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Seaward Sussex by Edric Holmes

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[Illustration: HURSTMONCEUX.]








"How shall I tell you of the freedom of the Downs--
You who love the dusty life and durance of great towns,
And think the only flowers that please embroider ladies' gowns--
How shall I tell you ..."


Every writer on Sussex must be indebted more or less to the researches
and to the archaeological knowledge of the first serious historian
of the county, M.A. Lower. I tender to his memory and also to his
successors, who have been at one time or another the good companions
of the way, my grateful thanks for what they have taught me of things
beautiful and precious in Seaward Sussex.

















The traveller through Sussex, as through every other English shire,
will find many reminders of the Great War in church, churchyard or
village green. Some are imposing or beautiful, some, alas, are neither,
or are out of keeping with the quiet peace of their surroundings. To
mention any, however striking in themselves or interesting in their
connexion, would be invidious as, at the time of writing, lack of
labour or material has prevented the completion of a great number of

The local historian of the future will bring a woeful number of his
family records to a final close with the brief but glorious inscription
on the common tablet where plough-boy and earl's son are commemorated
side by side.

The sketch maps accompanying this book are simply for convenience in
identifying the route followed therein. Wanderers upon the Downs and
in the highways and byways at their feet will find Bartholomew's
"half-inch" map, sheet 32, the most useful. This scale is much to be
preferred to the "one inch" parent which lacks the contour colouring.


Hurstmonceux _Frontispiece_
Near Alciston
Market Cross, Alfriston
A Sussex Lane, Jevington
Lamb Inn, Eastbourne
Old House, Petworth
The Barbican, Lewes Castle
St. Anne's Church, Lewes
The Priory Ruins, Lewes
Anne of Cleves House, Southover
The Grange, Southover
Firle Beacon
Alfriston Church
Lullington Church
West Dean
East Dean
Beachy Head
Old Parsonage, Eastbourne
Wilmington Green
Newhaven Church
Bishopstone Church Porch
Seaford Church
Seaford Head
The Pavilion, Brighton
St. Nicholas, Brighton
St. Peter's, Brighton
Portslade Harbour
Shoreham and the Adur
New Shoreham
Old Shoreham
Upper Beeding
St. Mary's, Bramber
Grammar School, Steyning
Old Houses, Steyning
Chanctonbury Ring
Salvington Mill
Old Houses at Tarring
Beckets' Palace, Tarring
Arundel from the River
Arundel Castle
The Keep, Arundel
Arundel Gateway
Arundel Church
Church Street, Littlehampton
Littlehampton Harbour
Amberley Castle
Stopham Bridge
Petworth Church
Petworth House
Saddler's Row, Petworth
The Granary, Cowdray
Market Square, Midhurst
Midhurst Church
East Lavant
Boxgrove Priory Church
Chichester Cathedral
Chichester Palace and Cathedral
Bell Tower, Chichester
Chichester Cross
St. Mary's Hospital, Chichester
Fishbourne Manor
Fishbourne Church
Bosham Mill
Bosham, The Strand
Cowdray Cottage
Middle House, Mayfield
High Street, East Grinstead
Sackville College
Causeway, Horsham
Pond Street, Petworth
Steyning Church
North Mill, Midhurst
Knock Hundred Row, Midhurst


Geology of the Downs
The Eastern Downs
The Brighton Downs
Old and New Shoreham
The Valley of the Arun
Chichester Cathedral
The Lowlands
The Western Downs
The Roads from London to the Downs


_The following brief notes will assist the traveller who is not an
expert, in arriving at the approximate date of ecclesiastical

SAXON 600-1066. Simple and heavy structure. Very small wall openings.
Narrow bands of stone in exterior walls.

NORMAN 1066-1150. Round arches. Heavy round or square pillars. Cushion
capitals. Elaborate recessed doorways. Zig-zag ornament.

TRANSITION 1150-1200. Round arched windows combined with pointed
structural arch. Round pillars sometimes with slender columns attached.
Foliage ornament on capitals.

EARLY ENGLISH 1200-1280 (including Geometrical). Pointed arches.
Pillars with detached shafts. Moulded or carved capitals. Narrow and
high pointed windows. Later period--Geometrical trefoil and circular
tracery in windows.

DECORATED 1280-1380. High and graceful arches. Deep moulding to
pillars. Convex moulding to capitals with natural foliage. "Ball
flower" ornament. Elaborate and flamboyant window tracery.

PERPENDICULAR 1380-1550. Arches lower and flattened. Clustered pillars.
Windows and doors square-headed with perpendicular lines. Grotesque
ornament. (The last fifty years of the sixteenth century were
characterized by a debased Gothic style with Italian details in the
churches and a beauty and magnificence in domestic architecture which
has never since been surpassed.)

JACOBEAN and GEORGIAN 1600-1800 are adaptations of the classical style.
The "Gothic Revival" dates from 1835.

[Illustration: NEAR ALCISTON.]


