In the heart of Sussex, below the South Downs Way, lies Kingston-near-Lewes, dominated by downlands and surrounded by vast sweeping fields. How has its medieval past shaped the borders and boundaries of its present? How did the village adapt as its institutions, organisation and technology developed with time? In this beautifully written history, Charles Cooper explores the development of the village from the time of the Norman Conquest to the end of the nineteenth century. This is a fascinating micro-history of a place that mirrors many of the changes taking place in wider England. Cooper charts the transformation of the village under its Norman overlords, the rise of yeomen and gentlemen in the sixteenth century, and the final ascendancy of the Goring family of Wiston, who by the nineteenth century had become the dominant landowners in the area. He brings the people of the village alive through the ages in a fascinating blend of economic and cultural history, uncovering the lives of ordinary men and women as well as those of priests, gentlemen and peers.
"A Village in Sussex" is a masterly entry point into the history of rural England and the life of one of its most attractively situated villages.
Charles Cooper (1936-2005) was a distinguished economist, specialising in development studies. He became Deputy Director and Professorial Fellow of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex in 1977, when he lived at Kingston-near-Lewes. In 1981 he worked as Professor of Development Economics at The Hague, ending his career as founder-director of the United Nations University Institute in Maastricht. His book is informed by a deep love of Kingston and an understanding of social and economic developments in many countries.