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God gives all men all earth to love,
But since man's heart is small,
Ordains for each one spot shall prove
Beloved over all.
Each to his choice, and I rejoice
The lot has fall to me
In a fair ground - Sussex by the Sea!
In a fair ground - Yea, Sussex by the Sea!
According to the Royal Sussex Regiment website: In about 1907, Mr. W. Ward-Higgs, who lived at the time in Sussex, and who took a great interest in the County and the County Regiment, was moved to try to produce a marching song in praise of Sussex. “Sussex by the Sea” was the result. [When his favourite sister-in-law had become engaged to Captain Waithman of the 2nd Battalion, he set about composing a song for them and produced ‘Sussex by the Sea’.] As soon as it was published he sent copies to an officer of the 2nd Battalion who was connected with him by marriage, and the song was sung, in about September, 1908, by that officer at concerts at Ballykinlar Camp, where the battalion was at that time. The tune at once became popular, and has remained so ever since.
It became well known throughout Sussex and is the unofficial county anthem, the school march of Christ’s Hospital, the battle cry of Brighton & Hove Albion football club and Sussex cricket
team, it is also regularly sung at events throughout Sussex and can be heard during the Lewes and other Sussex bonfire celebrations and is played by marching bands and even Morris dancers throughout the county. During the liberation of Singapore in 1945, the Royal Marine band of the heavy cruiser HMS Sussex played Sussex by the Sea as the ship entered harbour.
Mr William Ward–Higgs was born in Birkenhead in 1866, and spent much of his life in London working as a solicitor, and had only lived at Hollywood House in South Bersted, Bognor Regis, for a few years when he wrote “Sussex by the Sea”. a fact commemorated today by a plaque on the side of the house. Ward-Higgs was cremated in Norwood, south London, following his tragic suicide at Roehampton in 1936. The only extant memorials to him are the plaque on the front wall of Hollywood house, and another small plaque inside South Bersted church hall.
Thanks to John Cowen who may well be the world expert on Sussex By The Sea, for providing the musical score that made this page possible and for his research into the history of this song.
Available pages in this section, to view click on the title you want to view.
Note that the complete 11 page score in PDF format can be downloaded by the link at the bottom of the score pages.
Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 1Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 2Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 3Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 4Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 5Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 6Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 7Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 8Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 9Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 10Complete Score (sheet music voice & piano) Page 11
An alternative simplified version of the score with chords marked, was what we played when I was in the Sussex folk orchestra a few years ago.(Note that there is also a midi file of the tune on this page)
Sussex Folk Orchestra Version
Complete original lyrics (Also with downloadable PDF version for printing)
Lyrics variations as used by various organisations.