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The French Revolution in 1789 and the subsequent French Revolutionary Wars that ran from 1792 to 1802 brought the threat of possible revolution and invasion to this country. The tension increased after Napoleon Bonaparte and his supporters organised a coup in November 1799 and Napoleon was installed as First Consul. The Treaty of Amiens of 1802 between the French and British brought an end to the Revolutionary Wars and a brief peace but, after Napoleon was declared Emperor in 1804, hostilities were renewed.
The threat of invasion to Britain was so great that central government started the first attempts to gather information about the population of England and the country's ability to withstand an invasion.
It is probably part of this information gathering that lead to the first population counts of Glynde being recorded in the overseers' account book in 1792 and 1794, along with the number of inhabitants recorded on the first national census of 1801.
However, the government wanted more detailed information about the country's ability to deal with invasion and this led to a number of Acts of Parliament and initiatives by the local militia regiments. The records of the militia survive in the holdings of the East Sussex Record Office held at The Keep.
The Sussex Coast was seen as particularly vulnerable so a detailed statistics were gathered from every parish in the county. For administrative purposes Sussex had, for centuries, been divided into six rapes – Chichester, Arundel, Bramber, Lewes, Pevensey and Hastings. Both Glynde and Beddingham, as well as West Firle, were in the southern division of Pevensey Rape.
In 1801 and 1803 returns were made by the churchwardens and overseers of each parish of the population classified by fitness for service or for evacuation, of cattle, sheep, pigs and horses, vehicles, barges (if any), cornmills, watermills, baking ovens, weapons and working tools available.
Also in 1803, when the threat of invasion was at its high point, an Act of Parliament was passed authorising the nearest thing the country had seen to a general mobilisation of able-bodied men. This time the Act required lists to be drawn up of all men between the ages of 17 and 55 and the names of the men have survived in the militia records.
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