"Then I saw in my Dream, that on the morrow he got up to go forwards,
but they desired him to stay till the next day also, and then said
they, we will (if the day be clear) show you the delectable Mountains,
which they said, would yet further add to his comfort, because they
were nearer the desired Haven than the place where at present he was.
So he consented and staid. When the Morning was up they had him to the
top of the House, and bid him look South, so he did; and behold at a
great distance he saw a most pleasant Mountainous Country, beautified
with Woods, Vineyards, Fruits of all sorts; Flowers also, with Springs
and Fountains, very delectable to behold."

Every one who has followed the fortunes of Christian in the stately
diction of the _Pilgrim's Progress_ must wish to know from whence came
those wonderful word pictures with which the dreamer of Bedford Jail
gems his masterpiece. That phrase "delectable mountains" conjures up in
each individual reader's mind those particular hills wherever they may
be, which are his own peculiar delight, and for which, exiled, his
spirit so ardently longs.

It is not presuming too much to suppose that the scene in Bunyan's mind
was that long range of undulating downs sometimes rising into bold and
arresting shape, and always with their finest aspect toward the Bedford
plains and him who cast longing eyes toward them. From almost any
slight eminence on the south of Bedford town on a clear day the
Dunstable and Ivinghoe hills are to be seen in distant beauty, and
there is the strongest similarity between them and those glorious
summits which every man of Sussex knows and loves so well.

The Chiltern Hills and the South Downs are built up of the same
material, have had their peculiarities of shape and form carved by the
same artificers--rain and frost, sun and wind; their flowers are the
same, and to outward seeming their sons and daughters are the same in
the way that all hill folk are alike and yet all differ in some subtle
way from the dweller in the plains.

Be this so or not our Downs are to us delectable mountains, and let the
reader who scoffs at the noun remember that size is no criterion of
either beauty or sublimity. That Sussex lover and greatest of literary
naturalists, Gilbert White, in perhaps his most frequently quoted
passage so characterizes the "majestic chain"; to his contemporaries
such a description was not out of place; our great grandfathers were
appalled when brought from the calm tranquillity of the southern slopes
to the stern dark melancholy of the mountains of Cumberland and
Westmoreland. The diary descriptions of those timid travellers of the
late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are full of such
adjectives as "terrible," "frightful," "awful." One unlucky
individual's nerves caused him to stigmatize as "ghastly and
disgusting" one of the finest scenes in the Lake District, probably
unsurpassed in Europe for its perfectly balanced beauty of form and
splendour of colouring. To the general reader of those times the
descriptive poems of Wordsworth were probably unmeaning rhapsodies. Our
ancestors, however, were very fond of "prospects." An old atlas of the
counties of England, published about 1800, came into the writer's hands
recently. The whole of the gentler hills, including every possible
vantage point in the Downs, had been most carefully and neatly marked
with the panorama visible from the summit; but even Kinder Scout and
the Malverns came in for the same fate as the Welsh and Cumberland
mountains, all of which had been left severely alone, though the
intrepid traveller had braved the terrors of the Wrekin, while such
heights as Barton Hill in Leicestershire and Leith Hill in Surrey were
heavily scored with names of places seen, the latter including that
oft-told tale--a legend, so far as the present writer is aware--of St.
Paul's dome and the sea being visible with a turn of the head. Though
our idea of proportion in relation to scenery has suffered a change,
Gilbert White's phrase must not be sneered at; and most comparisons are
stupidly unfair. The outline of Mount Caburn is a rounded edition of
the most perfect of all forms. The rolling undulations of the tamest
portions of the range are broken by combes whose sides are steep enough
to give a spice of adventure to their descent. The "prospects," as
such, are immeasurably superior to those obtainable from most of the
mountains of the north and west, where a distant view is rare by reason
of the surrounding chain of heights, and where the chance of any view
at all to reward the climber is remote unless he chooses that fortnight
in early June or late September when the peaks are usually unshrouded.
Really bad weather, long continued, is uncommon in the Down country. A
dull or wet spell is soon over. The writer has set out from Worthing in
a thin drizzle of the soaking variety, descending from a sky of lead
stretching from horizon to horizon, which in the north would be
accepted as an institution of forty-eight hours at least, and on
arriving at the summit of Chanctonbury has been rewarded by a glorious
green and gold expanse glittering under a dome of intense blue.


From the wooded heights of the Hampshire border to that grand headland
where the hills find their march arrested by the sea, the escarpment of
the Downs is sixty miles long and every mile is beautiful. It would be
an ideal holiday, a series of holy days, to follow the edge all the
way, meeting with only three valley breaks of any importance; but the
charm of the hill villages nestling in their tree embowered and
secluded combes would be too much for any ordinary human, especially if
he were thirsty, so in this book the traveller is taken up and down
without any regard for his consequent fatigue, when it is assured that
his rest will be sweet, even though it may be only under a hawthorn


"No breeze so fresh and invigorating as that of the Sussex Downs; no
turf so springy to the feet as their soft greensward. A flight of larks
flies past us, and a cloud of mingled rooks and starlings wheel
overhead.... The fairies still haunt this spot, and hold their midnight
revels upon it, as yon dark rings testify. The common folk hereabouts
term the good people 'Pharisees' and style these emerald circles
'Hagtracks.' Why, we care not to enquire. Enough for us, the fairies
are not altogether gone. A smooth soft carpet is here spread out for
Oberon and Titania and their attendant elves, to dance upon by
moonlight...." (Ainsworth: _Ovingdean Grange_.)

