Worthing is a large seaside town with borough status in West Sussex, in the historic county of Sussex. It is situated at the foot of the South Downs, 10 miles (16 km) west of Brighton, and 18 miles (29 km) east of the county town of Chichester. With an estimated population of 104,600 and an area of 12.5 square miles (32.37 km2) the borough is the second largest component of the Brighton/Worthing/Littlehampton conurbation, which makes it part of the 12th most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. The area around Worthing has been populated for at least 6,000 years and contains Britain's greatest concentration of Stone Age flint mines, which are some of the earliest mines in Europe. Lying within the borough, the Iron Age hill fort of Cissbury Ring is one of Britain's largest. For many centuries Worthing was a small mackerel fishing hamlet until in the late 18th century it developed into an elegant Georgian seaside resort and attracted the well-known and wealthy of the day. In the 19th and 20th centuries the area was one of Britain's chief market gardening centres.
From around 4000BC, the South Downs above Worthing was Britain's earliest and largest flint-mining area., with four of the UK's 14 known flint mines lying within 7 miles (11 kilometres) of the centre of Worthing. An excavation at Little High Street dates the earliest remains from Worthing town centre to the Bronze Age. There is also an important Bronze Age hill fort on the western fringes of the modern borough at Highdown Hill. During the Iron Age, one of Britain's largest hill forts was built at Cissbury Ring. The area was part of the civitas of the Regni during the Romano-British period. Several of the borough's roads date from this era and lie in a grid layout known as 'centuriation'. A Romano-British farmstead once stood in the centre of the town, at a site close to the town hall. In the 5th and 6th centuries, the area became part of the kingdom of Sussex.
The place names of the area, including the name Worthing itself, date from this period. Worthing remained an agricultural and fishing hamlet for centuries until the arrival of wealthy visitors in the 1750s. Princess Amelia stayed in the town in 1798 and the fashionable and wealthy continued to stay in Worthing, which became a town in 1803. The town expanded and elegant developments such as Park Crescent and Liverpool Terrace were begun. The area was a stronghold of smugglers in the 19th century and was the site of rioting by the Skeleton Army in the 1880s. Oscar Wilde holidayed in the town in 1893 and 1894, writing the Importance of Being Earnest during his second visit. The town was home to several literary figures in the 20th century, including Nobel prize-winner Harold Pinter. During the Second World War, Worthing was home to several allied military divisions in preparation for the D-Day landings. (Worthing)