Empress Matilda known as the Empress Maude, was one of the claimants to the English throne during the civil war known as the Anarchy. The daughter of King Henry I of England, she moved to Germany as a child when she married the future Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, she travelled with her husband into Italy in 1116, was controversially crowned in St. Peter's Basilica, acted as the imperial regent in Italy. Matilda and Henry had no children, when Henry died in 1125, the crown was claimed by Lothair II, one of his political enemies. Meanwhile, Matilda's younger brother, William Adelin, died in the White Ship disaster of 1120, leaving England facing a potential succession crisis. On Emperor Henry V's death, Matilda was recalled to Normandy by her father, who arranged for her to marry Geoffrey of Anjou to form an alliance to protect his southern borders. Henry I had no further legitimate children and nominated Matilda as his heir, making his court swear an oath of loyalty to her and her successors, but the decision was not popular in the Anglo-Norman court.
Henry died in 1135, but Matilda and Geoffrey faced opposition from the Norman barons and were unable to pursue their claims. The throne was instead taken by Matilda's cousin Stephen of Blois, who enjoyed the backing of the English Church. Stephen took steps to solidify his new regime but faced threats both from neighbouring powers and from opponents within his kingdom. In 1139, Matilda crossed to England to take the kingdom by force, supported by her half-brother, Robert of Gloucester, her uncle, King David I of Scotland, while Geoffrey focused on conquering Normandy. Matilda's forces captured Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln in 1141, but the Empress's attempt to be crowned at Westminster collapsed in the face of bitter opposition from the London crowds; as a result of this retreat, Matilda was never formally declared Queen of England, was instead titled the Lady of the English. Robert was captured following the Rout of Winchester in 1141, Matilda agreed to exchange him for Stephen. Matilda became trapped in Oxford Castle by Stephen's forces that winter, was forced to escape across the frozen River Isis at night to avoid capture.
The war degenerated into a stalemate, with Matilda controlling much of the south-west of England, Stephen the south-east and the Midlands. Large parts of the rest of the country were in the hands of independent barons. Matilda returned to Normandy, now in the hands of her husband, in 1148, leaving her eldest son to continue the campaign in England, she settled her court near Rouen and for the rest of her life concerned herself with the administration of Normandy, acting on Henry's behalf when necessary. In the early years of her son's reign, she provided political advice and attempted to mediate during the Becket controversy, she worked extensively with the Church, founding Cistercian monasteries, was known for her piety. She was buried under the high altar at Bec Abbey after her death in 1167. Matilda was born to Henry I, King of England and Duke of Normandy, his first wife, Matilda of Scotland around 7 February 1102 at Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire. Henry was the youngest son of William the Conqueror, who had invaded England in 1066, creating an empire stretching into Wales.
The invasion had created an Anglo-Norman elite, many with estates spread across both sides of the English Channel. These barons had close links to the kingdom of France, a loose collection of counties and smaller polities, under only the minimal control of the king, her mother Matilda was the daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland, a member of the West Saxon royal family, a descendant of Alfred the Great. For Henry, marrying Matilda of Scotland had given his reign increased legitimacy, for her it had been an opportunity for high status and power in England. Matilda had a younger, legitimate brother, William Adelin, her father's relationships with numerous mistresses resulted in around 22 illegitimate siblings. Little is known about Matilda's earliest life, but she stayed with her mother, was taught to read, was educated in religious morals. Among the nobles at her mother's court were her uncle David the King of Scotland, aspiring nobles such as her half-brother Robert of Gloucester, her cousin Stephen of Blois and Brian Fitz Count.
In 1108 Henry left Matilda and her brother in the care of Anselm, the Archbishop of Canterbury, while he travelled to Normandy. There is no detailed description of Matilda's appearance. In late 1108 or early 1109, Henry V the King of the Romans, sent envoys to Normandy proposing that Matilda marry him, wrote separately to her mother on the same matter; the match was attractive to the English king: his daughter would be marrying into one of the most prestigious dynasties in Europe, reaffirming his own questionable, status as the youngest son of a new royal house, gaining him an ally in dealing with France. In return, Henry V would receive a dowry of 10,000 marks, which he needed to fund an expedition to Rome for his coronation as the Holy Roman Emperor; the final details of the deal were negotiated at Westminster in June 1109 and, as a result of her changing status, Matilda attended a royal council for the first time that October. She left England in February 1110 to make her way to Germany; the couple met at Liège before travelling to Utrecht where, on 10 April, they became betrothed.
