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For the floor cushion, see Hassock.
Keymer Road (E) 1.jpg
Looking eastwards towards the centre of the village
Hassocks is located in West Sussex
Location within West Sussex
Area10.88 km2 (4.20 sq mi) [1]
Population7,667 [1] 2011 Census
• Density627/km2 (1,620/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTQ299154
• London40 miles (64 km) N
Civil parish
  • Hassocks
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtBN6
Dialling code01273
FireWest Sussex
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
UK Parliament
List of places
West Sussex
50°55′24″N 0°09′03″W / 50.923303°N 0.150863°W / 50.923303; -0.150863Coordinates: 50°55′24″N 0°09′03″W / 50.923303°N 0.150863°W / 50.923303; -0.150863

Hassocks is a large village and civil parish in the Mid Sussex District of West Sussex, England. Its name is believed to derive from the tufts of grass found in the surrounding fields.[2][3]

Located approximately 7 miles (11 km) north of Brighton, with a population of 8,319,[4] the area now occupied by Hassocks was just a collection of small houses and a coaching house until the 19th century, when work started on the London to Brighton railway. Hassocks until 2000 was just a postal district and prior to that the name of the railway station. The Parishes were named Clayton and Keymer and it is believed that when the railway came in 1841 the Parish Councils were given the opportunity of naming the station. However they could not agree and eventually the directors of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway gave up waiting and named the station Hassocks Gate themselves.


Hassocks viewed from the South Downs.
Clayton Tunnel to the south of Hassocks, takes the main London to Brighton railway line under the South Downs

Prehistoric up to 11th Century[edit]

The area first became a centre of population around 20,000 years ago during the Stone Age.[citation needed] These people were mostly nomadic until approximately 5,000 years ago. Around this time, the first farmers settled on and around the South Downs, a mile to the south of the village. They travelled from the continent, bringing with them various types of farming livestock.[citation needed] Evidence of their existence has been found in the form of tools and dwellings around Stonepound Crossroads and in the Parklands area.

Around 600 B.C. the first metal workers came to the area with the beginning of the Bronze Age, and a good example of an Iron Age fort is to be found on the top of the nearby Wolstonbury Hill on the South Downs.[5]

The area was colonised by the Romans and a Roman cemetery was found by Stonepound Crossroads. Modern Hassocks is thought to have stood at a Roman crossroads on the London to Brighton Way between Londinium Augusta (modern London) to Novus Portus (possibly modern Portslade) (running north–south) and the Greensand Way Roman road from modern Hardham to a north–south road at Barford Mills north of Lewes and possibly further to Pevensey.[6][7] With the demise of the Roman Empire came an influx of Anglo-Saxons and the eventual reintroduction of stone buildings, such as the parish church of St. John the Baptist in the nearby village of Clayton, which is believed to have been built around the 11th Century.

19th and 20th centuries[edit]

The opening on 21 September 1841 of Hassocks Gate station (named after the nearby toll gate on the turnpike road to Brighton, but now known simply as Hassocks) on the London to Brighton railway saw the beginning of the village that can be seen today. South of the village the railway passes beneath the chalk escarpment of the South Downs through Clayton Tunnel, which at 6,777 feet (2,066 m) is the longest of the five tunnels on the railway. The north entrance of the tunnel is distinguished by a castellated portal with a dwelling house between the two towers. The latter might have been built for the use of the man who had to look after the gas lighting in the tunnel (for several years after opening the interior of the tunnel was whitewashed and lit by gas lamps, presumably to allay the fears of early railway travellers).[8] In 1861 a collision between two trains within the tunnel killed 23 people and injured 176 others.

In the 1930s the Grand Avenue residential area, along with several other roads, was developed by George Ferguson on the site of former orchards and the Orchard Pleasure Gardens. A special feature of the Hassocks Homes development ordered by Mr Ferguson was the planting of flowering cherry trees along the main roads.

1939 saw the beginning of World War II, and the closure of the cinema in September of that year for the duration (it was still going in the 1950s). Evacuations then began from London bringing an additional 1,250 to the population.

Recent history[edit]

Another eastward view along Keymer Road, from the railway overbridge.

Hassocks has a mixture of shops. The village also benefits from having a well-used community centre called Adastra Hall which is used for a wide range of community and private events.

The former council buildings housing the road maintenance department on London Road have been demolished and have become a number of homes, whilst the land given to the people of Hassocks (via East Sussex County Council) by a benefactor, previously used by a children's charity, was built upon in 2014/15 the charity having claimed ownership.[9]

Two miles west of Hassocks in the adjoining village of Hurstpierpoint lies Danny House, an Elizabethan manor where David Lloyd George came to draw up terms for the armistice at the end of World War I.

