A little bit of Copthorne history...
Copthorne is very much a border village, in fact it only just manages to be in Sussex by a whisker. In days gone by, prize fighting with bare fists took place here because it was so easy to slip across the county border one way or the other, depending on which body of police made an appearance! Copthorne had a reputation of being a place for fighting, and with a disregard for law and order.
A Copthorner is traditionally known as a Yellowbelly and there are a number of stories told as to why this might be. Some talk of villagers wearing their gold strapped around their bellies, but the most likely reason is probably tied to the traditional local trade of charcoal burning, where some of those working stripped to the waist found their skin turned yellow with the smoke.
Another possibility has it that the smugglers had to crawl through the mud to avoid detection and thus acquiring muddy yellow bellies.
A house in the village known as Smuggler’s Cottage is pointed out as evidence of the prevalence of smuggling in this area. Justifiably so, in view of Copthorne’s reputation for lawlessness and there is a story from the 1830s of one Jack Akehurst, who periodically at night would travel from Copthorne to Horsham, with his cart loaded with 25 two gallon casks or ‘pigs’ of smuggled a spirits, and a supply of similarly acquired cigars.
A few more snippets of information about Copthorne...
Copthorne is a popular area to live, especially among families, due to it’s proximity to excellent transport links and local amenities yet still benefiting from a peaceful and calm village feel. Good local schools also add to the appeal for families and the centrally located village green offers a great space for children to spend days in the summer.
Excellent local pubs are also found in the area; The Dukes Head, The Cherry Tree and the Prince Albert to name just a few. There is a local sports club providing leisure facilities and other activities such as horse riding, footgolf and a polo club can all be found locally.
Copthorne is a sociable village and the lively carnival, which has been running every year for over 50 years, is a major event for the village where floats line the streets, dancers and colourful characters as well as a selection of stalls and games. It is a great site to see!
There are lots of places to stay active with walks such as taking a trip up the Worth Way or enjoy a stroll around Ashdown Forest or Ardingly Reservoir which are a short drive away.
Road links – The A23 links London and Brighton, the A220 leads to Horsham & East Grinstead and the M23 leads to the M25.