3 miles from Seaford, south of the A27. Head west past Lewes until the ‘Drusillas’ roundabout then turn right. From the east (From Eastbourne) follow the A27 and turn left at ‘Drusillas’.Henry IV did grant, in 1405, “The King’s Town of Alfryston” the rights to hold a weekly market and twice yearly fairs. Now, this almost picture book, one time smuggling village attracts visitors from far and wide. Straddling the South Downs Way it is a favourite place for the weary walker (and those still full of vim and vigour) to rest and recover.
Alfriston boasts the first property to be acquired by the National Trust (NT). The 14th century timber-framed and thatched Priest’s or Clergy House, was purchased by the NT in 1891 for the princely sum of £10 (GBP).
Across The Tye (the village green to you and me) the George Inn has held an innkeepers licence since 1397 and opposite, the 500 year old Star welcomed pilgrims on their way to Chichester. Once the home of the local butcher and smuggler, Stanton Collins, The Smugglers Inn has six staircases, 21 rooms and 48 doors. A sign welcomes walkers from the south downs but asks that they leave their boots at the door.
In a curve on the river Cuckmere, the beautiful 14th century church of St. Andrews stands on an ancient Anglo-Saxon mound, within its circular graveyard. Known as ‘The Cathedral of the South Downs’ it was built in the form of a Greek Cross, with a central tower and shingled spire. The Marriage Register is one of the oldest in England dating from 1504.
Across the river in the village of Lullington is a very small church just 16 feet square with 20 seats inside. It is the chancel of a larger church built of rough flints and stone with a white weather-boarded belfry. It belonged to Battle Abbey and St. Richard of Chichester installed a vicar at Lullington in the 14th century. Services are still held in the church, once a month.
To the north of the village lies Berwick church – go inside and see some astonishing murals completed by Vanessa Bell and her husband Duncan Grant together with their son Quentin, during the Second World War. Love them or hate them, but go and make up your own mind.., Part of the Bloomsbury Set, Vanessa Bell was the sister of Virginia Woolf who for a long period was based at Charleston Farmhouse just a few miles away.Alfriston has an annual Summer Festival held in July
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