On the downs above Hassocks there are two windmills, named Clayton Windmills but known locally as "Jack and Jill". Jack is a tower mill and was built in 1866. Jill, a post mill, was built in Dyke Road in Brighton in 1821 and was later moved to Clayton in 1852 by a team of oxen. The working life of the mills ended in about 1906, and Jack is now in private ownership; Jill was restored in 1986 and is open to the public. To the North East of the village can be found Oldland Mill.


Listed buildings[edit]

Hassocks civil parish contains 27 listed buildings. Of these, one is Grade I, three are Grade II* and the remaining 23 buildings are Grade II.

Grade I listed buildings:

Grade II* listed buildings:

Scheduled monuments[edit]

The parish contains one scheduled monument:

  • Round barrows West of Ditchling Beacon (List Entry Number 1005830), four bowl barrows, forming part of a round barrow cemetery. The barrows have been levelled by ploughing but survive as buried remains.[14]

Sites of Special Scientific Interest[edit]

There is a Site of Special Scientific Interest within the parish. Clayton to Offham Escarpment, which stretches from Hassocks in the west, passing through many parishes including Ditchling, to Lewes in the East. This site is of biological importance due to its rare chalk grassland habitat along with its woodland and scrub.[15]

Butcher's Wood[edit]

Butchers Wood

To the south of Hassocks is a small 7.12 hectares (17.6 acres) ancient woodland known as Butcher's Wood. The wood is mainly oak and hazel with a large bluebell ground flora.[16] It was acquired by the Woodland Trust in 1988.

Friars Oak[edit]

On the north-western edge of the village, on the London Road, is the Friars Oak, formerly a coaching inn, adjoining open meadows known as Friars Oak Fields.

Railway station[edit]

Hassocks station looking south
The opening of the new station building on 5 July 2013

Hassocks railway station serves the village. Thameslink and Southern provide regular train services to Brighton, London, Bedford and Cambridge. The station was rebuilt and redeveloped in 2013; the new main station building was opened on 5 July, with the addition of lifts on both platforms completed by December 2013.[17]


Hassocks Infants School. The inlaid clock above the entrance was purchased and installed in 2000 from money raised through a special "Millennium Fund".

Hassocks Infant School is a maintained infant school for pupils aged 4 to 7 and built in 1877 as a Victorian Board School. It currently caters for around 270 pupils, with three classes in each year group. The school is centrally located in the village. It has been considerably enlarged with a number of additions to the original Victorian building including a large hall and six new classrooms. The previous Headteacher, Jeannie Hughes retired after 13 years and the current Headteacher is Adrian Bates-Holland. The Chair of Governors is Becki Jupp.[18][19] [20][21]

Junior education in the village is provided by Windmills Junior School.[22][23]

Secondary education for the village and surrounding areas is provided by Downlands Community School. Downlands does not have a sixth form and children wishing to do 'A' levels have to travel to a variety of sixth form colleges, including Varndean College, St Paul's Catholic College (Burgess Hill), Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College and Hurstpierpoint College. Downlands Community School has a sports hall and AstroTurf football pitch funded by the late Chelsea F.C. vice-chairman Matthew Harding's wife.[citation needed][24]


Adastra Park, the now demolished Cricket Pavilion.
New community pavilion

In late 2010 the 30-year-old sports pavilion was demolished to make way for a new 'green' building designed by Ecotecture[25] and completed in April 2011. The new building is state of the art and built to very stringent airtight tolerances utilising the latest air source heat pump technologies.[26]

There are several specific football pitches in Adastra Park where both junior and senior games are played and the park is also the home to Keymer & Hassocks Cricket Club the primary users of the sports pavilion. Adastra Park also has a skate park and two playgrounds suitable for children of all ages. A 5 a-side football competition often takes place in August in the park, in which teams from the whole of the south east compete in a day long tournament.

