Copthorne, West Sussex
Copthorne shown within West Sussex
|OS grid reference|
|Shire county||West Sussex|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Copthorne is a village in the Mid Sussex district of West Sussex, England. It lies close to Gatwick Airport, 25.5 miles (41 km) south of London, 21.5 miles (35 km) north of Brighton, and 36 miles (58 km) northeast of the county town of Chichester. Nearby towns include Crawley to the southwest and East Grinstead to the east. It is the most northerly ecclesiastical parish in the Diocese of Chichester in the Church of England, and together with Crawley Down makes up the civil parish of Worth.
Lying on the borders between the counties West Sussex and Surrey, has contributed to Copthorne's history. There are stories of smugglers from the south coast stashing their goods in the woods around the village, conscious that it was easy to step across the county boundary, and escape any pursuing constabulary.
Similarly, a number of significant boxing prize fights took place in Copthorne Common in the early 19th century. A significant one was the English championship in 1810, between Tom Cribb of Bristol and Tom Molineaux from Virginia, USA.
A Copthorner is traditionally known as a Yellowbelly, and there are a number of stories told as to why this might be. Some talk of villagers wearing their gold strapped around their bellies, but the most likely reason is probably tied to the traditional local trade of charcoal burning, where some of those working stripped to the waist found their skin turned yellow with the smoke. Another possibility has it that the smugglers had to crawl through the mud to avoid detection and thus acquiring muddy yellow bellies.
St. John the Evangelist church
This church is located next to the Copthorne Church of England School in the west of the village.
- "Mid Sussex District Council article on Copthorne" (Website). Mid Sussex District Council. 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2007.
- "The Diocese of Chichester: St John the Evangelist, Copthorne" (Website). The Diocese of Chichester. Retrieved 14 October 2007.[dead link]
- "History of Copthorne village" (Website). Copthorne village website. 2007. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2007.
- "BBC Southern Counties: Glossary of local terms" (Website). BBC. 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2007.
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