An update on the Sussex Traditions website that many of you will want to read - One of the important singers in the county found by the early folk song collectors was Henry Hills of Lodsworth. Not a great deal about him is known. There is not even a photo known to exist. Denise and Stuart Savage researched what was known of his life and made their findings into a multimedia show which they presented in Lodsworth and in a number of Sussex folk clubs. They sang a number of his songs as part of the show. The presentation has now been [read more]

Listing of Morris Dance sides updated

The listing of Morris Dance sides on the Sussex Traditions website has been updated and the number of sides in the list has grown from 6 to 24! Clearly the Morris is a growth industry in our county! If you know of any that we have missed, please inform us and we will add them. Have a look at (Within an hour of announcing this update here and on the Sussex Traditions Facebook page. I received five messages naming 5 morris sides and 2 teams of mummers that I had not included in my update. I find this amazing; lots [read more]

Henry Burstow Events in Southwater

On Saturday 26th January, there was the the first of two linked events at Holy Innocents Church, Southwater, to celebrate the wonderful singing of the famed Horsham character, Henry Burstow (1826–1916). He was a shoemaker and bellringer best known for his vast repertoire of songs, many of which were collected in the folksong revival of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He was also the author of Reminiscences of Horsham, which gives a lively picture of life in the mid-nineteenth century. The workshop was led by Alex Hodgkinson, Director of Music at Christ’s Hospital, with Sussex Traditions management committee member, [read more]

Traditional Folk Song: Past Present & Future

This conference took place on 10th & 11th November at Cecil Sharp House in London. It was jointly organised by The English Folk Dance & Song Society and The Traditional Song Forum. One of twenty-three presentations was by Sean Goddard and concerned the song collecting in Sussex by Tony Wales; a project which was the Foundation Project for Sussex Traditions. Sean has adapted this presentation for inclusion on this website and you can read it at

The Sussex Traditions Feature at Lewes Folk Festival weekend 13th October 2018

Lewes Folk festival has always found a spot for Sussex Traditions each year, initially for introducing it as a new organisation and subsequently for updating on progress.

Conference Success! Locating Women in ‘the Folk’ 2018

Performers, collectors and scholars of folk song, folk dance, and folklore came from all around the world to attend a conference celebrating the role of women in cultural traditions.

Women in ‘the Folk’ – News

We are delighted to announce Lucy Neal, great great niece of Mary Neal (CBE), as our keynote speaker for Women in 'the Folk' conference - 9th June 2018.

The Sussex Year

Sussex Tradition’s new project. Sussex Traditions will build on what was achieved in its Foundation Project by populating all the Sussex Topics  --cultural heritage in Sports and Games, Food and Drink, Crafts, etc. -- expanding the database and providing an informative 'calendar view' of The Sussex Year. A series of education events and networking activities will be based around this. Seasonal presentations will draw upon the archive and invite fresh interpretations - you, your friends, your class at school, your family members, can contribute and help us ensure featured subjects are attractive, lively and relevant. The aim is to build and strengthen the charity’s [read more]


Look at these gorgeous bags for life, kindly designed for Sussex Traditions by Jon Dudley.

Senior Film Advisor

Sussex Traditions is delighted to announce a very important appointment to our board of advisers. As the work and compass of Sussex Traditions grows, so too does its requirement for specialist knowledge; no more so than in the aquisition, preservation and display of archive film. We are fortunate therefore to secure the professional advice of Paul Cotgrove who has agreed to act as both a mentor and technical and artistic guide to the team at Sussex Traditions. Paul promotes two major international film festivals in his home town of Southend on Sea and is well known in the British Film [read more]

Women in ‘the Folk’ – an interdisciplinary conference

Call for Papers - Locating Women in ‘the Folk’: Perspectives on women’s contributions to folk song, folklore, and cultural traditions. UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX 9TH JUNE 2018

The Two Bobs’ Worth

Bob Lewis and Bob Copper New from Musical Traditions - MTCD374 “This is an absolutely splendid record” writes Rod Stradling. The two Bobs were recorded at Nellie's folk club in Tonbridge, back in 1999, where they were performing together as The Two Bobs' Worth - an almost unique event. They were recorded by Andrew King, who's said "If you think the recordings are of good enough quality I would be delighted and honoured if you wanted to issue them." Well, the recordings are excellent, and the singing is just glorious! The track list is as follows: A Fair Maid Walking; The Honest Labourer; Good Morrow Mistress [read more]

The Sussex Year

Sussex Tradition’s next project. Sussex Traditions will build on what was achieved in its Foundation Project by populating all the Sussex Topics  --cultural heritage in Sports and Games, Food and Drink, Crafts, etc. -- expanding the database and providing an informative 'calendar view' of The Sussex Year. A series of education events and networking activities will be based around this. Seasonal presentations will draw upon the archive and invite fresh interpretations - you, your friends, your class at school, your family members, can contribute and help us ensure featured subjects are attractive, lively and relevant. The aim is to build and strengthen the charity’s [read more]

A day’s boat building on Worthing beach

... from contributor Dave Watkins     As part of the Last Fisherman Standing project, Sussex boatbuilder Ryan Kearley provided the opportunity to help restore an old wooden fishing boat. The main task was to steam ribs and fasten them to complete the base of the boat. Participants were able to learn about traditional boat building skills in Sussex. The activity  took place on Worthing beach near the Artists' Coast Cafe. Boatbuilder Ryan Kearly is based at Barcombe.  