On 25 July Matilda was crowned Queen of the Romans in a ceremony at Mainz. There
Edward III of England
Edward III was King of England and Lord of Ireland from January 1327 until his death. Edward III transformed the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe, his long reign of 50 years was the second longest in medieval England and saw vital developments in legislation and government, in particular the evolution of the English parliament, as well as the ravages of the Black Death. Edward was crowned at age fourteen after his father was deposed by his mother, Isabella of France, her lover Roger Mortimer. At age seventeen he led a successful coup d'état against Mortimer, the de facto ruler of the country, began his personal reign. After a successful campaign in Scotland he declared himself rightful heir to the French throne in 1337; this started. Following some initial setbacks, this first phase of the war went exceptionally well for England; this phase would become known as the Edwardian War. Edward's years were marked by international failure and domestic strife as a result of his inactivity and poor health.
Edward III was a temperamental man but capable of unusual clemency. He was in many ways a conventional king. Admired in his own time and for centuries after, Edward was denounced as an irresponsible adventurer by Whig historians such as William Stubbs; this view has been challenged and modern historians credit him with some significant achievements. Edward was born at Windsor Castle on 13 November 1312, was referred to as Edward of Windsor in his early years; the reign of his father, Edward II, was a problematic period of English history. One source of contention was the king's inactivity, repeated failure, in the ongoing war with Scotland. Another controversial issue was the king's exclusive patronage of a small group of royal favourites; the birth of a male heir in 1312 temporarily improved Edward II's position in relation to the baronial opposition. To bolster further the independent prestige of the young prince, the king had him created Earl of Chester at only twelve days of age. In 1325, Edward II was faced with a demand from his brother-in-law, Charles IV of France, to perform homage for the English Duchy of Aquitaine.
Edward was reluctant to leave the country, as discontent was once again brewing domestically over his relationship with the favourite Hugh Despenser the Younger. Instead, he had his son Edward created Duke of Aquitaine in his place and sent him to France to perform the homage; the young Edward was accompanied by his mother Isabella, the sister of King Charles, was meant to negotiate a peace treaty with the French. While in France, Isabella conspired with the exiled Roger Mortimer to have Edward deposed. To build up diplomatic and military support for the venture, Isabella had her son engaged to the twelve-year-old Philippa of Hainault. An invasion of England was launched and Edward II's forces deserted him completely. Isabella and Mortimer summoned a parliament, the king was forced to relinquish the throne to his son, proclaimed king in London on 25 January 1327; the new king was crowned as Edward III at Westminster Abbey on 1 February at the age of 14. It was not long before the new reign met with other problems caused by the central position at court of Roger Mortimer, now the de facto ruler of England.
Mortimer used his power to acquire noble estates and titles, his unpopularity grew with the humiliating defeat by the Scots at the Battle of Stanhope Park and the ensuing Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton, signed with the Scots in 1328. The young king came into conflict with his guardian. Mortimer knew his position in relation to the king was precarious and subjected Edward to disrespect; the tension increased after Edward and Philippa, who had married at York Minster on 24 January 1328, had a son on 15 June 1330. Edward decided to take direct action against Mortimer. Aided by his close companion William Montagu and a small number of other trusted men, Edward took Mortimer by surprise at Nottingham Castle on 19 October 1330. Mortimer was executed and Edward III's personal reign began. Edward III was not content with the peace agreement made in his name, but the renewal of the war with Scotland originated in private, rather than royal initiative. A group of English magnates known as The Disinherited, who had lost land in Scotland by the peace accord, staged an invasion of Scotland and won a great victory at the Battle of Dupplin Moor in 1332.
They attempted to install Edward Balliol as king of Scotland in David II's place, but Balliol was soon expelled and was forced to seek the help of Edward III. The English king responded by laying siege to the important border town of Berwick and defeated a large relieving army at the Battle of Halidon Hill. Edward reinstated Balliol on the throne and received a substantial amount of land in southern Scotland; these victories proved hard to sustain, as forces loyal to David II regained control of the country. In 1338, Edward was forced to agree to a truce with the Scots. One reason for the change of strategy towards Scotland was a growing concern for the relationship between England and France; as long as Scotland and France were in an alliance, the English were faced with the prospect of fighting a war on two fronts. The French carried out raids on English coastal towns, leading to rumour
Earl of Arundel
Earl of Arundel is an earldom and the oldest extant peerage in the Peerage of England. It is held by the Duke of Norfolk, is used by his heir apparent as a courtesy title, it was created c. 1138 for the Norman baron Sir William d'Aubigny. Its origin was the earlier grant by Henry I to his second wife Adeliza of the forfeited "honour" of Arundel, which included the castle and a large portion of Sussex. After his death she married William, who thus became master of the lands, who from about the year 1141 is variously styled earl of Sussex, of Chichester, or of Arundel, his first known appearance as earl is at Christmas 1141. Until the mid-13th century, the earls were frequently known as Earl of Sussex, until this title fell into disuse. At about the same time, the earldom fell to the Breton FitzAlan Family, a younger branch of which went on to become the Stuart Family, which ruled Scotland. A tradition arose that the holder of Arundel Castle should automatically be Earl of Arundel, this was formally confirmed by King Henry VI.
