We know that there have been people living on the Manhood Peninsula for thousands of years. Excavations during the development of the Medmerry Nature Reserve revealed a large Bronze Age settlement of 14 round houses, the equivalent of a big town today. At the time (10,000 to 15,000 BC) the land would have extended further out into the sea, where the remains of fields, and evidence of a brewery, have been discovered.
One of the sails having been extracted for analysis. It is of roundwood, still with traces of bark, crudely pointed at one end with an axe or billhook. Found during the Medmerry Realignment in 2013.
© James Kenny 2013
A post-medieval well lined with chalk blocks. It was probably used to water animals in the fields. Found during the Medmerry Realignment in 2013.
©Archaeology South-East/ UCL 2021
Why is it called the Manhood Peninsula?
The name comes from a Saxon word. The Saxons were here between the 5th and the 11th centuries (450 to 1066 AD) and originally came from northern Germany. When they settled in England, Sussex became one of their Kingdoms. The Saxons called a group of 100 families a Hundred, and so the area of the Manhood peninsula today was known as the Hundred of Manhood.
The word Manhood itself is from a Saxon word meaning ‘common wood’ or ‘common land’. The common wood was enclosed in 1793, which meant that the shared rights to the land were removed and reallocated to individuals chosen by parliament. The Saxon sub-division of counties into Hundreds, was used right up until the beginning of the 19th century.
From the Bronze age via the Romans, Saxons and Normans, right through to the 21st century, the Manhood Peninsula has experienced the significant events of the day. Our villages are known for their influential bishops, beautiful parish churches, tales of 18th century smugglers, and the story of the Mulberry Harbours in the Second World War. Come and explore this rich history with us!
map pins on the map below to learn more about each location.