It’s difficult to wander around here and not think that it must have been an ancient site. There are give-away signs almost everywhere you cast your eyes. Firstly there’s the church built on an almost circular mound with its stout flint retaining wall and then you notice its proximity to the Cuckmere River built in a bend which could almost have formed an oxbow lake. Possibly more than 2000 years ago it was an island, this being a low lying and marshy area, giving more weight to the idea of it being a sacred place. Within the retaining wall on the Eastern side is a large stone, though I’m not sure if it’s a sarsen, as it looks more like a piece of sandstone. A few metres from that is another large stone, definitely a sarsen, laying next to the entrance of the Old Clergy House (the first ever NT property). Unfortunately I couldn't get a clear photo of this as it was almost hidden by Valerian on this occasion. Just a few more metres South is a group of three sarsens nestling under some trees looking slightly neglected and unloved. I looked around the foundations of the church to see if any stones had been built into that and was surprised to discover none, although this is often the case with christianised sites. There are, however, more stones built into walls and buildings around the village.
The pretty village of Alfriston has so much to intrigue, considering it's location with Firle Beacon to the west and Wilmington to the east. Going by the extensive write up here I tried to track down some of the stones mentioned. Go the church and note the mound it is built on. Three small stones (that could have been imported from Brighton) are located south on the green under a clump of trees, then take it from there. At the north of the village head west down North Street which leads to a (very steep!) path up the South Downs where some barrows and Long Burgh are located.
The church apparently stands on an ancient mound, although legend says that originally it was intended to be built elsewhere. Each morning the builders found their work destroyed and the stones thrown over on to the mound. They didn’t know whether to persist in the original location or move the site, but when ‘wise men’ saw 4 oxen lying on the mound in the shape of a cross this was taken as a sign that the church should be built there.