"He described the Downs fronting the paleness of the earliest dawn and
then their arch and curve and dip against the pearly grey of the
half-glow; and then among their hollows, lo, the illumination of the
east all around, and up and away, and a gallop for miles along the
turfy, thymy, rolling billows, land to left, sea to light below you....
Compare you the Alps with them? If you could jump on the back of an
eagle, you might. The Alps have height. But the Downs have swiftness.
Those long stretching lines of the Downs are greyhounds in full career.
To look at them is to set the blood racing! Speed is on the Downs,
glorious motion, odorous air of sea and herb, exquisite as the Isles of
Greece." (Geo. Meredith: _Beauchamp's Career_.)

The most delightful close springy turf covers the Downs with a velvet
mantle, forming the most exhilarating of all earthly surfaces upon
which to walk and the most restful on which to stretch the wearied
body. Most delightful also are the miniature flowers which gem and
embroider the velvet; gold of potentilla, blue of gentian, pink and
white of milkwort, purple of the scabious and clustered bell-flower;
the whole robe scented with the fragrance of sweet thyme. Several
unfamiliar species of orchis may be found and also the rare and
beautiful rampion, "The Pride of Sussex." The hills are a paradise for
birds; the practice of snaring the wheatear for market has lately
fallen into desuetude and the "Sussex ortolan" is becoming more
numerous than it was a dozen years ago. Every epicure should be
interested in the numerous "fairy rings," sufficient evidence of the
abundance of mushrooms which will spring up in the night after a moist
day. One of the most comfortable traits of our chalk hills however is
the marvellous quickness with which the turf dries after rain. Those
who have experienced the discomfort of walking the fells of Cumberland
and Westmoreland, which at most seasons of the year resemble an
enormous wet sponge, often combined with the real danger of bog and
morass, will appreciate the better conditions met with in Sussex hill
rambling. Where the chalk is uncovered it becomes exceedingly slippery
after a shower, but there is rarely a necessity to walk thereon.

The pedestrian on the Downs should use caution after dusk; chalk pits
are not seen, under certain conditions, until the wayfarer is on the
verge. Holes in the turf are of frequent occurrence and may be the
cause of a twisted ankle, or worse, when far from help.

The "dene holes" are of human origin. Once thought to be primitive
dwelling places, they are now supposed to have been merely excavations
for the sake of the chalk or the flints contained therein, and possibly
adapted for the storage of grain. Of equal interest are the so-called
"dew ponds," of which a number are scattered here and there close to
the edge of the northern escarpment. Undoubtedly of prehistoric origin,
the art of making the pond has become traditional and some have been
built by shepherds still living. These pools of clear cool water high
up on the crest of a hill gain a mysterious air by their position, but
their existence is capable of a scientific explanation. Built in the
first place to be as nearly as possible non-conducting, with an
impervious "puddled" bottom, the pond is renewed every night to a
certain extent by the dew which trickles down each grass and reed stem
into the reservoir beneath, and to a much greater extent by the mists
which drift over the edge to descend in rain on the Weald. The pools
might well be called "cloud ponds."

[Illustration: WILLINGDON.]

The most lovely scenes, the best view points, are described in their
proper place. The question as to which is the finest section of the
Downs must be left to the individual explorer. To some natures the free
bare wind-swept expanse at the back of Brighton will appeal the most.
By others the secret woods which climb from hidden combe and dry gully,
mostly terminating in a bare top, and which are all west of the Arun,
will be considered incomparably the best. To every man of Lewes the
isolated mass of hills which rise on the east of the town are _the_
Downs. But all must be seen to be truly appreciated and loved as they
will be loved.

Hotels will not be found in the Downs; the tourist who cannot live
without them will find his wants supplied within but a few miles at any
of the numerous Londons by the Sea; but that will not be Sussex pure
and undefiled, and if simplicity and cleanliness, enough to eat and
drink, and a genuine welcome are all that is required, he will find
these in our Downland inns.

It is in the more remote of these hostelries that the inquisitive
stranger will hear the South Saxon dialect in its purity and the slow
wit of the Sussex peasant at its best. The old Downland shepherd with
embroidered smock and Pyecombe crook is vanishing fast, and with him
will disappear a good deal of the character which made the Sussex
native essentially different from his cousins of Essex and Wessex.

[Illustration: LAMB INN, EASTBOURNE.]

One of the most delightful records of rustic life ever printed is that
study in the "Wealden Formation of Human Nature" by the former rector
of Burwash, John Cocker Egerton, entitled _Sussex Folk and Sussex
Ways_. True, the book is mainly about Wealden men and we are more
concerned with the hill tribes, but the shrewd wit and quaint conceits
of the South Saxon portrayed therein will be readily recognized by the
leisurely traveller who has the gift of making himself at home with
strangers. It is to be hoped that in the great and epoch-making changes
that are upon us in this twentieth century some at least of the
individual characteristics of the English peasantry will remain. It is
the divergent and opposite traits of the tribes which make up the
English folk that have helped to make us great. May we long be
preserved from a Wellsian uniformity!

