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East Sussex (England)

English Ceremonial County

Last modified: 2020-09-26 by rob raeside
Keywords: east sussex | sussex |
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[Flag of East Sussex, England] image by Pete Loeser, 20 September 2020
based on this image located by Valentin Poposki, 9 December 2011 (source)


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Introduction: East Sussex County

In 1974 East Sussex was made a ceremonial county, with three districts: Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings. Located in South East England between Kent and Surrey in the north and northeast and West Sussex to the west, it has a coast line along the English Channel in the south. It dates back to Roman times and after the Romans withdrew from Britain it was part of the Kingdom of the South Saxons. Because of this the county is covered with archaeological remains and because of its position on the coast has faced many invasions such as the Romans and Normans. The Battle of Hastings took place here in 1066. Earlier industries in the area included fishing, iron-making, and the wool trade. East Sussex was originally part of the historic county of Sussex.
Pete Loeser, 20 September 2020


Description of the East Sussex flag

According to the East Sussex County web page, giving the Minutes of a meeting of the East Sussex county council held at Pelham House, Lewes, on Tuesday, 15 October 2002 at 10.00 am, the English County of East Sussex has its own flag: "37.10 The Chairman referred to the two new flags, the County flag and the Union flag, on display in the Council Chamber which had been donated by two members."
Pascal Vagnat, 30 January 2003


East Sussex Coat of Arms

[East Sussex coat of arms] image from James Frankcom, 13 October 2003

The Arms of East Sussex were granted in 1889 and are of ancient origin. The Arms of East Sussex as shown are very similar to the symbol/banner attributed to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex (6th-8th Century) except that it contained only the six golden "martlets" on a red background. The Arms of West Sussex County have the six golden martlets on a blue background with a similar golden wavy strip. After 1974 the arms were adjusted to add a crown with oak leaves on the top to symbolise a part of Surrey which Sussex absorbed (Gatwick Airport).
James Frankcom, 13 October 2003

The original (unofficial?) coat-of-arms of the County of Sussex is blue with six gold (sometimes silver) martlets. This probably came from the arms of the Earl of Arundel. The red shield with golden martlets and Saxon crown was first used by East Sussex County Council in 1937. It was the West Sussex coat-of-arms that was granted in 1889 - the first County Council do have an official coat of arms due to the influence of the Duke of Norfolk.
Andrew Whitnall, 22 May 2009

On the East Sussex County Council website we see that the East Sussex County Council flag is a 'banner of arms' - it can be seen flying from County Hall in Lewes when there is a full meeting of the Council.
Andrew Whitnall, 22 May 2009


East Sussex County Council Flag 2006

[Flag of East Sussex County Council, England] image by Pete Loeser, 20 September 2020
based on this image located by Valentin Poposki, 9 December 2011 (source)

The East Sussex County Council Flag was originally designed in 1974, but updated to this in 2006. The three wavy lines mirror the wave on our coat of arms and symbolise the weald, the downs and the sea. The white vertical line represents the Cuckmere river. (source)
Pete Loeser, 20 September 2020


The Banner of East Sussex County Council 1975-2006
Commercial Flags

[Commercial Flag of East Sussex County Council, England]     [Commercial Flag of East Sussex County Council, England] images by Pete Loeser, 20 September 2020
based on this image and this image.

These are two examples of the East Sussex County Council banners being sold commercially; one with a red field and white sea, and one with the older traditional red/orange field and a gold sea. These banners use slightly different martlets, but all is fair in love and marketing. It is important to comment that these red flags are the banner of the East Sussex County Council (since 1975), but are commonly sold and flown as the "East Sussex Flag." This is not true and they only represent the County Council.
Pete Loeser, 20 September 2020