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Heathfield

East Sussex

Type:Towns & Villages

East Sussex, TN21 9EN
Heathfield

About

Heathfield is a small market town with a big view. Standing on a ridge, it is surrounded by beautiful, rolling Sussex countryside and has magnificent vistas to the south from the High Street. Heathfield is 16 miles from the coastal town of Eastbourne and 17 miles from the historic spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent. The Parish covers an area of approximately 125 square miles, and includes the town of Heathfield, the village of Waldron, Cross-in- Hand, Broad Oak, Old Heathfield and part of Punnetts Town. The Parish is an important local shopping, employment and service centre, serving a wide rural catchment area. It still retains its links with the farming industry, which has shaped the surrounding countryside over the centuries.

The twin parishes of Heathfield and Waldron have a total population of over 11,000 people, scattered amongst several centres. The present village of Old Heathfield was the original location of the settlement. Cade Street is the site of the Heathfield Beacon and the memorial to Jack Cade, who in 1450 led an insurrection of the common people. He was reputedly killed, near to where the memorial is sited, by Sheriff Alexander Iden of Kent.

Heathfield gained its Market Charter in February 1316 during the reign of Edward II. Later industrial development of the area took place with the growth of the iron industry during the 16th and 17th Centuries and many of the cannon balls fired in war came from Heathfield. Heathfield is very much a 20th Century town, owing its existence to the coming of the railway in 1880. The station was built at the southern entrance of a 243 metre long tunnel under Tilsmore Corner, with the railway line running north to south. The rapid growth of Heathfield in a short period gives it and the town centre in particular a strong Victorian and Edwardian character. Whilst the town is relatively modern, it is surrounded by history - both cultural and natural. By the time the railway, known locally as the Cuckoo Line, closed in 1968, the town centre very much resembled its appearance today.

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