An Act of Parliament in 1627 confirmed this designation, retrospectively applied the earldom to the Lords of Arundel, some authorities holding that the earldom stretched back to the reign of Richard I. However, this designation was not always followed; some of the Lords of Arundel were never addressed as earl during their lifetime, but are counted and numbered as earls here. Other sources may not include some of the earls listed below, may consider the earldom to have been created more than once. In his 1834 book on the Earls of Arundel, M. A. Tierney maintains that the first incarnation of the earldom was with the House of Montgomery. Roger of Montgomery, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury was one of William the Conqueror's top generals, William bestowed on him, amongst several hundred other manors, the property at Arundel, with the charge to fortify it with a castle. Montgomery is believed to have built the motte that survives to this day, is thought to have built a wooden keep on it, overlooking the river Arun.
Montgomery and two of his sons are counted by many as being the first incarnation of the earldom, but are not counted amongst the earls. In 1580 the 12th Earl, last FitzAlan to hold the title, died without a male heir, his daughter Mary FitzAlan had married the attainted 4th Duke of Norfolk, the title passed to their son, Philip Howard, The dukedom was restored to his son following the accession of King James I. The 5th Earl of Arundel, the 5th Howard to hold the title, was restored to the principal Howard title of Duke of Norfolk in 1660, the title has descended with that Dukedom since. In 1842, by Royal Warrant, Henry Howard, 14th Duke of Norfolk and 13th Earl of Arundel, his siblings, assumed the surname FitzAlan-Howard, used by the family line to today. William d'Aubigny, 1st Earl of Arundel William d'Aubigny, 2nd Earl of Arundel William d'Aubigny, 3rd Earl of Arundel William d'Aubigny, 4th Earl of Arundel Hugh d'Aubigny, 5th Earl of Arundel John FitzAlan 6th Earl of Arundel John FitzAlan, 7th Earl of Arundel Richard FitzAlan, 8th Earl of Arundel, received a writ in 1289, at his majority, summoning him to Parliament.
Richard FitzAlan, 1st or 8th Earl of Arundel Edmund FitzAlan, 2nd or 9th Earl of Arundel Richard FitzAlan, 3rd or 10th Earl of Arundel Richard FitzAlan, 4th or 11th Earl of Arundel Thomas FitzAlan, 5th or 12th Earl of Arundel John FitzAlan, 6th or 13th Earl of Arundel John FitzAlan, 7th or 14th Earl of Arundel Humphrey FitzAlan, 8th or 15th Earl of Arundel William FitzAlan, 9th or 16th Earl of Arundel Thomas FitzAlan, 10th or 17th Earl of Arundel William FitzAlan, 11th or 18th Earl of Arundel Henry FitzAlan, 12th or 19th Earl of Arundel Philip Howard, 13th or 20th Earl of Arundel Thomas Howard, 14th or 21st Earl of Arundel Henry Howard, 15th or 22nd Earl of Arundel Thomas Howard, 16th or 23rd Earl of Arundel Thereafter the Earldom of Arundel has been held by the Dukes of Norfolk. The 18th Duke of Norfolk is the current holder. Thomas Howard, 5th Duke of Norfolk Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk Henry Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk Thomas Howard, 8th Duke of Norfolk Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk Charles Howard, 10th Duke of Norfolk Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk Bernard Howard, 12th Duke of Norfolk Henry Howard, 13th Duke of Norfolk Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 14th Duke of Norfolk Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk Miles Fitzalan-Howard, 17th Duke of Norfolk Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk The heir apparent is Henry Fitzalan-Howard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey.
