The Society, in collaboration with the South Downs National Park Authority, has published a series of books looking at many aspects of the South Downs National Park. The books are available to buy in our museum shops or online.
Country Houses of the South Downs by Sue Berry
The story of the country house on the Downs. They developed a distinctive role as the centre of country house estates, the number of which increased and then declined between about 1200 and 1950. As England became wealthier and more politically stable from the later medieval period, the ownership of an estate with a country house became an aspiration of people who had made their wealth through business or profited from their dealings as holders of government posts.
This 160 page book includes over 100 illustrations and four maps in colour, and a list of places which are accessible to the public, and where to find more information about going there.
Sue Berry was the Principal Lecturer in Tourism Management at Brighton University. She wrote Georgian Brighton, and has published in books, in national and international journals, on tourism and history, and in the regional historical journal for Sussex – the Sussex Archaeological Collections. She has also been a trustee of national and regional bodies such as the National Trust, and the Sussex Archaeological Society. She lectures on aspects of the historical period between c1680 and 1914. Available online at £12.50 including p&p
Churches and Chapels of the South Downs National Park by David Parsons and Robin Milner-Gulland. Characteristic of the South Downs National Park are small downland churches, many of which have stood for up to 1,000 years. But there are also some bigger, architecturally important churches, mainly on the fringes of the Park. Locked within their architectural biographies and their furnishings lie the many strands of the development of Christianity in southern England. To stumble upon one of these isolated churches and to enter their silent interiors seems like taking steps back in time. This book provides some introductory chapters on key aspects of churches and chapels within the South Downs National Park, and also contains descriptions of selected churches to guide your visits.
David Parsons’ publications include the Council for British Archaeology Practical Handbook Churches and Chapels: Investigating Places of Worship. Robin Milner-Gulland holds the titles of Emeritus Professor and 50th Anniversary Fellow at Sussex University. He is co-editor of the South Downs Series. Available online at £9.50 + £2.80 p&p.
Traditional Homes of the South Downs National Park by Annabelle Hughes. An amazing collection of traditionally-built homes, ranging in age from 250 to over 700 years old, can be found within the bounds of the South Downs National Park. This guide aims to provide the tools for any visitor to become their own ‘House Detective’, through understanding how these buildings were constructed, how they have altered over the centuries, how earlier owners might have used them, and by looking at the differences between town and countryside. By appreciating the stories of such buildings you can help make sure they will still be there for future generations to wonder at.
Annabelle Hughes has nearly thirty years’ experience of investigating, analysing and making written records of buildings, mostly in West Sussex. In 1980 she joined the Wealden Buildings Study Group, and then embarked on the long road that led to her doctorate (1989) on timber-framed buildings in their historical setting. Available online at £9.50 + £2.80 p&p.
The Geology and Scenery of the South Downs National Park, by David Robinson, which provides an introduction to the origin and characteristics of the rocks that underlie the Park. It describes how the scenic features of different parts of the Park are related to the geological history of the region and to the processes of weathering and erosion that have acted on the rocks in the past, and those which continue to modify the landscape today. David Robinson is a Reader in Physical Geography at the University of Sussex and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. Available online.at £8.99 + £1.60 p&p
The Natural History of the South Downs National Park by Robin Crane and Rendel Williams. The book explores the animals, plants and habitat of the South Downs with more than 150 stunning photographs. It was written with the object of enriching people’s knowledge of the wildlife and countryside of the Park, not simply by highlighting some special plants and animals, but by giving readers a greater understanding of the evolution of the wild places, the history of nature conservation and the management of habitats and species. The authors both have close links with the Sussex Wildlife Trust, and Robin Crane has produced films for the BBC Natural History Unit. Available online.at £11.99 + £2.80 p&p
The Archaeology of the South Downs National Park by John Manley, formerly Chief Executive of Sussex Archaeological Society, and in this book his aim is to provide a thematic introduction to the accessible monuments of past communities within the area now defined by the National Park. It highlights sites where people lived, hunted and farmed, and where they occasionally met together in large numbers. It describes sites where they defended themselves, where they prayed and where they buried their dead. It includes many photographs taken specifically to illustrate the text. Available online. at £8.99 + £1.60p&p