The village of Alfriston and the surrounding areas of idyllic Sussex are very popular with tourists, especially in the summer months as there are a range of attractions to see and places to visit. Let’s look at the history of this beautiful village and discover what there is to do within Alfriston.

Old names and history

Alfriston is a village surrounded by the natural beauty of the Downs; these are the chalk hills that extend from the Itchen Valley in Hampshire to Beachy Head near to the large town of Eastbourne. In Saxon times the village was called Aelfrictun, and like many villages up and down the country, the name changed throughout the centuries to become the place we are familiar with today.

As the famous Battle Abbey is nearby, monks and pilgrims used to stay in the popular Star Inn which was once a hostel during the 14th and 15th centuries. This Inn has historical importance within the village as many people used to pass through the area and stay there. During the 16th century, the hostel became what is known as the famous Star Inn – a building that is still standing today. As a result of its rich history, the Star Inn is a well-liked venue amongst tourists, and is popular for weddings and functions. 

St Andrew's Church

Termed The Cathedral of the South Downs, due to its size, St Andrew’s Church, or The Alfriston Parish Church as it’s also known, is located on the mounded village green overlooking the River Cuckmere. The building dates back to the 14th century, but is still in use today. Again, due to its history, the church is a popular attraction for passing and visiting tourists who are looking at the wonderful sites the village has to offer. Although the church is still operating, Alfriston Clergy House was once the old vicarage. However, these grounds are now owned by the National Trust who bought the property in 1896.

The shops of Alfriston

What’s great about Alfriston is that the shops are still local and offer a traditional throwback to older times. There isn’t as many chain stores that you would expect to come across in a number of high streets up and down the country. This is another reason why tourists like to visit. As a result of its historic splendour, there are a number of gift shops, memorabilia and boutique shops, alongside some excellent B&B’s and local pubs too. Whether it’s enjoying a drink in the sun in one of the old style pubs, or visiting the quirky shops, Alfriston has plenty to offer. It’s a truly excellent place for those interested in the history of villages in the UK.

The Arts in Alfriston

In 1931, the popular hymn Morning Has Broken was written in the village by Eleanor Farjeon. It is believed that the song was a nod to the amazing beauty that she observed one morning within the village and surrounding areas. The village is also the main setting for the 1946 novel Uneasy Terms written by crime and thriller author Peter Cheyney.

Due to its idyllic setting the village is now a popular tourist attraction as well as an outstanding location for weddings and other special occasions. So, for a little taste of a quintessential English village, visit Alfriston and experience the history first hand for yourself.