UK road map of burgess hill and haywards heath


As professional estate agents in Sussex, it’s fair to say that the team at Hunters Group know the two historic market towns of Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill extremely well.

Sussex itself is full to the brim of history and folklore, but even we were surprised to uncover some little-known facts about these two towns specifically. As they are the closest towns to the Hunters estate agency office, it’s only fitting that we learn everything there is to know about them both.

Buying, selling, or letting property in this part of West Sussex often requires some understanding of the area’s unique history, attributes, and character. So, we decided to dig into the archives and discuss with locals to find five fascinating facts that you probably never knew about these two West Sussex towns.

5 Interesting Facts About Burgess Hill and West Sussex

  1. Haywards Heath Has Strong Railway Roots 

These days, Haywards Heath is a bustling commuter town on the Brighton Main Line, with trains passing through the town towards Eastbourne, Cambridge, Bedford, and London, including Gatwick Airport. But back in the 1840s, there was barely anything here except isolated farmsteads.

That all changed when the London and Brighton Railway Company built a new line from London to Brighton – and chose to site a key station and railway junction here. Soon the town began to grow around this new transport hub.

In fact, Haywards Heath station still plays a vital economic role today, with nearly 2 million passengers passing through every year.

So next time you’re house hunting and looking for homes to buy in Haywards Heath, you can thank the Victorian rail pioneers for building this thriving market town, bustling with history.

  1. Burgess Hill Got Its Name from a Local Legend

Burgess Hill has Saxon origins, but the story of how it acquired its name is the stuff of legend that is hard to pinpoint. The tale suggests that the Burgeys family – specifically the patriarch, John Burgeys – was travelling home late one night and stumbled into a deep ditch, where he was stuck for hours calling for help. The Burgeys name itself meant ‘bourgeoisie,’ meaning an inhabitant of a borough. Eventually, local peasants heard his cries and rescued him, with the ditch earning the moniker of ‘Burgey’s ditch.’

The origins of the hill in the town’s name divide opinion, with many believing the hill refers to the elevated ground that houses the railway station. Others believe that origins date back to the Burgess Farm area which is situated on a hill in the town.

True or not, it’s a fun origin story for this historic village-turned-town! When considering properties for sale in Burgess Hill, you could impress vendors and owners with your knowledge of the town’s folkloric name.

  1. Both Towns Have Links to Famous Personalities

You may know Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill as commuter towns today. However, they have both provided temporary and permanent residencies for some notable television, music, sports, and film personalities.

Bobby Zamora and Ashley Barnes and is a professional footballer who enjoyed success when playing for Brighton & Hove Albion. During their time at the club, they resided in Burgess Hill. If you are a fan of Men Behaving Badly, the writer – Simon Nye – was also born and raised in this market town.

Haywards Heath has also been the birthplace of mid-2000s pop singer Natasha Bedingfield, who was nominated for a Grammy Award. Promising actor Kaya Rose Humphrey – famous for leading roles in E4 sitcom Skins, the Maze Runner films, and Wuthering Heights – was also born and raised here.

TV presenters Zoe Ball & Holly Willoughby also went to Burgess Hill School for a time growing up, as did Richard Osman at Warden Park School in Haywards Heath.

Next time you’re perusing flats or houses for sale in West Sussex use these facts as icebreakers. You never know, you could end up being neighbours with one of them!

  1. Burgess Hill Has a Lavish Elizabethan Home for Sale

At the time of this writing, an opulent Grade II listed building – dating back to the late 1400s – is on the market. Hammonds Place (otherwise known as Hammonds Place Farmhouse) is an Elizabethan Manor House featuring 5000 square feet of accommodation and 1.3 acres of south-facing garden space.

Hammonds Place is believed to be the oldest house in Burgess Hill. This residence was built in the 1400s as a hall house, before being rebuilt some 100 years later. Its most notable resident was arguably Sir Edward Michelborne, an English solider and explorer known for being the principal commander of the East India Company (EIC) but was caught interloping and left something of a pariah.

While you may not have Hammonds Place at the top of your list of homes to buy in Burgess Hill, you can certainly demonstrate your general history knowledge by saying you know of the Michelbornes’ voyages during the Jacobean era.

  1. A Lost Roman Road Passes Through Haywards Heath

Connecting London to Chichester lies a winding Roman road called Stane Street, a perfectly straight route bringing the capital city to towns in the South East of England.

Stane Street’s exact construction date is not known, but archaeological research tells us that its roots go back to the first Roman occupation of Britain (43-53 AD).

However, a Roman road between Stane Street (in Kennington) and Portslade, known as the London to Brighton Way, is a lesser-known route bridging Sussex and the capital together. The road travels through Streatham, the North Downs, and Felbridge, and forms a direct line through Haywards Heath and Hassocks to the South Downs.

The road goes through the western edge of the town and was first discovered by noted historian Ivan Margary.

Next time you consider buying a house in Haywards Heath, impress locals with your road knowledge.

Looking for Property to Buy or Sell in West Sussex?

Whether you’re searching for your forever home or an investment property, we hope these fascinating facts have given you new insight into Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill.

Here at Hunters Group, our estate agents in Sussex have in-depth knowledge of the local towns and villages and can offer property advice that will help you get the most out of your investment.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help you buy, sell, or let your ideal property in this historic and vibrant part of West Sussex.

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