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Cuckfield High Street
Cuckfield shown within West Sussex
|Area||4.32 km2 (1.67 sq mi) |
|Population||3,266  2001 Census|
|– density||757/km2 (1,960/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|– London||34 miles (55 km) N|
|Shire county||West Sussex|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||Haywards Heath|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Mid Sussex|
Cuckfield (// KUUK-feeld) is a large village and civil parish in the Mid Sussex District of West Sussex, England, on the southern slopes of the Weald. It lies 34 miles (55 km) south of London, 13 miles (21 km) north of Brighton, and 31 miles (50 km) east northeast of the county town of Chichester. Nearby towns include Haywards Heath to the southeast and Burgess Hill to the south. It is surrounded on the other sides by the parish of Ansty and Staplefield formerly known as Cuckfield Rural.
Before the modern local government system came into operation in the late 19th century it was described as being in the hundred of Buttinghill, in the rape of Lewes. The civil parish covers an area of 431.58 ha (1066 acres), and had a population of 3,266 persons in the 2001 census.
The origin of the name, Cuckfield (earlier spelled Kukefeld, Cucufeld, and Cucufelda), is debated but it is generally associated with the cuckoo which is the village emblem.
The village grew as a market town; and an important coaching stop between London and Brighton, since it lay on the turnpike. In 1820, 50 coaches a day were passing through; but when the railway to Brighton was to be constructed in the 1840s, local landowners objected to its projected route: it was therefore built through neighbouring Haywards Heath instead. The village lost its importance as a result. Today the A272 road also bypasses the village centre. It is however home to Warden Park Specialist School one of the main secondary schools serving the Haywards Heath area and to Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School, Cuckfield, one of the oldest schools in the United Kingdom.
It became an urban district in 1894 under the Local Government Act 1894, and was greatly enlarged in 1934 under a County Review Order by adding part of Chailey Rural District, Cuckfield Rural District (including the parish of Lindfield) and Haywards Heath Urban District.
The Parish Council, Cuckfield Museum and village library reside within the Queen's Hall, built in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The parish church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, has Norman foundations, although the building itself is 13th century. The lych gates are listed buildings and several of the stained glass windows as well as the pulpit and the ceiling's painting were designed by Charles Eamer Kempe (1837–1907).
In 1822, Mary Ann Mantell, wife of Dr. Gideon Mantell, found the first known iguanodon fossils among many others close to Cuckfield at Whitemans Green, where a monument to him now stands though the quarry from where he acquired them is long gone. He also features in the town's museum. Other attractions include the Elizabethan stately home, Cuckfield Park, to the west of the village. Cuckfield Park is reputedly haunted by its former resident Anne Pritchard Sergison, who was known to the locals as 'Wicked Dame Sergison', and who died in 1748. Bonfire Night celebrations are held here. Another Elizabethan house, Ockenden Manor, is a hotel and restaurant which has had one star from the Michelin Guide since 2001.
Cuckfield is also known locally for its idiosyncratic system of mayoral voting; unlimited numbers of votes can be purchased for the price of one penny each, with the winner receiving the most votes. The position is purely honorary and the money raised supports local charities.
- Ross Chisholm (born 1990 in Cuckfield) – Harlequins rugby player.
- Hermione Cockburn (born 1973) – Geologist and broadcaster, was brought up in the village.
- Tommy Cook (1901–50) – Sussex cricketer and Brighton & Hove Albion and England footballer was born in Cuckfield.
- Alfred Denning, Baron Denning (1899–1999), resident from 1935 until 1963.
- Dom Dwyer (born 1990 in Cuckfield) – Footballer who plays for Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer.
- Tara Fitzgerald (born 1967 in Cuckfield) – actress.
- The brothers Edward Fox, James Fox (both actors) and Robert Fox (a producer) all grew up in the village; their mother died there in 1999.
- Sally Geeson (born 1950) – actress, best remembered for her role in the British sitcom Bless This House with Sid James was born in the village.
- Mike Hazlewood (1941–2001) – singer, songwriter and composer, born in Cuckfield.
- Charles Sergison (1655–1732), owner of Cuckfield Park.
- Katie Stewart (1934–2013) – British cookery writer, lived for many decades and died in Cuckfield.
- Nick Van Eede (born 1958 in Cuckfield) – Lead vocalist and co-founder of the British-based band Cutting Crew.
- Thomas Vicars (1589–1638) – 17th-century theologian, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Cuckfield (1622–1638).
- James Vince (born 1991 in Cuckfield) – Hampshire and England cricketer.
- "2001 Census: West Sussex – Population by Parish" (PDF). West Sussex County Council. Retrieved 7 April 2009.
- Burton, Alex (May 1998). "Cuckfield". A Taphonomic Study of the Wealden Beds of Southern Britain. Cambridge University. Retrieved 10 October 2015. The author writes: It is also of note here that there is a great deal of material collected by Mantell recorded in museum catalogues simply as having come from Tilgate Forest. It is highly likely that all of this came from Cuckfield (S.D. Chapman, pers. comm.). The fact that this has not been specifically recorded may reflect the fact that in his publications Mantell was habitually no more specific, perhaps because he did not consider it necessary. By saying that his fossils had come from Tilgate Forest, Mantell was actually being quite specific about the stratigraphic unit and area they had come from. The strata exposed in the quarry at Whiteman’s Green were collectively referred to by Mantell as ‘Strata of Tilgate Forest’.
- Dean, Dennis R. (1999). Gideon Mantell and the Discovery of Dinosaurs. Cambridge University Press. p. 48.
In actuality, however, his famous Tilgate Forest consisted of two adjacent quarries at Whiteman's Green just north of Cuckfield.
- Lawrence, Ruth. "Ghostly Stories from The Cuckfield : Sussex Living Magazine". Sussex Living Magazine. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- "Aumale". Cuckfield village life online. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "Cuckfield European Association". Cuckfield Village life online. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "TV's Hermione Cockburn supports plastic bag free Cuckfield campaign". West Sussex Gazette. 13 July 2010.
- "Thomas Cook | England Cricket | Cricket Players and Officials". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- Interview by Jonathan Sale (27 March 2008). "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Edward Fox, actor – Profiles – People". The Independent. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- "Sally Geeson". Movieweb.com. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- "Vicars of Holy Trinity Church". Cuckfield Compendium. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- "James Vince | England Cricket | Cricket Players and Officials". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
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