A brief description of the geological history of the range may not be
amiss here. It will be noted by the traveller from the north that the
opposing line of heights in Surrey have their steepest face (or
"escarpment") on the south side, while the Sussex Downs have theirs on
the north. A further peculiarity lies in the fact that the river
valleys which cut across each range from north to south are opposite
each other, thus pointing to the probability that the fracture which
caused the clefts was formerly continuous for fifty miles through the
great dome of chalk which extended over what is now the Weald. The
elevation of this "dome," caused by the shrinking and crumpling of the
earth's crust and consequent rise of the lower strata, was never an
actual smooth rise and fall from the sea to the Thames valley; through
the ages during which this thrust from below was in progress the crown
of the dome would be in a state of comparatively rapid disintegration,
and it is because of this that we have no isolated masses of chalk
remaining between the two lines of hills. The highlands called by
geologists the "Forest Ridge" are in the centre and are the lowest
strata of the upheaval; they are the so-called Hastings sands which
enter the sea at that town half-way between Beachy Head and Dover
cliffs. North and south of this ridge is the lower greensand, forming
in Sussex the low hills near Heathfield, Cuckfield and Petworth, and
which reaches the sea south and north of Hastings. It was at one time
supposed that the face of the Downs originally formed a white sea cliff
and that an arm of the sea stretched across what we know as the Weald,
but the simpler explanation is undoubtedly the correct one.

[Illustration: WANNOCK.]

The Downs themselves are composed of various qualities of chalk; some
of such a hard, smooth and workable material that, as will be seen
presently, the columns in some of the Downland churches are made from
this native "rock." While the upper strata is soft and contains great
quantities of flints, the middle layers are brittle and yield plenty of
fossils, lower still is the marl, a greyish chalk of great value in the
fertilization of the gault. This latter forms an enormous moist ditch
or gutter at the foot of the escarpment, and from the farmer's point of
view is essentially bad land, requiring many tons of marl to be mixed
with it before this most difficult of all clays becomes fertile.
Between the chalk and the gault clay is a very narrow band of upper
greensand, only occasionally noticeable in the southern range, but
strongly marked in the North Downs.

"The chalk is our landscape and our proper habitation. The chalk gave
us our first refuge in war by permitting those vast encampments on the
summits. The chalk filtered our drink for us and built up our strong
bones; it was the height from the slopes of which our villages,
standing in a clear air, could watch the sea or the plain; we carved
it--when it was hard enough; it holds our first ornaments; our clear
streams run over it; the shapes and curves it takes and the kind of
close rough grass it bears (an especial grass for sheep) are the cloak
of our counties; its lonely breadths delight us when the white clouds
and the necks move over them together; where the waves break it into
cliffs, they are characteristic of our shores, and through its thin
coat of whitish mould go the thirsty roots of our three trees--the
beech, the holly, and the yew. For the clay and the sand might be
deserted or flooded and the South Country would still remain, but if
the Chalk Hills were taken away we might as well be in the Midlands."
(Hilaire Belloc: _The Old Road_.)

[Illustration: GEOLOGY OF THE DOWNS.]

A description of these hills, however short, would be incomplete
without some reference to the sheep, great companies of which roam the
sunlit expanse with their attendant guardians--man and dog (who deserve
a chapter to themselves). Southdown mutton has a fame that is
extra-territorial; it has been said that the flavour is due to the
small land snail of which the sheep must devour millions in the course
of their short lives. But the explanation is more probably to be found
in the careful breeding of the local farmers of a century or so ago.
Gilbert White refers to two distinct breeds--"To the west of the Adur
... all had horns, smooth white faces and white legs, but east of that
river all flocks were poll sheep (hornless) ... black faces with a
white tuft of wool." Since that day, however, east has been west and
west east and the twain have met.

[Illustration: OLD HOUSE, PETWORTH.]

The traveller _may_ be fortunate enough to come across a team of oxen
ploughing. The phenomenon is yearly becoming more rare; but within
sight and sound of the Eastbourne expresses between Plumpton and
Cooksbridge this archaic survival from a remote past is more likely to
be seen than elsewhere.

The oxen are usually black and are the remnants of a particular breed,
the outcome of a long and slow experiment in getting the right sort of
draught animal. The ploughs themselves, as Jefferies says, "must have
been put together bit by bit in the slow years--slower than the ox....
How many thousand, thousand clods must have been turned in the furrows
before ... the curve to be given to this or that part grew upon the
mind, as the branch grows upon the tree!"

But the Downs are not scarred to any great extent by cultivation. The
sheep and the birds are mostly in sole possession and are almost the
only living moving things on the hills. The fox, though at one time
common, is now very rarely seen, for game, with the disappearance of
gorse and bramble, has almost vanished, and other beasts of prey,
weasel and stoat, shun the open uplands where the only enemy of field
mouse and vole is the eagle of the south country, the peregrine falcon.





