Place:Rottingdean, Sussex, England

Alt namesSaltdeansource: settlement within parish
Balsdeansource: deserted hamlet within the parish
Woodingdeansource: settlement within parish until 1933
Coordinates50.815°N 0.065°W
Located inSussex, England
Also located inEast Sussex, 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 it joined in 1928
Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Rottingdean is now a village in the city of Brighton and Hove, in East Sussex, on the south coast of England. As a separate parish before 1928 it included the villages of Saltdean and Woodingdean and bordered the parish of Ovingdean. It has an historic centre, often the subject of picture postcards. Rottingdean is in a dry valley whose sides in the upper reaches are quite steep, and this valley comes right down to the English Channel coast. The population of Rottingdean ward within Brighton and Hove was 13,651 in the UK census of 2011, the village itself had about 3,000 inhabitants.

The parish became part of County Borough of Brighton in 1928. The adjacent village of Woodingdean was formerly (until 1933) part of Rottingdean parish. It was then transferred to Ovingdean. Also formerly in the parish were most of the district of what is now Saltdean (which is now a separate ward). Roedean School, a well-known independent school for girls, is located in Rottingdean.

For most of its history it was a farming community, but from the late 18th century it attracted leisured visitors wanting a genteel alternative to raffish Brighton, among them some names famous in English cultural life. Some, in the late 19th century, notably the painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) and his nephew Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), made it their home. Kipling's old house adjacent to Kipling Gardens is still standing, and the former house of the painter Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949) is currently open to the public as a library and museum.

When farming collapsed in the 1920s, much of the farmland became available for building, and Rottingdean increased significantly in population, but especially in the area known as Saltdean. A large number of smallholdings appeared in the detached part of the parish called Woodingdean.



the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Balsdean is a deserted hamlet in a remote downland valley east of Brighton on record since about 1100. It was formerly a chapelry of the parish of Rottingdean, and its territory touched that of the mother parish only at a single point. Despite its remoteness, it now falls within the boundaries of the city of Brighton and Hove.


the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Saltdean is a coastal village in the city of Brighton and Hove, with part (known as East Saltdean) outside the city boundary in Lewes District. Saltdean is approximately 5 miles east of central Brighton, 5 miles west of Newhaven, and 6 miles south of Lewes. It is bordered by farmland and the South Downs National Park.

Saltdean was open farmland, originally a part of the village of Rottingdean, and almost uninhabited until 1924 when land was sold off for speculative housing and property development. Some of this was promoted by entrepreneur Charles W. Neville, who set up a company to develop the site (he also eventually built nearby town of Peacehaven and parts of Rottingdean).

Saltdean has a mainly shingle beach, fronted by a promenade, the Undercliff Walk, which can be reached directly from the cliff top, by steps from the coast road, or by a subway tunnel from the nearby lido. The buildings nearest the beach are the most architecturally varied, and include some influenced by international trends of the inter-war years, e.g. Bauhaus and Cubism, and there are some which are Spanish influenced.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Saltdean.


the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Woodingdean is an eastern suburb of the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, separated from the main part of the city by downland and the Brighton Racecourse.

The earliest buildings in Woodingdean, apart from scattered farm buildings, were those of the former workhouse school in Warren Road, now the site of the Nuffield Hospital. The grounds contain the capped site of what is claimed to be the deepest hand-dug well in the world, the Woodingdean Water Well, which was created to provide water for the workhouse. It was excavated between 1858 and 1862, and has a depth of 1,285 feet (392 m).

Woodingdean in its present form began to grow up after the First World War in the northern part of the parish of Rottingdean. It consisted of plots of land on the South Downs which had formerly been used for sheep-farming. These were sold by developers (often but not exclusively to returning soldiers) and most were originally smallholdings, e.g. poultry farms.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Woodingdean.

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 Rottingdean
  • British History Online. A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, Lewes Hundred, section on Rottingdean
  • 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 Rottingdean. 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.