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A rape was a traditional sub-division of the county of Sussex in Englandmarker. Their origin is unknown, but they appear to predate the Norman Conquest. Each rape was split into several hundred.

One suggested etymology of the word is in the Icelandicmarker territorial division hreppr, however this is rejected in the New English Dictionary. Another is from the Saxon rap, a rope, since ropes were used to mark out territory.

By the time of the Domesday Book, Sussex was divided into Arundelmarker, Brambermarker, Chichestermarker, Hastingsmarker, Lewesmarker and Pevenseymarker rapes. Each was centred on a castle, had a single sheriff and ran as a strip, north-south, from the Surreymarker border to the English Channelmarker. The castles of Arundel, Bramber and Lewes were sited on positions overlooking the rivers Arunmarker, Adurmarker and Ousemarker respectively, while those at Chichester, Hastings and Pevensey overlooked the coast. This formation was a creation of William I of England, presumably designed to protect routes to Normandy.

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