Place:Ovingdean, Sussex, England

Coordinates50.814°N 0.001°W
Located inSussex, England
See alsoLewes Rape, Sussex, Englandrape in which it was located
Younsmere Hundred, Sussex, Englandhundred in which it was located
Newhaven Rural, Sussex, Englandrural district 1894-1928
Brighton, Sussex, Englandcounty borough of which it was part 1928-1974
Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Ovingdean is a small former agricultural village and also a former civil parish now located on the east side of City of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, England. It was absorbed into the county borough of Brighton in 1928.

It has expanded through the growth of residential streets on its eastern and southern sides, and now has a population of about 1,200. Some of the current housing replaces earlier shacks of the type once found in the communities of Woodingdean and Peacehaven (both in Rottingdean), built after the First World War. It almost abuts the parish of Rottingdean to the southeast, but still has open downland on its other sides, on which may be found a golf course, Brighton racecourse, and some residual farmland.

The village has existed since Anglo-Saxon times. Little seems to have disturbed its peace since. It is sometimes said to have been attacked by French raiders in the known incursion of 1377, but there is no hard evidence for this. The historic village is a conservation area with its focus the 11th century St Wulfram's Church.

Many homes in the conservation area are converted farm buildings, and the most prominent houses are Ovingdean Grange and Ovingdean Hall. The Hall is a gentry mansion which was the birthplace of Charles Eamer Kempe (1837-1907), the stained glass window designer.

Among those buried in the churchyard are Charles Kempe, the inventor and electrical engineer Magnus Volk (1851–1937), and the distinguished lawyer Helena Normanton (1882-1957), one of the first female barristers and Queens Counsels. Also in the graveyard is a monument to the family of pioneer female medical student Sophia Jex-Blake (1840-1912), who is buried some 25 miles away in Rotherfield.

Just outside the historic boundary of Ovingdean is Ian Fraser House, better known as St. Dunstan's, a famous residential and rehabilitation centre for blind ex-servicemen.

Research Tips

  • The East Sussex Record Office, The Keep, Woollards Way, Brighton, BN1 9BP, United Kingdom (email holds material for the Archdeaconry of Lewes, present-day East Sussex, and therefore generally holds historical material for East Sussex parishes only. An on-line catalogue for some of the collections held by the East Sussex Record Office (ESRO) is available under the Access to Archives (A2A) project (a nationwide facility housed at The National Archives, Kew).
  • The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies' Sussex Collection (PDF). This is a 9-page PDF naming the files relating to Sussex in their collection-a possible first step in a course of research.
  • Further resources may be found on GENUKI's main page on Sussex.
  • The National Library of Scotland has a website which provides maps taken from the Ordnance Survey England & Wales One-Inch to the Mile series of 1892-1908 as well as equivalent maps for Scotland itself. The immediate presentation is a "help" screen and a place selection screen prompting the entry of a location down to town, village or parish level. These screens can be removed by a click of the "X". The map is very clear and shows parish and county boundaries and many large buildings and estates that existed at the turn of the 20th century. Magnification can be adjusted and an "overlay feature" allows inspection of the area today along with that of 1900. The specific map from the series can be viewed as a whole ("View this map") and this allows the inspection of the map legend (found in the left hand bottom corner. Becoming familiar with the various facilities of these maps is well worth the trouble.
  • GENUKI on Ovingdean
  • British History Online. A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, Lewes Hundred, section on Ovingdean
  • Maps of the local area are to be found on the WeRelate page for Lewes Rape and on that for Newhaven Rural District.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Ovingdean. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.