Next in line of succession are Arundel's brothers, Lords Thomas and Philip Fitzalan-Howard
Henry IV of England
Henry IV known as Henry Bolingbroke, was King of England from 1399 to 1413, asserted the claim of his grandfather, Edward III, to the Kingdom of France. Henry was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, his father, John of Gaunt, was the fourth son of King Edward III and enjoyed a position of considerable influence during much of the reign of his nephew King Richard II whom Henry deposed. Henry's mother was Blanche of Lancaster, heiress to the great Lancashire estates of her father Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster. Henry, having succeeded his father as 2nd Duke of Lancaster, when he became king thus founded the Lancaster branch of the Plantagenet English monarchy, he was the first King of England since the Norman Conquest whose mother tongue was English rather than French. One of Henry's elder sisters, Philippa of Lancaster, married King John I of Portugal, the other, Elizabeth of Lancaster, was the mother of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter, his younger half-sister Katherine of Lancaster, the daughter of his father's second wife, Constance of Castile, was queen consort of the King of Castile.
He had four natural half-siblings born of Katherine Swynford his sisters' governess his father's longstanding mistress and third wife. These four illegitimate children were given the surname Beaufort from their birthplace at the Château de Beaufort in Champagne, France. Henry's relationship with his stepmother, Katherine Swynford, was a positive one, but his relationship with the Beauforts varied. In youth he seems to have been close to all of them, but rivalries with Henry and Thomas Beaufort proved problematic after 1406. Ralph Neville, who had married Henry's half-sister Joan Beaufort, remained one of his strongest supporters, so did his eldest half-brother John Beaufort though Henry revoked Richard II's grant to John of a marquessate. Thomas Swynford, a son from Katherine's first marriage to Sir Hugh Swynford, was another loyal companion. Thomas was Constable of Pontefract Castle. Henry's half-sister Joan Beaufort was the grandmother of Edward IV and Richard III. Joan's daughter Cecily married Richard, Duke of York and had several offspring, including Edward IV and Richard III, making Joan the grandmother of two Yorkist kings of England.
Henry experienced a rather more inconsistent relationship with King Richard II. First cousins and childhood playmates, they were admitted together to the Order of the Garter in 1377, but Henry participated in the Lords Appellants' rebellion against the king in 1387. After regaining power, Richard did not punish Henry, although he did execute or exile many of the other rebellious barons. In fact, Richard elevated Henry from Earl of Derby to Duke of Hereford. Henry spent the full year of 1390 supporting the unsuccessful siege of Vilnius by Teutonic Knights with 70 to 80 household knights. During this campaign he bought captured Lithuanian women and children and took them back to Königsberg to be converted. Henry's second expedition to Lithuania in 1392 illustrates the financial benefits to the Order of these guest crusaders, his small army consisted of over 100 men, including longbow archers and six minstrels, at a total cost to the Lancastrian purse of £4,360. Despite the efforts of Henry and his English crusaders, two years of attacks on Vilnius proved fruitless.
In 1392–93 Henry undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he made offerings at the Holy Sepulchre and at the Mount of Olives. He vowed to lead a crusade to'free Jerusalem from the infidel,' but he died before this could be accomplished; the relationship between Henry Bolingbroke and the king met with a second crisis. In 1398, a remark by Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk regarding Richard II's rule was interpreted as treason by Henry and Henry reported it to the king; the two dukes agreed to undergo a duel of honour at Gosford Green near Caludon Castle, Mowbray's home in Coventry. Yet before the duel could take place, Richard II decided to banish Henry from the kingdom to avoid further bloodshed. Mowbray himself was exiled for life. John of Gaunt died in February 1399. Without explanation, Richard cancelled the legal documents that would have allowed Henry to inherit Gaunt's land automatically. Instead, Henry would be required to ask for the lands from Richard. After some hesitation, Henry met with the exiled Thomas Arundel, former Archbishop of Canterbury, who had lost his position because of his involvement with the Lords Appellant.