"Lewes is the most romantic situation I ever saw"; thus Defoe, and the
capital of Sussex shares with Rye and Arundel the distinction of having
a continental picturesqueness more in keeping with old France than with
one of the home counties of England. This, however, is only the
impression made by the town when viewed as a whole; its individual
houses, its churches and castle, and above all, its encircling hills
are England, and England at her best and dearest to those who call
Sussex home. The beauty of the surroundings when viewed from almost any
of its old world streets and the charm of the streets themselves make
the old town an ever fresh and welcome resort for the tired Londoner
who appreciates a quiet holiday. As a centre for the exploration of
East Sussex Lewes has no equal; days may be spent before the interest
of the immediate neighbourhood is exhausted; for those who are vigorous
enough for hill rambling the paths over the Downs are dry and passable
in all weathers, and the Downs themselves, even apart from the added
interest of ancient church or picturesque farm and manor, are ample
recompense for the small toil involved in their exploration.


The origin of Lewes goes back to unknown times, the very meaning of the
name is lost, its situation in a pass and on the banks of the only
navigable river in East Sussex inevitably made it a place of some
importance. It is known that Athelstan had two mints here and that the
Norman Castle was only a rebuilding by William de Warenne on the site
of a far older stronghold. To this de Warenne, the Conqueror, with his
usual liberality, presented the town, and it is from the ruins of his
castle that we should commence our exploration.

Of de Warenne's building only the inner gateway remains. The outer gate
and the keep date from the reign of the first Edward; the site of a
_second_ keep is shown in private grounds not far off, a feature very
rare in this country if not unique.

The summit of the tower is laid out as an old world garden; and here is
also the interesting museum of the Sussex Archaeological Society, but
the visitor will be best repaid by the magnificent view of the
surrounding country spread out before him. To the north-west rises
Mount Harry, and to the right of this stretches the wide expanse of the
Weald bounded by the sombre ridges of Ashdown Forest, dominated by
Crowborough Beacon slightly east of due north.

The quarries and combe of Cliffe Hill stand up with fine effect
immediately east of the town, which sinks from where we stand to the
Ouse at the bottom of the valley. More to the south-east is Mount
Caburn above the bare and melancholy flats through which the Ouse finds
its way to the sea; due south-west the long range of Newmarket Hill
stretches away to the outskirts of Brighton, and the Race Course Hill
brings us back to our starting point. Beautiful as is the distant
prospect the greatest charm of this unique view is in the huddle of
picturesque red-tiled roofs and greenery beneath us.

Of the history of the Castle there are but scanty records; its part in
the making of East Sussex seems to have been fairly quiescent, and in
the great struggle of May 1264 between the forces of the Barons and
Henry III, for which Lewes will always be famous, the fortress took no
actual part and merely surrendered at discretion.

"The battle was fought on the hill where the races are held. Simon de
Montfort, Earl of Leicester, headed the Baronial army. The Royal forces
were divided into three bodies; the right entrusted to Prince Edward;
the left to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, King of the Romans; and the
centre to Henry himself. Prince Edward attacked the Londoners under
Nicholas Seagrave with such impetuosity that they immediately fled and
were pursued with great slaughter. Montfort taking advantage of this
separation, vigorously charged the remaining division of the Royalists,
which he put to rout. The King and the Earl of Cornwall hastened to the
town, where they took refuge in the Priory. Prince Edward, returning in
triumph from the pursuit of the Londoners, learned with amazement the
fate of his father and uncle. He resolved to make an effort to set them
at liberty, but his followers were too timid to second his ardour, and
he was finally compelled to submit to the conditions subscribed by his
father, who agreed that the Prince and his cousin Henry, son of the
Earl of Cornwall, should remain as hostages in the hands of the Barons
till their differences were adjusted by Parliament. In this contest
5,000 men were slain. The King, who had his horse slain under him,
performed prodigies of valour. Richard, Earl of Cornwall, was taken

By all accounts it was a good fight, and the best men won. A touch of
humour is added to one record wherein it is related that Richard, King
of the Romans, took refuge in a windmill, wherein he was afterwards
captured amid shouts of "Come out, thou bad miller." This mill stood
near the old Black Horse Inn, but has long since been burnt down.

Accounts vary exceedingly as to the number of the slain, some
authorities giving as many as 20,000, others no more than 2,700.

"Many faire ladie lose hir lord that day,
And many gode bodie slayn at Leans lay.
The nombre none wrote, for tell them might no man.
But He that alle wote, and alle thing ses and can."

(Robert Brune.)

There are certain times, especially in the early hours of a fine autumn
day, when the mass of old grey stone is seen rising above its vassal
town through golden river mists which veil the modernities of the
railway and its appurtenancies, and one feels that the battle might
have taken place yesterday. Strange that this town is an important and
busy railway junction and yet so little has the old-world appearance
of the place suffered in consequence; here are no ugly rows of
railwaymen's cottages in stark evidence on the hillsides; in actual
fact the coming of the railway has added to the antiquarian and
historical interest of the town, as will be seen presently.

A short distance along High Street stands St. Michael's Church, which
has one of the three curious round towers for which the valley of the
Ouse is famous. The style of the tower is Norman, but the body of the
church is of later dates. Here are some fine brasses; one is supposed
to commemorate a de Warenne who died about 1380; another is to John
Bradford, rector, dated 1457. The monument to Sir Nicholas Pelham
(1559) has an oft-quoted punning verse--

"What time the French sought to have sacked Sea-Foord
This Pelham did repel-em back aboord."

