The village of Falmer is recorded in the Domesday Book as ‘Falemere’ which is a Saxon name. After the Norman Conquest most of it appears to have been given to Gundred, wife of William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey. In 1086, the manor of Falmer was held by the Priory of St Pancras and the village grew as an isolated farm settlement and belonged to the estate of Lewes Priory.
Falmer has a large 13th century thatched barn, hidden from view behind the church. The barn is reputed to be one of the largest medieval barns in Sussex and was used by the monks of Lewes Priory for storing sheaves of corn.
When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1536, church estates were given to his subjects who lived at a distance and drew the profits. By 1630 records show that Falmer was in the hands of the Craven family of Berkshire and its manor extended over 3,060 acres.
In 1776 the Falmer estate was purchased by the Pelham family who already owned Stanmer House and Estate.
A map of Falmer village in 1897 which shows The Swan Inn on the north side of the road from Brighton to Lewes and the church, the pond and Court Farm on the south side of the road. Falmer parish had an area of 4393 acres at this time. The Swan Inn was the site of the poor house for the Parish of Falmer during the 1700s.
Thomas Pelham was created Earl of Chichester in 1801 and he reorganised his landholdings to create compact farms of 500 to 1000 acres each.
The Pelham family also founded the Falmer Alms houses.
The Pelham Alms houses built in Mill Street in 1869.
The St Lawrence Church in East Street, Falmer was rebuilt by the Pelham family and was completed in 1817.
The Pelham family sold off large amounts of land after 1910. What was left of the estate was requisitioned by the War Department in 1942. The Brighton Corporation purchased the remains of the Stanmer Estate including land formally part of the Falmer estate amounting to 4,958 acres in 1947.
The A27 was widened to a four-lane road between Brighton and Lewes in 1978-79. This divided the village in two.
There is a link to photographs taken at the time the new road was built at the bottom of the page.
Falmer north now includes part of the old road, a row of flint cottages and the Swan Inn in Middle Street.
The southern part of the village includes St Lawrence Church, the pond, the old village school and the old post office.
The village school in South Street closed in 1972 and is now the village hall.
The pond provides a picturesque scene and somewhere to enjoy a picnic in the summer.
The two halves of the village are joined by a foot bridge over the A27.
A teacher training college was developed at Falmer in the early 1950’s and this is now part of Brighton University.
The building work for Sussex University started in 1961 and has continued ever since with plans for further expansion right up to 2018 already drawn up.
Construction of the new stadium for Brighton and Hove Albion Football club started on 17 December 2008 and the first phase was finished in May 2011. The stadium was designed with scope for expansion, and plans were put in place to increase the capacity to a total of about 30,000 seats. In 2015 two Rugby World Cup matches were played at the Amex Stadium as it is now known.
More Photographs of Falmer Village
Photographs taken when the new A27 road was under construction and similar views in 2016.
Rebuilding the new footbridge over the A27
Falmer Tithe Barn and Court Farm House