Status details for Rape

Number of units in system:
Geographical Level: 8 (Higher-level District)
ADL Feature Type:countries, 3rd order divisions
Is a status within:Division of Ancient County

Full Description:

A Rape was an ancient administration division of Sussex, these units are recorded as intermediate between the county and hundred. There are six Rapes in Sussex; Arundel, Bramber, Chichester, Hastings, Lewes, and Pevensey. 'Each rape was a castlrey, centred on a castle; each was in the hands of a single tenant-in-chief; and each had its own sheriff, who answered to the tenant-in-chief not the Crown: no royal sheriffs are recorded before the twelfth century' ( The position of the rapes, each covering a parallel strip of the county, created a a controlled line of communication from London to the Channel. Amstrong points out that in view of the vital position of Sussex, and its ability to control and defend the sea-routes between Sussex to Normandy, the Normans had divided Sussex into these six rapes (Amstrong, p.50). Though there is a view that the Normans only re-modelled the administrative divisions of Sussex, references to rapes within the Domesday suggests an Anglo-Saxon invention but their roots may be as early as Lathes (