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The martlets then featured as the emblem of the Kingdom of Sussex in “Divi Britannici” published in 1675.Although heraldry did not actually appear until the period of the Middle Ages, mediaeval heralds commonly attributed arms to people and places of high repute from the pre-heraldic era, a practice duly followed by John Speed in his Atlas.In his 1831“A Graphical and Historical Sketch of Bodyam” William Cotton attributes these arms to the Wardeux /Wardieu family of Bodiam and describes them as six gold martlets on black.

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It has been a matter of some debate whether the arms carved into the masonry at Bodiam are those of Wardieu or de Radynden; notwithstanding William Cotton’s assertion, it does seem more likely that they represent de Radynden, the castle owner’s immediate benefactor and father-in-law.

However, given that the de Radynden and Wardieu familes were themselves so closely connected, in the words of W.

It is interesting to note that in the early twentieth century the Sussex identity was sufficiently strong for the army to call upon it in its local recruitment drive this, at a time when the county was already administered by separate councils, which had been created in 1889.

Irrespective of this however, there was evidently no doubt that there was only one county of Sussex.

That the Sussex county flag may help to focus on the county’s real identity was demonstrated by a letter that appeared in a local publication shortly after its registration on June 12th 2011 calling for just one Sussex council; Do we really need two Chief Executives, two Directors of Corporate Resources…

Kent manages with just one of each, yet has a population size roughly the same as that of East and West Sussex combined…..

It is depicted twice on the map of the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy (when England consisted of seven kingdoms), both over the ancient Kingdom of Sussex and once in the border decoration, as shown below.

The Sussex emblem also featured on the atlas’s title page In 1622 a Latin version of the atlas was produced and curiously on this occasion the same emblem appeared coloured red Such vagaries of colour and form are typical of early heraldry when often the interpretation of arms was left to personal choice but given the range of martlet shields considered as the likeliest sources for the design taken up by Sussex, which are examined further on, the choice of red in the 1622 edition of the atlas is markedly idiosyncratic, one wonders what prompted this seemingly odd choice.

It is perhaps the high profile of the two councils that has led many people to think that there are separate counties on the south coast between Hampshire and Kent; each has borne distinctive arms, and banners based on these or other council emblems, have been commercially available as so called “county flags”, to further confuse the issue and mislead the public.

It is also often ignored that there have been several further administrations running matters in the county, in Brighton currently and formerly in East Grinstead, Haywards Heath and eastern Crawley, entirely separate from the remits of the current East or West Sussex councils, demonstrating the fallacy of the notion that there are two distinct counties, based on local administration.

Shortly before this era, Sussex’s traditional emblem of gold martlets on blue background had been markedly used to represent the county on this banner , of the Suffragette branch covering the counties of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire.

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