Henry and Arundel returned to England. With Arundel as his advisor, Henry began a military campaign, confiscating land from those who opposed him and ordering his soldiers to destroy much of Cheshire. Henry announced that his intention was to reclaim his rights as Duke of Lancaster, though he gained enough power and support to have himself declared King Henry IV, imprison King Richard and bypass Richard's 7-year-old heir-presumptive, Edmund de Mortimer. Henry's coronation, on 13 October 1399 at Westminster Abbey, may have marked the first time since the Norman Conquest when the monarch made an address in English. Henry consulted with Parliament but was sometimes at odds with the members over ecclesiastical matters. On Arundel's advice, Henry obtained from Parliament the enactment of De heretico comburendo in 1401, w
Richard II of England
Richard II known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard's father, Edward the Black Prince, died in 1376, leaving Richard as heir apparent to King Edward III. Upon the death of his grandfather Edward III, the 10-year-old Richard succeeded to the throne. During Richard's first years as king, government was in the hands of a series of regency councils, influenced by Richard's uncles John of Gaunt and Thomas of Woodstock. England faced various problems, most notably the Hundred Years' War. A major challenge of the reign was the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, the young king played a central part in the successful suppression of this crisis. Less warlike than either his father or grandfather, he sought to bring an end to the Hundred Years' War. A firm believer in the royal prerogative, Richard restrained the power of the aristocracy and relied on a private retinue for military protection instead. In contrast to his grandfather, Richard cultivated a refined atmosphere at court, in which the king was an elevated figure, with art and culture at its centre.
The king's dependence on a small number of courtiers caused discontent among the influential, in 1387 control of government was taken over by a group of aristocrats known as the Lords Appellant. By 1389 Richard had regained control, for the next eight years governed in relative harmony with his former opponents. In 1397, Richard took his revenge on the Appellants, many of whom were exiled; the next two years have been described by historians as Richard's "tyranny". In 1399, after John of Gaunt died, the king disinherited Gaunt's son, Henry of Bolingbroke, exiled. Henry invaded England in June 1399 with a small force that grew in numbers. Meeting little resistance, Bolingbroke deposed Richard and had himself crowned king. Richard is thought to have been starved to death in captivity, although questions remain regarding his final fate. Richard's posthumous reputation has been shaped to a large extent by William Shakespeare, whose play Richard II portrayed Richard's misrule and his deposition by Bolingbroke as responsible for the 15th-century Wars of the Roses.
Modern historians do not accept this interpretation, while not exonerating Richard from responsibility for his own deposition. While not insane, as historians of the 19th and 20th centuries believed, he may have had a personality disorder manifesting itself towards the end of his reign. Most authorities agree that his policies were not unrealistic or entirely unprecedented, but that the way in which he carried them out was unacceptable to the political establishment, leading to his downfall. Richard of Bordeaux was the younger son of Joan of Kent. Edward, eldest son of Edward III and heir apparent to the throne of England, had distinguished himself as a military commander in the early phases of the Hundred Years' War in the Battle of Poitiers in 1356. After further military adventures, however, he contracted dysentery in Spain in 1370, he never recovered and had to return to England the next year. Richard was born at the Archbishop's Palace, Bordeaux, in the English principality of Aquitaine, on 6 January 1367.
According to contemporary sources, three kings – "the King of Castille, the King of Navarre and the King of Portugal" – were present at his birth. This anecdote, the fact that his birth fell on the feast of Epiphany, was used in the religious imagery of the Wilton Diptych, where Richard is one of three kings paying homage to the Virgin and Child, his elder brother, Edward of Angoulême, died near his sixth birthday in 1371. The Black Prince succumbed to his long illness in June 1376; the Commons in parliament genuinely feared that Richard's uncle, John of Gaunt, would usurp the throne. For this reason, the prince was invested with the princedom of Wales and his father's other titles. On 21 June the next year, Richard's grandfather Edward III, for some years frail and decrepit died, after a 50-year-long reign; this resulted in the 10-year-old Richard succeeding to the throne. He was crowned king on 16 July 1377 at Westminster Abbey. Again, fears of John of Gaunt's ambitions influenced political decisions, a regency led by the King's uncles was avoided.
Instead, the king was nominally to exercise kingship with the help of a series of "continual councils", from which John of Gaunt was excluded. Gaunt, together with his younger brother Thomas of Woodstock, Earl of Buckingham, still held great informal influence over the business of government, but the king's councillors and friends Sir Simon de Burley and Robert de Vere, Duke of Ireland gained control of royal affairs. In a matter of three years, these councillors earned the mistrust of the Commons to the point that the councils were discontinued in 1380. Contributing to discontent was an heavy burden of taxation levied through three poll taxes between 1377 and 1381 that were spent on unsuccessful military expeditions on the continent. By 1381, there was a deep-felt resentment against the governing classes in the lower levels of English society. Whereas the poll tax of 1381 was the spark of the Peasants' Revolt, the root of the conflict lay in tensions between peasants and landowners precipitated by the economic and demographic consequences of the Black Death and subsequent outbreaks of the plague.
