Sussex Bonfire Societies
19th century antiquary Mark Antony Lower is credited with starting the "cult of the Sussex Martyrs" aided by an etching by James Henry Hurdis of Richard Woodman and nine others being burnt. This led to the creation of local Bonfire Societies who commemorated these events. For example, seven separate societies organise events in the town of Lewes. On Fifth of November, the town hosts six separate bonfires.
Whereas Guy Fawkes' night in most parts of Great Britain is traditionally commemorated at large public fireworks displays or small family bonfires, towns in Sussex and Kent hold huge gala events with fires, parades and festivals. The tradition has remained strong for more than a century becoming the highlight of the year for many towns and villages in the area. The Bonfire Societies use the events to collect money for local charities.
The logistical requirements required for the events often starts as early as February. This has led the Societies to pool resources and work together on each other's bonfires. This creates associated processions, with large festivals like Lewes and Hastings going on late into the night. Due to the size and number of events and mutual collaboration, it became impractical to hold all the bonfires on the traditional Fifth of November. This resulted in the "bonfire season" to be extended over ten weeks through September, October and November.
The first Sussex Bonfire Societies' event starts with the Uckfield Carnival on the first Saturday of September and concludes with Robertsbridge and Barcombe festivals on the third Saturday of November.
The Mayfield bonfire celebrations commemorate two of the Lewes Martyrs who were from the village and four more martyrs that were executed in the village, on a site opposite the current Colkins Mill Church in Station Road, on 24 September 1556. A stone monument to the Martyrs stands in the church's grounds. Mayfield's torchlit procession and carnival takes place on the Saturday nearest to 24 September.
List of Bonfire Societies 
- Lewes – for more on these societies see Lewes Bonfire.
- Barcombe Bonfire Society 
- Battle (Battel Bonfire Boyes) 
- Burgess Hill Bonfire Society 
- Chailey Bonfire Society
- Chiddingfold Bonfire (Surrey) 
- Crowborough Bonfire & Carnival Society 
- East Hoathly & Halland Bonfire & Carnival Society
- Eastbourne Bonfire Society 
- Edenbridge Bonfire Society (Kent) 
- Ewhurst & Staplecross Bonfire Society 
- Firle Bonfire Society 
- Fletching Bonfire Society
- Hailsham Bonfire Society 
- Hastings Borough Bonfire Society 
- Hawkhurst Hawkhurst Gang Bonfire Society 
- Herstmonceux (The Merrie Harriers) 
- Icklesham (Robin Hood Bonfire Society) 
- Isfield and Little Horsted Bonfire Society
- Lindfield Bonfire Society 
- Littlehampton Bonfire Society 
- Newick Bonfire Society 
- Robertsbridge Bonfire Society 
- Rotherfield & Mark Cross Bonfire Society
- Rye & District Bonfire Society 
- Seaford Bonfire Society 
- Shoreham-by-Sea Bonfire Society 
- South Heighton Bonfire Society 
- Uckfield Bonfire & Carnival Society
- Vines Cross Bonfire Society
- Whatlington Renegades
- Who The Devil Are We Carnival Society
- Maresfield Bonfire Society
Defunct Bonfire Societies 
- Arundel Bonfire Boys Society
- Bognor Bonfire Society
- Brighton Borough Bonfire Society
- Brighton Bonfire Boys
- Bexhill Bonfire Society
- Chichester Bonfire Society
- Clapham and Patching Bonfire Club
- Crawley Bonfire Boys
- Cuckfield Bonfire Society
- Five Ashes Bonfire Society
- Hooe Bonfire Society
- Horsham Bonfire Society
- Landport Bonfire Society
- St Anne's Bonfire Society
- Society based at the Blacksmiths Arms pub.
- Society based at the Jolly Sailor pub.
- Newhaven Carnival Society (which replaced the former two in 1902).
- Frog and Duck Bonfire Society (Newhaven)
- Ridgewood Bonfire Society (Uckfield)
- Worthing Bonfire Society/Bonfire Club
- Shoreham Bonfire Boys
See also 
- Christopher Whittick, ‘Hurdis, James Henry (1800–1857)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 6 Nov 2009
- Lewes Bonfire Council, accessed November 2009
- Cliffe Bonfire Society
- Commercial Square Bonfire Society
- Lewes Borough Bonfire Society
- South Street Bonfire Society
- Waterloo Bonfire Society
- Nevill Juvenile Bonfire Society
- Southover Bonfire Society