and spire in the 15th century. The original spire was destroyed by a storm in October 1987, and reconstructed using a steel frame raised to the roof by helicopter. Construction of the tower meant that a new porch and entrance had to be built on the north side of the nave, to replace the west door obstructed by the tower. A new west door was also built.

Leisure, culture and sport

  • Amateur dramatics:
    • The Rotherfield Players.[4]
    • Stage Door Drama School (for young people)[5]
  • Football: Rotherfield Football Club

On the first Saturday in October, Rotherfield plays host to its annual carnival night organised by the Rotherfield and Mark Cross Bonfire Society. This is a torchlight procession through the village streets involving many other Sussex Bonfire and Carnival societies. This is an old Sussex tradition. This is the biggest event the village holds per year, and often sees crowds of up to 3,500 people lining the streets. The climax of the evening is the bonfire and fireworks display. Money raised from the event is given to local charities.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Rotherfield)