Brightling, (East Sussex)

Parish picture

The hamlet of Brightling is a small farming community built soon after the Norman conquest in 1066. The parish church is dedicated to St Thomas-à-Becket. The tower and the nave are 13th century, a north aisle and new chancel were added in the 14th.

The village is well known as the home of the eccentric Georgian Squire, Mad Jack Fuller. He built a pyramid in the church yard to be a mausoleum where his remains were interred on his death.

Parish picture

He also built several follies around the parish: the Brightling Needle (40' high obelisk); the Sugar Loaf (a conical building built to enable the Squire to win a bet over whether the spire of Dallington Church could be seen from his house); the Greek Temple (in the grounds of his home); the Observatory (where the artist Turner is thought to have created some of his work); and finally the Watch Tower (where Mad Jack is reputed to have watched the rebuilding of Bodiam Castle).

Parish picture

Here is a view of the village from the small hill where one of Jack Fuller's follies stands, the Watch Tower.

The village no longer has a school, although the attractive buildings opposite the church remain, now in use as a dwelling.

Parish picture

Here is another view of the church, this time from the south during the snow of January 2010 - making this already attractive building quite magical.

Places of worship:

Church details, together with baptism, marriage, monumental inscription & burial records can be accessed by clicking on the church name.

Congregational Church, Hollingrove

St Thomas à Becket

Census returns:

The OPC Database has no census returns for people residing in this parish yet.

People born in this parish but residing elsewhere:

1 individual in the OPC Database for the 1851 census.

42 individuals in the OPC Database for the 1861 census.


Grid reference: 568500, 121247 ~ View on: Google Maps, Open Street Map, Streetmap, National Library of Scotland Map or Oldmaps.

Militia records etc:

Roll of Honour has a transcription of the war memorial at together with biographical information concerning the individuals listed.

Other links relating to this parish:

The Life and Times of John "Mad Jack" Fuller , Squire of Brightling, 1757 - 1834. An excellent site containing a genealogy of the Fuller family by Annette Lloyd Thomas.

Poll Registers:

The OPC database contains 64 poll register entries for people entitled to vote in this parish.

1641 Protestation Returns:

There are no protestation returns for this parish in the OPC database.


The OPC database contains 12 entries for people associated with this parish mentioned in Gazettes.


There are 50 images depicting this parish in the OPC database.

POWPics (The new Roughwood churches album) contains 4 photographs of churches in this parish. This album will also display any postcards or other images of churches which are in the Sussex OPC database.

Postal directories:

The OPC database contains 1 postal directory entry for this parish, (breakdown below).

1 entry from the 1791 Universal British Directory.

1867 Kelly's Directory for Brightling is available on the GENUKI site


There are 3 books about this parish in the Sussex OPC Bibliography.

There are 6 articles about this parish in the OPC Sussex Archeaological Collections Index.

There are 4 people from this parish in the OPC Sussex Archeaological Society Members Index.


The OPC database contains 2 wills of people who lived in this parish.

The OPC database contains no wills that mention this parish.

Interest in this parish:

No registered users have badged this parish yet. To share your interest with others, why not register as a frequent user of this site?

Please contact the OPC co-ordinator if you have information or links you would like to contribute.

Remember that OPCs are volunteers and are unlikely to have information not listed on this page.

Please be courteous and patient - they, like you, have busy lives and will try and respond as quickly as they can.

The advertisements below are served by Google; the very small revenue generated when people click on them sometimes covers the cost of hosting the Sussex OPC website.