The rebellion started in Kent and Essex in late May, on 12 June, bands of peasants gathered at Blackheath near London under the leaders Wat Tyler, John Ball, Jack Straw. John of Gaunt's Savoy Palace was burnt down; the Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon Sudbury, Lord Chancellor, the king's Lord High Treasurer, Rober
West Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering East Sussex to the east, Hampshire to the west and Surrey to the north, to the south the English Channel. West Sussex is the western part of the historic county of Sussex a medieval kingdom. With an area of 1,991 square kilometres and a population of over 800,000, West Sussex is a ceremonial county, with a Lord Lieutenant and a High Sheriff. Chichester in the south-west is the only city in West Sussex. West Sussex has a range of scenery, including wealden and coastal; the highest point of the county is at 280 metres. It has a number of stately homes including Goodwood, Petworth House and Uppark, castles such as Arundel Castle and Bramber Castle. Over half the county is protected countryside, offering walking and other recreational opportunities. Although the name Sussex, derived from the Old English'Sūþsēaxe', dates from the Saxon period between AD 477 to 1066, the history of human habitation in Sussex goes back to the Old Stone Age; the oldest hominin remains known in Britain were found at Boxgrove.
Sussex has been occupied since those times and has succumbed to various invasions and migrations throughout its long history. Prehistoric monuments include the Devil's Jumps, a group of Bronze Age burial mounds, the Iron Age Cissbury Ring and Chanctonbury Ring hill forts on the South Downs; the Roman period saw the building of Fishbourne Roman Palace and rural villas such as Bignor Roman Villa together with a network of roads including Stane Street, the Chichester to Silchester Way and the Sussex Greensand Way. The Romans used the Weald for iron production on an industrial scale; the foundation of the Kingdom of Sussex is recorded by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year AD 477. The foundation story is regarded as somewhat of a myth by most historians, although the archaeology suggests that Saxons did start to settle in the area in the late 5th century; the Kingdom of Sussex became the county of Sussex. With its origins in the kingdom of Sussex, the county of Sussex was traditionally divided into six units known as rapes.
By the 16th century, the three western rapes were grouped together informally, having their own separate Quarter Sessions. These were administered by a separate county council from 1888, the county of Sussex being divided for administrative purposes into the administrative counties of East and West Sussex. In 1974, West Sussex was made a single ceremonial county with the coming into force of the Local Government Act 1972. At the same time a large part of the eastern rape of Lewes was transferred into West Sussex; until 1834 provision for the poor and destitute in West Sussex was made at parish level. From 1835 until 1948 eleven Poor Law Unions, each catering for several parishes, took on the job. Most settlements in West Sussex are either along the south coast or in Mid Sussex, near the M23/A23 corridor; the town of Crawley is the largest in the county with an estimated population of 106,600. The coastal settlement of Worthing follows with a population of 104,600; the seaside resort of Bognor Regis and market town Horsham are both large towns.
Chichester, the county town, has a cathedral and city status, is situated not far from the border with Hampshire. Other conurbations of a similar size are Burgess Hill, East Grinstead and Haywards Heath in the Mid Sussex district, Littlehampton in the Arun district, Lancing and Shoreham in the Adur district. Much of the coastal town population is part of the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation. Rustington and Southwater are the next largest settlements in the county. There are several more towns in West Sussex; the smaller towns of the county are Arundel, Petworth and Steyning. The larger villages are Billingshurst, Crawley Down, Henfield, Hurstpierpoint, Lindfield and Storrington; the current total population of the county makes up 1.53% of England's population. West Sussex is bordered by Hampshire to Surrey to the north and East Sussex to the east; the English Channel lies to the south. The area has been formed from Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous rock strata, part of the Weald–Artois Anticline.
The eastern part of this ridge, the Weald of Kent and Surrey has been eroded, with the chalk surface removed to expose older Lower Cretaceous rocks of the Wealden Group. In West Sussex the exposed rock becomes older towards the north of the county with Lower Greensand ridges along the border with Surrey including the highest point of the county at Blackdown. Erosion of softer sand and clay strata has hollowed out the basin of the Weald leaving a north facing scarp slope of the chalk which runs east and west across the whole county, broken only by the valleys of the River Arun and River Adur. In addition to these two rivers which drain most of the county a winterbourne, the River Lavant, flows intermittently from springs on the dip slope of the chalk downs north of Chichester; the county makes up 1.52% of the total land of England, making it the 30th largest county in the country. West Sussex is the sunniest county in the United Kingdom, according to Met Office records. Over the last 29 years it has averaged 1902 hours of sunshine per year.
Sunshine totals are highest near the coast wi