The History of the Lieutenancy of East Sussex
The modern day county of East Sussex came into existence in 1974 with a re-organisation of counties and boundaries.
From the time of their first appointment by Henry Vlll the following have been Lord Lieutenants of Sussex and subsequently East Sussex.
Lord Lieutenants of Sussex
- 1550-1553 Sir Richard Sackville
- 1559-1560 Henry Fitz Alan, 12th Earl of Arundel
- 1561 John Lumley, 1st Lord Lumley
- 1569-1570 Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montague, Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst and William West, (Lord de la Warr from 1570)
- 1585-1586 Charles Howard, 2nd Lord Howard of Effingham
- 1586-1604 Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham (styled Lord Howard of Effingham to 1597) and Thomas Sackville, 1st Lord Buckhurst
- 1604-1608 Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, Thomas Sackville, 1st Lord Buckhurst and Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland
- 1608-1609 Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel and Robert Sackville, 2nd Earl of Dorset
- 1609-1612 Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham and Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel
- 1612-1624 Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel and Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset
- 1624-1635 Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel and Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset, 1624-1642
- 1635 Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset and Algernon Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland
- 1636-1642 Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, Edward Sackville, 4th Earl of Dorset, Algernon Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland and Henry Frederick Howard, Lord Mowbray (styled Lord Mautravers to 1640)
- 1642-1660 Commonwealth
- 1660-1668 Algernon Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland
- 1668-1670 Joceline Percy, 5th Earl of Northumberland
- 1670-1677 Richard Sackville, 5th Earl of Dorset and his son Charles Sackville, Lord Buckhurst (styled Earl of Middlesex 1675-1677)
- 1677-1688 Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset
- 1688 Francis Browne, 4th Viscount Montague
- 1689-1706 Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset
- 1706-1750 Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (styled Earl of Hertford to 1748)
- 1754-1757 John Ashburnham, 2nd Earl of Ashburnham
- 1757-1761 Henry Neville, 2nd Earl of Abergavenny
- 1761-1762 Thomas Pelham Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle
- 1762-1763 Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont
- 1763-1807 Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond
- 1807-1815 Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk
- 1816-1819 Charles Lennox, 4th Duke of Richmond
- 1819-1835 George O’Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont
- 1835-1860 Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond
- 1860-1886 Henry Thomas Pelham, 3rd Earl of Chichester
- 1886-1892 Henry Bouverie William Brand, 1st Viscount Hampden
- 1892-1905 William Nevill, 1st Marquess of Abergavenny
- 1905-1917 Henry Fitzalan-Howard, 15th Duke of Norfolk
- 1917-1949 Charles Henry Wyndham, 3rd Lord Leaconfield
- 1949-1973 Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk
Lord-Lieutenants of East Sussex
- 1974-1989 John Henry Guy Nevill, Marquess of Abergavenny
- 1989-2000 Admiral Sir Lindsay Bryson
- 2000-2008 Mrs Phyllida Stewart-Roberts
- 2008 – Peter Field
There have been a number of incidents that relate to the history of the Lieutenancy in East Sussex over the years. Notably in the time of Queen Elizabeth 1 beacons were installed along the coast (originally conceived by Sir Francis Drake, himself a Deputy Lieutenant of Cornwall) to warn of a possible invasion by the Spanish. Over this period there were numerous false alarms. Lord Buckhurst Lieutenant for Sussex spent a night out on the Downs with 1,600 men as a fleet of ships had been spotted at Brighthelmstone (Brighton). They were discovered the next morning to be Dutch sheltering from bad weather. During this time a few beacons were lit in error. However Queen Elizabeth 1 was so grateful for the support of the Sussex fishermen (in particular) that she gave the people of Hastings the foreshore, which is Crown Property from the high watermark down, in trust for the enjoyment of the peoples of England in gratitude for their efforts. This was a very unusual gesture and it has only been done twice. With coastal erosion and recession this land now forms much of the seafront car parks and other amenities close to the pier – all of which remain in the trust administered by Hastings Borough Council.
- The office of High Sheriff has its roots in Saxon times and is the oldest continuous secular office under the Crown. It was first written about at the time of King Canute – in the 1020’s.
- The word ‘Sheriff’ is derived from ‘Shire Reeve’ – the office of a Reeve being a chief magistrate, in this case responsible for law enforcement for the shire. Shire means county.
- Originally the office held many of the powers now vested in the Lord-Lieutenant, High Court Judges, Magistrates, Local Authorities, Coroners and the Inland Revenue.
- High Sheriffs represent The Sovereign in their counties in upholding all matters relating to the Judiciary and maintaining law and order, tasks in practice principally delegated to the Chief Constable of Police. Their responsibilities are conferred by the Crown through warrant from the Privy Council.
- The High Sheriff for 2020/21 is Mr Andrew Blackman DL