St. Anne's Church is nearly a quarter of a mile farther on. The style
is Transitional. There are several interesting items, including a very
fine and ancient font of a "basket" pattern. Note the uncommon
appearance of the capitals on the south side pillars, an ancient tomb
in the chancel wall, and, not least, the doorway with Norman moulding.
There is in this church a window in memory of Lower, a fitting tribute
to the historian of Sussex, but his best memorial will always be that
work that is still the basis of most writings on the past of the

The road continues to the Battlefield and Mount Harry, but to explore
the lower portion of the town a return must be made to High Street. At
the corner of Bull Lane, marked by a memorial tablet and with a queer
carved demon upon its front is Tom Paine's house. Note the unusual
milestone on a house front opposite Keere Street, down which turning is
presently passed (on the left) Southover House (1572), a good example
of Elizabethan architecture. Keere Street has another remnant of the
past in its centre gutter, the usual method of draining the street in
medieval times, but now very seldom seen except in the City of London.

At the foot of the street is the (probably dry) bed of the
Winterbourne, so called because, like other streams of the chalk
country, it flows at intermittent times. A short distance farther, to
the right, and just past St. John's Church, will be found the entrance
to the space once occupied by the first Priory of the Cluniacs in

[Illustration: ST. ANNE'S CHURCH, LEWES.]

Founded in 1078 by William de Warenne and his wife Gundrada and
dedicated to St. Pancras, the Priory was always closely allied with the
parent house on the continent. At the Dissolution more than the usual
vandalism seems to have been observed and Cromwell's creatures must
have vented some personal spite against the monks in their wholesale
demolition of the buildings. A mound to the north-east is supposed to
be the site of a calvary, and until quite recently a "colombarium" or
dovecote was allowed to stand which contained homes for over three
thousand birds.

"The Priory building was probably irregular, varying in its form as the
increase of inmates demanded additional room. But though irregular, it
was certainly a noble edifice, faced with Caen stone, and richly
adorned by the chisel of the sculptor. Its walls embraced an area of 32
acres, 2 rods, 11 perches, and it was not less remarkable for its
magnificence than extent. The length of the church was 150 feet, having
an altitude of 60 feet. It was supported by thirty-two pillars, eight
of which were very lofty, being 42 feet high, 18 feet thick, and 45
feet in circumference; the remaining twenty-four were 10 feet thick, 25
feet in circumference, and 18 feet in height.[1] The belfry was placed
over the centre of the church, at an elevation of 105 feet, and was
supported by the eight lofty pillars above mentioned. The roof over the
high altar was 93 feet high. Its walls were 10 feet thick. On the right
side of the high altar was a vault supported by four pillars, and from
this recess branched out five chapels that were bounded by a wall 70
yards long. A higher vault supported by four massive pillars, 14 feet
in diameter, and 45 feet in circumference, was probably on the left
side of the high altar, and corresponded with the one just mentioned,
from which branched out other chapels or cells of the monks. How many
chapels there were cannot be ascertained; the names of only three are
known, the Virgin Mary, St. Thomas the Martyr, and St. Martin. The
chapter-house and church were by far the most splendid apartments of
this stately pile; the latter was richly adorned by the painter and the

[1] These measurements are confusing, unless the pillars were of
an unusual shape. A round column 18 feet thick would be 54 feet
in circumference.

The wooden chapel of St. Pancras which existed here in Saxon times
probably stood where later the high altar of the great Norman church
was reared, and across this site the Eastbourne trains now run. The
station itself is supposed to be on the site of the convent kitchens
and consequently the present ruins are very scanty. Though the
foundations laid bare at the cutting of the railway in 1845 show the
great extent of the buildings, the battered walls which now remain give
but little indication of the imposing dimensions quoted above, and the
visitor will have to depend on sentiment and the imagination rather
than on actual sightseeing. The excavators in 1845 had a gruesome
experience, for they discovered a charnel pit containing thirteen cart
loads of bones of the fallen warriors at the battle of Lewes. Although
nearly six centuries had elapsed the stench was dreadful.

That the archaeological interest of Lewes owes much to the making of
the railway will now be seen.

[Illustration: THE PRIORY RUINS, LEWES.]

