Burwash, archaically known as Burghersh, is a rural village and civil parish in the Rother District of Sussex, England. Situated 15 miles (24 km) inland from the port of Hastings, it is located five miles (8 km) south-west of Hurst Green, on the A265 road, and on the River Dudwell, a tributary of the River Rother. In an area steeped in history, some nine miles (14 km) to the south-east lies Battle Abbey and eight miles (13 km) to the east is Bodiam Castle.
Its main claim to fame is that for half of his life Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) lived in the village at Bateman's. Kipling used the house's setting and the wider local area as the setting for many of his stories in Puck of Pook's Hill (1906) and the sequel Rewards and Fairies (1910), and there is a Kipling room at "The Bear" public house, one of two pubs located along Burwash High Street. Rudyard's son John Kipling, known as Jack, died during World War I and is named on the village memorial at the end of Bell Alley Lane. He was named after Rudyard's father, the artist John Lockwood Kipling, (1837–1911), who provided illustrations for the classic story collection The Jungle Book. A complete collection of Kipling's works, including Just So Stories, Rewards and Fairies, The Man Who Would Be King and Kim, was published as the "Burwash Edition" (1941).
Smuggling took place in the 18th and 19th centuries, and several smugglers' graves can still be seen in the churchyard of St Bartholomew's. The main route connecting Heathfield and Hawkhurst was a toll-road, through Burwash, and was a notorious spot for highwaymen. Burwash was one of the villages involved in the Wealden iron industry, and there was a forge located at Burwash Weald, close to the site of the historic "Wheel" public house.
The High Street has been designated a Conservation area by Rother district council. The intention is to preserve the character of the village by strictly controlling building within the area. Additionally, the buildings along the High Street have been given listed building status by English Heritage, including a garden wall. The Bateman's mansion, a fine example of Jacobean architecture formerly owned by Rudyard Kipling, is now a National Trust property, open to the public. It can be found just outside the main village on the Burwash Weald and Common side, and is set within 33 acres (130,000 m2) of the Sussex Weald, and includes a working watermill and millpond, which connects to the River Dudwell. The location was used while shooting the film My Boy Jack (2007), starring Daniel Radcliffe
There is a Site of Special Scientific Interest within the parish—Dallington Forest, an area of ancient woodland. Its interest lies in a nationally rare habitat as a result of a steep-sided stream flowing through the site.
Burwash is located within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The lowest level of government is the Burwash parish council, which meets once a month. The parish council is responsible for local amenities such as the provision of litter bins, bus shelters and allotments. It also provides a voice into the district council meetings. The parish council comprises thirteen councillors with elections being held every four years. The May 2007 election was uncontested.
Rother District council provides the next level of government with services such as refuse collection, planning consent, leisure amenities and council tax collection. Burwash lies within the Darwell ward, which provides two councillors. The May 2007 election returned one Conservative and one independent councillor.
East Sussex county council is the third tier of government, providing education, libraries and highway maintenance. Burwash falls within the Rother North West ward. Anthony (John) Barnes, Conservative, was elected in the May 2005 election with 56.3% of the vote.
At European level, Burwash is represented by the South-East region, which holds ten seats in the European Parliament. The June 2004 election returned 4 Conservatives, 2 Liberal Democrats, 2 UK Independence, 1 Labour and 1 Green, none of whom live in East Sussex (albeit Green MEP Keith Taylor lives in Brighton, historically part of East Sussex).
Cricketer Albert Relf (1874–1937) was born here, The Who frontman Roger Daltrey maintains a Holmshurst Manor country estate and Lakedown fishery near Burwash Common, Robert Smith, singer and founding member of rock band The Cure is a resident. As Kipling's main home, Batemans was host to many notable visitors including fellow author Sir Henry Rider Haggard and Kipling's cousin Stanley Baldwin, who was Britain's Prime Minister from 1935–1937. Kingsley Amis visited Batemans whilst preparing a tribute to Kipling (Amis' father was a resident of Burwash in the 1960s). Ex-Prime Minister James Callaghan lived just outside the village.
Media related to Burwash at Wikimedia Commons