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Looking eastwards towards the centre of the village, along Keymer Road - the main shopping street.

Hassocks (West Sussex)

Hassocks shown within West Sussex
Population 6,821 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference TQ299154
Parish Hassocks
District Mid Sussex
Shire county West Sussex
Region South East
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HASSOCKS
Postcode district BN6
Police Sussex
Fire West Sussex
Ambulance South East Coast
European Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Arundel and South Downs
List of places: UKEnglandWest Sussex

Coordinates: 50°55'24?N 0°09'03?W? / ?50.923303, -0.150863

Hassocks is a large village and civil parish in the Mid Sussex district of West Sussex, England. Its name is believed to derive from the tufts of grass found in the surrounding fields.[1][2]

Located approximately 7 miles (11.3 km) north of Brighton, with a population of 6,821,[3] Hassocks was just a collection of small houses and a coaching house until the 19th century, when work started on the London to Brighton railway.


[edit] History

The area first became a centre of population around 20,000 years ago during the Stone Age. These people were mostly nomadic until approximately 5,000 years ago. Around this time, the first farmers settled on and around the South Downs, which are a mile to the south of the village. They travelled from the continent, bringing with them various types of farming livestock. Evidence of their existence have been found in the form of tools and dwellings around Stonepound Crossroads and in the Parklands area.

Around 600 B.C. the first metal workers came to the area with the beginning of the Bronze Age, and a good example of an Iron Age fort is to be found on the top of the nearby Wolstonbury Hill on the South Downs.

The area was not immune from the Roman invasion and a Roman cemetery was found by Stonepound Crossroads. However, with the demise of the Roman Empire came an influx of Anglo-Saxons and the introduction of stone made buildings, such as the parish church of St. John the Baptist (in the nearby village of Clayton) which is believed to have been built around the 11th Century.

[edit] Origins of the village

Hassocks was put on the map on 2 April 1839 when the first railway line was laid between London and Brighton. Over 6,000 navvies were hired for up to two years building, blasting and clearing rubble beneath the South Downs to create Clayton Tunnel. The tunnel was built at a cost of £90,000 and is a good example of Victorian engineering. It is the second longest tunnel on the London to Brighton Line, some 1¼ miles long and 270 feet below ground. The opening of Hassocks Gate as the railway station in 1841 saw the beginning of the village that is known today. In 1861 there was a collision between two trains, which killed 23 people and injured 176 others.

In the 1930s the Grand Avenue residential area, along with several other roads, was developed on the site of former orchards and the Orchard Pleasure Gardens.

1939 saw the beginning of World War II, and the closure of the cinema in September of that year (it was still going in the 1950s). Evacuations then began from London bringing an additional 1,250 to the population.

[edit] Present day

Another eastward view along Keymer Road, from the railway overbridge.
Another eastward view along Keymer Road, from the railway overbridge.

Today Hassocks has a wide variety of shops including two cafes, a couple of restaurants, (Indian and Chinese) and a well-used community centre called Adastra Hall. This is an expensive commuter area and Hassocks is near the top end for property prices in the region, though it is not quite as expensive as neighbouring Ditchling and Hurstpierpoint. These villages have many picturesque older buildings whereas Hassocks village centre is primarily post WW2.

Two miles west of Hassocks in the adjoining village of Hurstpierpoint lies Danny House, an Elizabethan manor where David Lloyd George came to draw up terms for the armistice at the end of World War I.

On the skyline above Hassocks there are two windmills, named Clayton Windmills but known locally as Jack and Jill. Jack is a tower mill and was built in 1866. Jill, a post mill, was built in Dyke Road in Brighton in 1821 and was later moved to Clayton in 1852 by a team of oxen. The working life of the mills ended in about 1906, and Jack is now in private ownership; however Jill was restored in 1986 and is open to the public from Easter to September, Sundays and Bank Holidays between 2.00pm and 5.00pm. To the North East of the village can be found Oldland Mill.

[edit] Hassocks railway station

Hassocks railway station serves the village. First Capital Connect and Southern provide regular train services to London and Brighton.

[edit] Education

Hassocks Infant School is a maintained infant school for pupils aged 4 to 7. It currently caters for around 180 pupils. The school is centrally located in the village. It has been considerably enlarged in the recent past with three new classrooms, a large hall and a library area being added to the original Victorian building. The Headteacher is Jeannie Hughes who has a teaching staff of six and the Chair of Governors is David Cumberland.

After leaving the Infant School children in the main go onto Windmills School which caters for years 3-6. Secondary education for the village and surrounding areas is looked after by Downlands Community School. Downlands does not have a sixth form and children wishing to do 'A' levels have to travel to a variety of sixth form colleges, including Varndean College, St Paul's Catholic College (Burgess Hill), Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College and Hurstpierpoint College..

[edit] Downlands Community School Sports Hall

A new sports hall and AstroTurf football pitch have recently been constructed at Downlands Community School. It is open to the public on weekday evenings from 5.00pm. Part of the money was donated by the late Chelsea F.C. vice-chairman, Matthew Harding's wife, who lives nearby and whose three sons attended the school.

[edit] Sport

There are several specific football pitches where both junior and senior games are played in Adastra Park which is also the home to Hassocks Cricket Club. In addition there are three municipal tennis courts in Adastra Park and the Weald Tennis and Squash Club on south bank is a significant club in the village. Hassocks Golf Club is an 18 hole, Par 70 golf course (5754 yards, 5260 metres) on the western edge of the village that was opened in 1995 and is the only golf course in the area that is a 'pay and play' club.

[edit] Town Twinning

Hassocks's twin towns are:

[edit] Gallery

All photographs were taken on 26 December 2006 unless otherwise stated.

[edit] References

  1. , Hassocks Parish Council.
  2. , Online Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (see entry for "hassuc").
  3. , United Kingdom Census 2001. Hassocks CP (Parish). Retrieved on 2007-08-06.

[edit] External links

(Source: Wikipedia)
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