The following account appeared in the _Gentleman's Magazine_, 1845:--

"On the morning of Tuesday, October 28, a most interesting discovery
was made by the workmen employed in forming a cutting for the Lewes and
Brighton Railway, through the ground formerly occupied by the great
Cluniac Priory of St. Pancras, at Lewes. It is well-known that the
original founders, in 1078, were William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, of
a great Norman family, and his wife Gundred, the daughter of William
the Conqueror and his Queen Matilda; that they pulled down an old
wooden church to replace it by a stone one, and that after their deaths
in 1085 and 1088, they were buried in the chapter-house of their
Priory. So effectual, however, was the destruction of the buildings in
1537 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners of Henry VIII that the very
site of the church has been uncertain, and there has long been nothing
visible of the ruins but a confused mass of broken walls and arches
half buried under the soil. The bold intrusion of a railway into these
hallowed precincts has thrown light upon this obscurity, and in the
course of their excavations the workmen have found, covered by some
slabs of Caen stone, two leaden chests containing the bones of the
founders, and inscribed with their names. They are not coffins, but
cists or chests, and are both of similar form and dimensions,
ornamented externally by a large net-work of interlaced cords moulded
in the lead. The cist of William de Warenne measures 2 feet 11 inches
long, by 12-1/2 inches broad, and is 8 inches deep, all the angles
being squared, and the flat loose cover lapping an inch over. On the
upper surface at one end is inscribed in very legible characters
'WillelMus.' The cist of the princess his wife is 2 inches shorter and
1 inch deeper, and the word 'Gvndrada' is very distinctly inscribed on
the cover. It is worth remarking that her father, the Conqueror, in his
charter, calls for Gundfreda, and her husband, who survived her, calls
her Gundreda in his charter.

"It is obvious, from the length of these receptacles, that their bones
have been transferred to them from some previous tombs, and it is not
difficult to suppose that, the chapter-house not being built at the
time of their deaths, the founders were buried elsewhere until its
completion, and that the bodies were then found so decayed that their
bones only remained for removal to a more distinguished situation, and
were, on that occasion, placed in these very leaden chests. A
rebuilding of the Priory Church was begun on the anniversary of William
the founder's death in 1243, and from the antique form of the letters G
and M the inscriptions cannot be fixed at a later period. The
characters, indeed, more resemble the form used in the twelfth century.
Of the genuine antiquity of these relics there cannot be the slightest
doubt. It is locally notorious that the black marble slab which
formerly covered the remains of Gundrada, beautifully carved and
bordered with nine Latin verses in her honour cut in the rim and down
the middle, was discovered in 1775 in Isfield Church, misappropriated
as a tombstone over one of the Shirley family, and by the care of Sir
William Burrel removed to the church of Southover, immediately
adjoining the ruins of the Priory. It is very singular that now, after
an interval of eight years, her very bones should be brought to the
same church (under the superintendence of the Rev. Mr. Scobell) there
to undergo a third burial under Gundrada's marble slab.

"The tombstone of Gundred Countess of Warren was discovered about the
year 1775, by Dr. Clarke, rector of Buxted, in the Shirley chancel of
Isfield Church, forming the table part of a mural monument of Edward
Shirley, Esq., by whose father probably it was preserved at the
demolition of the Priory, and conveyed to Isfield, his manorial estate.
At the expense of Dr., afterwards Sir William, Burrell, it was removed
from its obscure station, and placed upon a suitable shrine, in the
vestry-pew of Southover Church, that being the nearest convenient spot
to its original station. The stone is of black marble, sculptured in
very high relief. The lower end had been broken off before its
discovery at Isfield. Around the rim, and along the middle, is the
following inscription:

Stirps Gundrada ducum, decus evi, nobile germen,
Intulit ecclesiis Anglorum balsama morum,
Martir (is hanc aedem struxit Pancrati in honorem)
Martha fuit miseris, fuit ex pietate Maria;
Pars obiit Marthe, superest pars magna Marie.
O pie Pancrati, testis pietatis et equi,
Te facit heredem, tu clemens suscipe matrem.
Sexta kalendarum junii lux obvia carnis
Fregit alabastrum (superest pars optima coelo).
(_Conjectured words in parenthesis_.)

"Another leaden coffin, full of bones, but without any inscription, has
also been found, longer than those of the founder's, having a
semicircular top, and six large rings of 3-1/4 inches diameter attached
to the outsides. At a little distance from the two small chests, there
was also found the remains of an ecclesiastic, buried without any
coffin, but lying upon a bed of coarse gravel within a hollow space
formed by large flat stones. His hands were in a position indicating
that they had been joined together in the attitude of prayer over his
breast, as usual. Not only his bones, but much of his thick woollen
gown, his under-garment of linen, and his leather shoes have been
preserved. These, too, have been carefully transferred to Southover
Church. It has been conjectured with much probability that these
remains were those of Peter, the son of John, Earl de Warren, the
patron of the monastery, who was appointed prior contrary to the
nomination of the Pope in favour of the suggestion that the reinterment
of the remains of the founders took place about the beginning of the
thirteenth century."


A chapel specially designed to receive the leaden caskets was erected
in excellent taste at St. John's, Southover, in 1847. The names are
plainly decipherable. The tombstone on the floor is that of Gundrada,
brought here from Isfield. The effigy in the wall of the chapel is
conjectured to be that of John de Braose, who died in 1232.

The picturesque old house on the north side of the street is called
Anne of Cleve's House, but this title appears to be contradicted by the
date 1599 on the front of the building; there is a possibility that
this date was added when certain alterations took place; it is certain,
however, that when Thomas Cromwell's time was past the property was
made over to the King, of whom a very startling legend is told locally
to the effect that he murdered one of his wives on a stairway in the

The rebuilt church of St. John-sub-castre has its ugliness redeemed in
the antiquary's eye by the round Saxon arch retained in the outside
wall and by the "Magnus Memorial" as certain stones, bearing a Latin
inscription in Anglo-Saxon characters, are called. Here is also a
fourteenth century tomb and an old font. The churchyard forms the site
of a Roman camp, the vallum of which may still be seen.

