ALFRISTON

ALFRISTON – 2 miles (5 minutes by car) Open everyday

Alfriston (pron: Awl-friston) is a village and civil parish in the Sussex district of Wealden, England. The village lies in the valley of the River Cuckmere,

The Alfriston parish church, dedicated to St Andrew, has Saxon origins, although most of the building dates from the 14th century: it is known, because of its size, as The Cathedral of the South Downs. It sits on a small, flint-walled mound in the middle of “the Tye” (the local village green), overlooking the River Cuckmere, and is surrounded by the flowered graveyard. It is built in the form of a cross. Today it is part of the united benefice which includes St Michael’s Church at Litlington and All Saints Church at West Dean. Alfriston’s former United Reformed Church is included in that grouping.

 

The 14th Century Alfriston Clergy House close by, was originally the vicarage, but is now maintained by the National Trust. It was the very first property brought by the Trust in 1896 and it is a classic example of a Wealden hall house with thatched roof and timber-framed walls. It also has a tranquil garden and orchard on the banks of the Cuckmere.

One building of historical importance is the Star Inn. Originally a religious hostel built in 1345 and used to accommodate monks and pilgrims en route from Battle Abbey to the shrine of St Richard, patron saint of Sussex, at Chichester Cathedral, it became an inn in the 16th century. Wooden figures grace the upper part of the building, whilst in the front is a one-time ship’s figurehead representing a red lion. The latter is connected with the Alfriston smuggling gang who used the inn as a base; their leader was transported to Australia in 1830.