The Sussex Martyrs Commemoration Council 

The Sussex Martyrs Commemoration Council was originally known as ‘The Lewes Martyrs Council’. In 1888 it established a Memorial to Richard Woodman, the martyr at Warbleton. Then in 1901 it erected the magnificent obelisk on Cliffe Hill and arranged annual commemorative meetings in Lewes where 17 of the 36 Sussex Martyrs were burned at the stake during the reign of Queen Mary 1553-1557. 

The Sussex Martyrs Commemorative Council, was instituted in 1925 holding its first meeting in the White Hart, Lewes. 

From 1925 to the present day the SMCC has held public meetings in some twenty towns and villages throughout Sussex, in some cases for many years in succession with ministers and laymen from both the Church of England the Free churches taking part. 

The first memorial was erected in Lewes and unveiled in 1905 by the Earl of Portsmouth. Since then funds of the Council, which come from voluntary contributions of supporters, have provided for the repair and maintenance of the various memorials and the establishing of new ones. The last was unveiled in 1999 at Steyning in memory of John Launder. This brings to ten the number of memorials in the county, the others being at Brighton, East Grinstead, West Hoathly, Chichester, Heathfield and Mayfield. 

Besides arranging public meetings throughout East and West Sussex where martyrs were burned, SMCC provides literature and information on the subject. 

A fourth edition of a small booklet entitled ‘ Sussex Martyrs of the Reformation’ is available on and gives a brief but interesting account of the Martyrs where their history is known. 

Your friendship, support and membership are invited to share in maintaining this work in the community.