Lewes Road

Longest continuously named road

Reproduced with permission from the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder, 1990

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

a) HISTORY: With a length of 3.46 miles from Waterloo Place to the Falmer boundary, Lewes Road is the longest continuously-named road in Brighton, and replaced the downland Drove Road and Juggs Road over Newmarket Hill in medieval times. (A 'jug' was a Brighton fisherman; their wives took the catch along this route by donkey for sale at Lewes. {296a})
Lewes, the county town of Sussex, lies seven-and-a-half miles to the north-east of Brighton, and has always been important to the town. Lewes Castle was built by the Norman son-in-law of William the Conqueror, William de Warrenne, who was Lord of the Rape of Lewes and thereby lord of the manors of Brighton. De Warrenne also founded the great Cluniac Priory of St Pancras at Southover in 1077, the mother church of the medieval Priory of St Bartholomew at Brighton. The ruins of both the castle and the priory may be visited. It was probably the proximity of the markets at Lewes and their easy access via the Downs that helped to establish the medieval fishing town of Brighton, and in the mid eighteenth century it was once again the proximity of the county town that helped to transform Brighton from an economically depressed fishing town into a fashionable resort.
From 1770 the road to Lewes was maintained by a turnpike trust, with a tollgate to the north of the Bear Inn and a toll-house at Kingston which still survives. The modern road was 'dualled' to the south of The Avenue and alongside Stanmer Park in 1963-4, and the length in between in 1967-8, a project that won a Civic Trust design award in 1970. The dual carriageway from Brighton to Lewes was completed at Falmer in 1981, while the Brighton bypass, scheduled for completion in 1995, will leave the Lewes Road at the Southern Water offices. {1,2,123,313}
The first developments along Lewes Road, both in 1795, were the almshouses and the barracks (see below). The Level was laid out in 1822, and in the 1820s Richmond Terrace and Hanover Crescent were developed . The road north from the Level to the borough boundary at Bear Road was developed from the 1860s, and then northwards in Preston parish to Natal Road in the 1890s and 1900s. During the 1910s a small industrial area of diamond and engineering factories was established on the eastern side of Lewes Road around Coombe Road (see "Bear Road and East Preston"), and further development came in the 1920s with the Moulsecoomb estates. The section from Elm Grove to Upper Lewes Road is now a shopping area of considerable importance to the surrounding area, augmented by the Sainsbury store. {83}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Photo:Preston Cavalry Barracks c1850

Preston Cavalry Barracks c1850

From a private collection

Photo:1867 postcard showing the Toll Gate outside Preston Barracks

1867 postcard showing the Toll Gate outside Preston Barracks

From a private collection

This page was added on 17/05/2007.
Comments about this page

Have just found the 1851 census record of my 3 x great uncle, James Wagland, b1774, and he was living at Lewes Road Gate, with his wife Mary, and was the Toll Collector! I have copied the above picture of the Toll Gate to his profile on my family tree - hope this was OK? Best wishes, thanks for the info. [Glad you have found something so useful.Comments Ed]

By Cordelia (01/06/2013)

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