Sussex Declaration is ‘a treasure in a house of treasures’

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council with the Sussex Declaration, a copy of the American Declaration of Independence
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council with the Sussex Declaration, a copy of the American Declaration of Independence

County council leader Louise Goldsmith has described the ‘huge sense of history’ she had viewing Sussex’ copy of the American Declaration of Independence.

In her blog as leader of West Sussex County Council, Mrs Goldsmith explained how a request from Harvard University via the British Library traced the document to the county records office.

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council and Wendy Walker, West Sussex County Archivist, with the Sussex Declaration, a copy of the American Declaration of Independence

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council and Wendy Walker, West Sussex County Archivist, with the Sussex Declaration, a copy of the American Declaration of Independence

The parchment has now been authenticated as a 1780’s copy of the Declaration, orginally signed in 1776.

Mrs Goldsmith said: “It is hard to explain the huge sense of history when I was so privileged to view the document.

“It is an exquisite piece of history which must have been painstakingly written not under modern light but by daylight and candlelight using a quill and ink.

“Hard to imagine how long it took, I wonder what the scriber thought as he wrote away.

ks170849-6 Chi American Declaration phot kate'Wendy Walker, county archivist in one of the store rooms.ks170849-6 SUS-170425-162549008

ks170849-6 Chi American Declaration phot kate'Wendy Walker, county archivist in one of the store rooms.ks170849-6 SUS-170425-162549008

“Harvard University have run assessments on this document and have confirmed its authenticity as an original prepared at the time of the Declaration – a copy – but what a copy!

“Carefully stored away it remains at our Records Office a gem of a treasure in a house of treasures – West Sussex County Council’s Records Office.

“So as we approach the 4th July happy Independence Day from here in Sussex across the pond to America.”