Lewes Folk Festival

In all the hubbub and excitement of this year's Lewes Folk Festival, Vic and Tina Smith gave a presentation on Sussex Traditions and the work that's going-on, developing the charity's database of information on the county's cultural heritage. The Foundation Project (2016-17) focused primarily on traditional song. Vic and Tina demonstrated how to use the website's facilities to search and explore, relating some inspiring stories of old songs rediscovered and how half-forgotten recorded treasures have been turning-up, as a result of people hearing about the project. Mark Broad was there to say a few words about how the charity became established [read more]

Traditional Song Forum

On Saturday 25th March 2017 Sussex Traditions hosted the Traditional Song Forum: 'A national organisation dedicated to the promotion, performance and publication of Traditional Song in the UK.' An enthusiastic gathering filled the wonderful Lewes Linklater Pavilion, a purpose-built community space by the river in the Railway Lands conservation area. Vic and Tina Smith presented a recorded interview with the charismatic traditional singer Gordon Hall. This was followed by a moving presentation from Elizabeth Bennett on the life of Dorothy Marshall - a forgotten treasure in the history of folk song collecting in Sussex. Reg Hall concluded with his memories of the old [read more]

The Farmers of Old England

Sussex Traditions Education visited North Lancing School recently to deliver a full day of workshops leading to a performance for families and friends. There were songs, dances, games and a mummers play, all brought together to tell stories of local history, myths and legends. While researching threads connected to the Swing Riots, our traditional arts animateurs, Gail Duff and Bing Lyle, discovered a song called 'The Farmers of Old England', in the Sussex Traditions database (asset number SXT2806). According to records, the song was collected by Francis Collinson from a Mr. Booker, at Warnham in May 1950. The children at North [read more]

Folk Song in England

On Saturday 18th February, Steve Roud, folklorist extraordinaire, led forty Sussex Traditions supporters through the history of Folk Song in England. Steve delivered a fascinating talk, at Horsham Library, distilling a lifetime of research in Traditional English Folk Song into an entertaining explanation of this rich musical tradition. A highlight was the screening of excerpts from 'Here's a Health to the Barley Mow' (British Film Institute) and some thought-provoking discussion in response to the clips of pub singing culture from days past. If you would like to attend a Sussex Traditions Day School such as the Folk Song in England [read more]

Traditional Song Forum comes to Lewes

Sat 25 March 2017 09:30 – 22:30 Linklater Pavilion Railway Lane Lewes BN7 2FG To register for FREE ticket please visit Eventbrite. The day is hosted by Sussex Traditions on behalf of The Traditional Song Forum (TSF).

Sussex Traditions delivers its first schools workshop

Sussex Traditions delivered its first schools workshop at All Saints Primary School, Sidley, Nr Bexhill on Friday 25th November. Year six students worked with animateurs Gail Duff and Bing Lyle to create a performance using traditional songs, games and dances to tell the story of the Battle of Sidley Green, when a smuggling gang took on the forces of the King's duty men. It made for a lively, interesting and engaging day of performing arts activities [read more]

“In comes I old Father Christmas…”

Once again the Rottingdean Mummers have kindly donated their annual collection to Sussex Traditions. This year they performed at both the Queen Victoria, Rottingdean and The Elephant And Castle, Lewes and raised £200 for the charity. Thanks to the company and to all who contributed to the collection.

Who Cares About Tradition?

We don’t need any deep reason to be interested in the past - it is fascinating in its own right - but many people think...

Late Night Shopping

We had yet another fruitful evening in the Harvey's Yard at their annual Late Night Shopping Christmas celebrations! Thank you to Edmund and the team for inviting us to exhibit and engage with the local shoppers (and beer drinkers)!  There were many expressions of interest on a wide range of Sussex Traditions. We look forward to working with the Harvey's team again in the New Year when the John Harvey Tavern will host our Traditional Song Forum Sing-Around. (See our events listing for more details).  

Website Preview at Much Ado Bookshop

Sussex Traditions, its supporters and friends, gathered together in Alfriston at Much Ado Bookshop and The Smugglers Inn on Sunday 23rd October for a progress report and preview...

Harvey’s ‘Dancing in the Old’

Dancing in the rain may have been a more appropriate name for the annual 'Dancing in the Old' event at Harvey's Brewery...

Much Ado Books Event

Event on Sunday 23rd October Venue: Much Ado Bookshop Much Ado Books 8 West Street Alfriston East Sussex BN26 5UX 01323 871222

Shirley Collins MBE

We are thrilled to announce that our Patron Shirley Collins MBE has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sussex. You can read more about Shirley's involvement in traditional music and folk song collection here:  

Sussex Day at Harvey’s Brewery

Harvey's Sussex Day Saturday 18th June Harvey's Brewery run an annual event to celebrate Sussex Day (the first Saturday after St Richard's day). The event was held in the brewery yard, with displays of traditional crafts like trug making and flint knapping. There were stalls showcasing local food and drink, slow roasted Sussex lamb, local wines and of course Harvey's Beer with the launch of their new ale "Sussex Champion". Given the local nature of the event and the atmospheric venue it was a fantastic opportunity for Sussex Traditions to showcase traditional song and [read more]

Steyning Festival

Sussex Traditions celebrates £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant for The Foundation Project

Sussex Traditions has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant for its Foundation Project. This twelve month pilot programme has been given £10,000 towards the development of a web-based, multimedia, searchable database, which will make many important, unique and often inaccessible Sussex heritage items accessible to the public. Sussex Traditions is concerned with the traditional heritage of Sussex, East and West. By this we mean the shared everyday culture of ordinary people, past and present, which is passed on from person to person and down the ages, mainly amongst small groups and communities. It includes the areas normally described [read more]