The name 'Sussex' derives from the Kingdom of Sussex which in 825 was absorbed into the Kingdom of Wessex and the later Kingdom of England.
The flag of Sussex consists of six gold martlets on a blue background. Officially recognised by the Flag Institute in 2011, its design is based on the coat of arms of Sussex which first appeared in an atlas in 1622. The significance of the six martlets is thought to be to represent the traditional six sub-divisions of the county known as rapes.
Sussex-by-the-Sea by William Ward-Higgs is regarded as the unofficial anthem of Sussex, perhaps originally from the lyrics of Rudyard Kipling's poem entitled Sussex. Adopted by the Royal Sussex Regiment and popularised in World War I, it is sung at celebrations across the county including those at Lewes Bonfire and at sports matches, including those of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club and Sussex County Cricket Club.
Sussex Day is celebrated on 16 June; this is the same day that the feast day of St Richard of Chichester is celebrated. St Richard is the patron saint of Sussex and his shrine at Chichester Cathedral was an important place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages.
Extending across East and West Sussex, The Weald gets its name from the Old English weald, meaning "forest". The High Weald has the most ancient woodland in any Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, representing 7% of all the ancient woodland in England. Around 1660 the total area under forest was estimated to exceed 200,000 acres but has reduced as charcoal from the woodlands supplied the furnaces and forges of the ironworks which formed an important industry in the county until the 17th century, surviving until the early years of the 19th century.
Rye, Hastings, Newhaven and Shoreham are all still home to working harbours. Pagham and Chichester harbours however only cater for locals and tourists with leisure and craft.
Rich in remains from the Bronze and Iron ages, Historic Sussex’s three castles, at Lewes, Bramber and Arundel which guard important access points from the coast through the South Downs by the Ouse, Adur and Arun valleys respectively. The ruins of Lewes and Bramber, whilst quite compelling, do not compare with those of Arundel, one of the great treasures of England and which is still the seat of the Dukes of Norfolk.
Better known than Lewes, Bramber and Arundel is Pevensey Castle, which is mpartly Norman but mainly 13th century and sited within the walls of Roman Anderitum. Moated sites and smaller castles are common in Sussex, especially in the Low Wield. Some of these are Hastings Castle, Knepp Castle near West Grinstead, the moated fortress of Bodiam and Hertmonceux Castle which was elaborately built in the 15th century.
Sussex is the home of cricketand the Weald is widely recognised as where Cricket was first played and hence Sussex CCC is England's oldest county cricket club. Arundel Castle’s cricket ground traditionally plays host to a Duchess of Norfolk's XI which plays the national test sides touring England. Another sport associated with Sussex is Stoolball, aka ‘Cricket in the Air’, which also originated in the county and was revived in the early 20thcentury.
Artistic Sussex is home to the Brighton Festival - England’s largest arts festival, the Chichester Festival Theatre, Glyndebourne, one of the world's best known opera houses , the Pallant House Gallery and Goodwood’s Cass Sculpture Foundation.
Sussex is also home to Chichester Cathedral which houses several contemporary works by John Skelton who lived and worked at Streat near Ditchling. Worthing Museum and Art Gallery has works in the collection by Philip Jackson, Dora Gordine and John Skelton.