Clayton, West Sussex

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Coordinates: 50°54′37″N 0°09′06″W / 50.91041°N 0.15173°W / 50.91041; -0.15173

Clayton
Claychurch1.jpg
Church of St. John the Baptist
Clayton is located in West Sussex
Clayton
Clayton
 Clayton shown within West Sussex
OS grid reference TQ300139
    - London  41 miles (66 km) N 
Civil parish Hassocks
District Mid Sussex
Shire county West Sussex
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town HASSOCKS
Postcode district BN6
Dialling code 01273
Police Sussex
Fire West Sussex
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Arundel and South Downs
List of places
UK
England
West Sussex

Clayton is a small village at the foot of the South Downs in the Mid Sussex district of West Sussex, England.[1] It lies 41 miles (66 km) south of London, 6 miles (10 km) north of Brighton, and 28 miles (45 km) east northeast of the county town of Chichester. Other nearby towns include Burgess Hill to the north and Lewes, the county town of East Sussex east southeast. The Clayton Windmills, known as "Jack and Jill" sit on the hill above the village.

Clayton Tunnel[edit]

Clayton Tunnel, North Entrance

Clayton Tunnel, the longest tunnel (1¼ miles) on the London to Brighton railway line, begins in Clayton and runs up to 270 feet (82 m) below ground. The tunnel was built in the 1840s and cost £90,000. The farmer who owned the land would not grant access to the tunnel unless an edifice was built at its entrance, so the railway company built a castellated entrance around the tunnel.

In 1861 there was a collision at Clayton Tunnel between two trains killing 25 people and injuring 176 others, it was to become known as the Clayton Tunnel rail crash.

Parish church[edit]

The little parish church of St. John the Baptist is an Anglo-Saxon church that has a squat bell turret of shingles with a wrought iron weather vane dated 1781. The church has some magnificent wall murals, for example the Last Judgement, from the mid-12th century (1150–1200). These murals, unique in England for their date and extent, were first brought to light during repair work in 1893 and were probably painted by artists from St Pancras Priory in Lewes.[2][3] Sir Norman Hartnell, who designed Queen Elizabeth II's wedding gown and coronation dress and served as couturier to Elizabeth II (and previously to The Queen Mother) is buried in the churchyard.

Recreation[edit]

For the size of village there is a large recreation ground located at the west end of the village with a village hall, children's play area and two football pitches.

Notable people[edit]

Katie Johnson, an actress best known for her acclaimed performance as the elderly Mrs Wilberforce in the 1955 film The Ladykillers, was born here in 1878.

London to Brighton Way Roman road[edit]

The London to Brighton Way is thought to have passed close to Clayton as it climbed the South Downs escarpment.

New Road[edit]

The B2112 from Clayton to Ditchling. A branch of the turnpike road from New Chapple, Surrey, to Brighton built after an act of parliament, 1853.[4]

References[edit]

Gallery[edit]