Hassocks F.C. play at the nearby Beacon Ground with the first team playing in SCFL Div One.[27] In addition there are three municipal tennis courts in Adastra Park and the 'Weald Tennis and Squash Club' on South Bank is a significant club in the village.[28]

Hassocks Sports Centre is situated within the grounds of Downlands Community School and is operated by Freedom Leisure. Facilities include an indoor sports hall, a multi-purpose dance studio, a full sized 4g astro turf football pitch and a gym.[29]

Neighbourhood plan[edit]

The Parish Council [30] finished producing the Hassocks Neighbourhood Plan and submitted it to Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) in June 2016.[31] Neighbourhood Planning Regulations stipulate that once a Draft Plan has been submitted to, and accepted by, the Local Planning Authority, control of the Plan must pass to them. MSDC have now stopped work on the Hassocks Neighbourhood Plan whilst it waits for a decision on the number of homes required for the whole of Mid Sussex District.[32] In 2019 a Revised Neighbourhood Plan was submitted to Mid Sussex District Council, this was subsequently accepted by Mid Sussex District Council and they carried out a public consultation on the Plan in summer 2019. In March 2020 there was a referendum held on the new plan and this was supported by 94% of those that voted.[33]

Twin towns[edit]

Hassocks's twin towns are:

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2001 Census: West Sussex – Population by Parish" (PDF). West Sussex County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2009.
  2. ^ "Hassocks Parish Council".
  3. ^ "Online Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (see entry for "hassuc")".[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Hassocks Demographics (Mid Sussex, England)".
  5. ^ "Mid Sussex District Official Guide". Localauthoritypublishing.co.uk. Archived from the original on 16 December 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  6. ^ Togodumnus (Kevan White). "Hassocks". Roman-britain.org. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  7. ^ [1] The course of the London to Brighton Roman road south of Burgess Hill by Glen Shields p86 Retrieved 26 October 2008
  8. ^ Turner, John Howard (1977). The London Brighton and South Coast Railway 1 Origins and Formation. Batsford. pp. 122, 123, 141–2. ISBN 0-7134-0275-X.
  9. ^ "Stafford House trustees release statement".
  10. ^ Historic England. "The Parish Church of St John the Baptist (1286147)". National Heritage List for England.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Ockley Manor (1285397)". National Heritage List for England.
  12. ^ Historic England. "Clayton Priory (1354811)". National Heritage List for England.
  13. ^ Historic England. "Clayton Windmills and the Millhouse Attached (1354812)". National Heritage List for England.
  14. ^ Historic England. "Round barrows W of Ditchling Beacon (1005830)". National Heritage List for England.
  15. ^ "Natural England – SSSI (Clayton to Offham Escarpment)". English Nature. Retrieved 5 October 2008.
  16. ^ "Butcher's Wood – Hassocks". Our woods in focus. Woodland Trust. Archived from the original on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2009.
  17. ^ "Plans revealed for new station at Hassocks : Southern". Southernrailway.com. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  18. ^ about Archived 10 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ http://www2.westsussex.gov.uk/ds/mis/250712es10.pdf
  20. ^ "2003 Ofsted report". Ofsted.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  21. ^ 2007 Ofsted report[dead link]
  22. ^ "The Windmills Junior School - Home". www.windmills.w-sussex.sch.uk.
  23. ^ enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk, Ofsted Communications Team. (5 November 2010). "Find an inspection report". reports.ofsted.gov.uk.
  24. ^ enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk, Ofsted Communications Team. (5 November 2010). "Find an inspection report". reports.ofsted.gov.uk.
  25. ^ "Welcome to Ecotecture". Ecotecture.co.uk. 25 March 2011. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  26. ^ News – Hassocks Parish Council Archived 14 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "Hassocks Football Club – Official Website of the Robins". Hassocksfc.net. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  28. ^ "The Weald Lawn Tennis Club and Squash Racquets Club | Hassocks, West Sussex". www.the-weald.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Hassocks Sports Centre | Freedom Leisure". Freedom Leisure. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  30. ^ "Hassocks Parish Council". Hassocks Parish Council.
  31. ^ "NP Documents". Hassocks Parish Council. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  32. ^ "Latest News". Hassocks Parish Council. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  33. ^ "Latest News". Hassocks Parish Council. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  34. ^ "About Us – Hassocks Amenity Association". Hassocksamenity.org.uk. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  35. ^ "Births, Marriages, and Deaths". Sussex Agricultural Express. 26 March 1904. p. 12.
  36. ^ "Hassocksfc.net :: Hassocks Football Club Information". www.hassocksfc.net. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  37. ^ "[List of deaths]" (PDF). London Gazette: 3636. 19 March 1974. [Name] Plomer, William Charles Franklyn. [Address] 43 Adastra Avenue, Hassocks, Hassocks, Sussex. [Description] Author and poet. [DOD] 26th September 1973.

Historical Map and Guide – Roman Britain by the Ordnance Survey (3rd, 4th & 5th eds., 1956, 1994 & 2001); Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names by A.D. Mills (Oxford 1998).

External links[edit]