Sussex - a magnet for renowned writers

BELLOC, Benson, Blake, Conan Doyle, Galsworthy, Rudyard Kipling and A A Milne are all united by one thing: Sussex.

The county has long proved a magnet to the nation’s greatest writers, as prolific Sussex author David Arscott explores in his latest book.

Born in France of an English mother and a French father, Belloc came to Sussex in 1905 and soon afterwards settled at Shipley where he stayed for the rest of his life.

E F Benson came to live at Lamb House in Rye in 1918. The town is thinly disguised as Tilling in his books featuring Miss Mapp and Lucia.

William Blake arrived in Felpham in 1800 and stayed there for only three years - but an eventful three years.

In tense political times, he fell into an argument with a soldier who was working in his garden. Blake ended up accused of sedition. He was put on trial in Chichester and acquitted.

Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, moved into Windlesham Manor, Crowborough, with his second wife in 1906 and lived there for the rest of his life.

In 1926, at the height of his fame, John Galsworthy, author of The Forstye Saga bought the fifteen-bedroomed Bury House at Bury, north of Arundel.

Galsworthy way Thomas Phillips.s conscious of his wealth - and every Friday one of his servants would tour the village with money in envelopes for local people in need.

Thomas Paine came to Lewes in 1768 as an excise officer; Rudyard Kipling and his family came to Sussex in 1897 (first to Rottingdean and then to Burwash) and never left it.

And it was in Ashdown Forest that Winnie the Pooh and his friends had their adventures. It was on the edge of the forest than Milne bought a red-brick house in 1925.

Authors are just one of the many aspects of Sussex David unravels in The Little Book Of Sussex (The History Press, ISBN: 9780752458717, RRP £9.99) - a funny, fast-paced, fact-packed compendium of the sort of frivolous, fantastic or simply strange information which no one will want to be without.

David also unearths the most unusual crimes and punishments, eccentric inhabitants, famous sons and daughters and hundreds of wacky facts (plus some authentically bizarre bits of historic trivia).

There are lots of factual chapters but also plenty of frivolous details which will amuse and surprise, David promises.

With chapters on folklore, history, geography and celebrity Sussexians, this is an ideal book for all those who know and love this quintessentially English county, he said.