Broadcaster boosts Sussex Archaeological Society’s survival bid

Best-selling author and broadcaster Tom Holland visited historic Michelham Priory to boost the hard-hit Sussex Archaeological Society’s chances of survival.

Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 8:30 am
Tom's visit

Tom also climbed up to the Long Man of Wilmington as part of a three-day tour of Sussex sites.

Both the downland chalk giant and the priory are owned by the Sussex Archaeological Society, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and has launched a fundraising campaign to help it survive as an organisation.

Tom, who is patron of the campaign, said he was fascinated by the myths and legends surrounding the origin of the Long Man, now thought by the archaeological society to have originated in the 16th or 17th centuries.

Founded in 1846, the society is one of the oldest of its kind in the UK and owns several historic properties and scheduled ancient monuments across East and West Sussex. It also holds thousands of artefacts, maps, drawings, research papers and records

“The recording of Sussex’s history is itself a part of Sussex’s history: an activity deeply rooted in the soil of the county’s past,” Tom said, “which in turn is why saving Sussex Archaeological Society is so important.”

A spokesman for the society said: “We are delighted to have such an enthusiastic, high-profile patron in Tom and immensely grateful to him for giving up his time to come and see our properties and the treasures they hold. His visit has given our fundraising campaign an incredible boost.”

Founded in 1846, Sussex Archaeological Society is a registered charity operating under the name Sussex Past. It owns, conserves, and protects sites across East and West Sussex:

Anne of Cleves House Museum, Lewes Grade II*

Barbican House, Lewes Grade II*

Bull House, Lewes Grade II*

Fishbourne Roman Palace, Chichester Grade II* & scheduled monument

Holtye Roman Road, Holtye Common scheduled monument

Lewes Castle, Lewes Grade I

Long Man of Wilmington, Wilmington scheduled monument

Marlipins Museum, Shoreham by Sea Grade II* & scheduled monument

Michelham Priory, Upper Dicker Grade I & scheduled monument

Priest House, West Hoathly Grade II*

The society also looks after significant archaeological and historical collections and works with partner institutions, both nationally and internationally, to support exhibitions and academic research. It has more than 2,000 members, holds an annual academic conference and publishes the Sussex Archaeological Collections, a scholarly contribution to the study of local archaeology and history. More than 150 volumes have been completed since 1846.