The area of the ancient county is 933,887 acres (377,931 ha) with a population in 1891 of 550,446 and in 1901 of 605,202. The earliest statement as to the population is made by Bede, who describes the county as containing in 681 land of 7,000 families; allowing ten to a family (a reasonable estimate at that date), the total population would be 70,000.
In 1693 the county is stated to have contained 21,537 houses. If an average household comprised seven individuals at that date, the total population would be 150,759. It is curious, therefore, to observe that in 1801 the population was only 159,311. The decline of the Sussex ironworks probably accounts for the small increase of population during several centuries, although after the massacre of St Bartholomew upwards of 1,500 Huguenots landed at Rye, and in 1685, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, many more refugees were added to the county.
An act of Henry VII (1504) directed that, for convenience, the county court should be held at Lewes as well as at Chichester; and this apparently gave rise to the division of Sussex into east and west parts.
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