[Illustration: THE GRANGE, SOUTHOVER.]

St. Thomas-at-Cliffe has several interesting details including an
uncommon and elaborate "squint" with two pillars; a modern painting of
St. Thomas of Canterbury, patron saint of the church, and an old Dutch
representation of the Ascension.

Among the many famous men of Lewes must be mentioned Tom Paine who came
here in 1768, marrying in 1771 a daughter of the town named Elizabeth
Ollive and in due time succeeding to her father's business of
tobacconist. The house has already been noticed, it bears a memorial
tablet and also a very quaint carved demon. It is just off the High
Street and near St. Michael's Church. Lewes cannot claim the honour of
seeing the birth of _The Rights of Man_ (a rather dubious honour in
those days); the book was written while Paine stayed with his
biographer, Thomas Rickman the bookseller, in London.

Another famous resident of Lewes was John Evelyn, who spent a great
part of his schooldays in the Grammer School at Southover. Here also
was educated John Pell, the famous mathematician.

A house at the end of the town on the Newhaven road belonged to the
Shelleys, and Dr. Johnson once stayed here on his way to the Thrales in

The old "Star" Inn has been converted into municipal offices, but the
fine front still remains and most of the old work in the interior. In
the tower close by, in the Market-place, is "Great Gabriel," a bell
dating, it is said, from the time of Henry III. Lower has the following
lines on the bells of Lewes:--

"Oh, happy Lewes, waking or asleep,
With faithful _hands_ your time _archangels_ keep!
St. _Michael's_ voice the fleeting hour records,
And _Gabriel_ loud repeats his brother's words;
While humble _Cliffites_, ruled by meaner power,
By Tom the _Archbishop_ regulate their hour."

It was hereabouts that a great burning of heretics took place in 1557.
Among the honoured names recorded upon the Martyr's Memorial is that of
Richard Woodman, ironmaster, of Warbleton, whose protests against his
pastor's weathercock attitude during the Marian persecutions resulted
in the stake. The memorial perpetuates the names of sixteen persons who
suffered the fiery death at this time. The consequence is that the zeal
of the townsmen on the 5th of November is Orange in its fervour, and
the streets are given up to various "fireworks" clubs whose members
have been subscribing their spare shillings for months past. Crowds
ascend Saxon Down and the surrounding hills to see the display from a
distance; still greater crowds throng the streets to watch the
destruction in effigy of some unpopular local or national celebrity. Of
the Down land walks we have mentioned the most interesting, by reason
of its fine views of the town, is to Cliffe Hill. An extension may be
made to Saxon Down, a glorious expanse of wind-swept hill; and farther
on to the conical Mount Caburn, with magnificent marine views; from
this point a descent may be made to Glynde, which will be described

The long street of Cliffe leads northwards to South Malling; here is a
conventicle named "Jireh" erected by J. Jenkyns, W.A. These cryptic
initials mean "Welsh ambassador." In the cemetery behind is the tomb of
William Huntingdon, the evangelist, whose epitaph is as follows:--

"Here lies the coalheaver, beloved of his God, but abhorred of men.
The Omniscient Judge at the grand assize shall ratify and confirm
this to the confusion of many thousands; for England and her
metropolis shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.

"W.H., S.S." (Sinner Saved.)

The evangelist was wont to say "As I cannot get a D.D. for want of
cash, neither can I get a M.A. for want of learning, therefore I am
compelled to fly for refuge to S.S."

[Illustration: CLIFFE.]

Malling Church is of no interest except perhaps for the fact that John
Evelyn laid the foundation stone. At Old Malling once stood a Saxon
collegiate church founded by Caedwalla in 688 and therefore one of the
first Christian churches erected in Sussex. The Archbishops of
Canterbury had a residence near, and in the _Memorials of Canterbury_
Dean Stanley tells how Becket's murderers entered the house and threw
their arms on the dining-table, which immediately threw them off;
replaced, they were again thrown farther off with a louder crash. One
of the knights then suggested that the table refused to bear its
sacrilegious burden. This is still a popular local legend.

Ringmer, about two miles to the north-east, is closely connected with
Gilbert White; the oft-quoted letter in which he says "I have now
travelled the Downs upwards of 30 years, yet I still investigate that
chain of majestic mountains with fresh admiration year by year" was
written from here. There are several interesting monuments and brasses
in the church, especially those to the Springett family.

[Illustration: THE EASTERN DOWNS.]



Two miles distant from Lewes on the Eastbourne road is Beddingham,
whose church shows a medley of styles from Norman to Decorated. About
one hundred years ago a discovery was made near the village of a
quantity of human remains together with weapons and accoutrements,
pointing to the probability of a forgotten battle having taken place in
the pass between the hills. A religious house dedicated to St. Andrew
is conjectured to have existed at one time in or near the village.
Monkish records relate that a ship hailing from Dunkirk and having on
board a monk named Balger was driven into Seaford by a storm. This
Balger was of an enterprising turn; making his way inland he helped
himself to the relics of St. Lewinna, a British convert, which reposed
in St. Andrew's Monastery. The adventures that overtook the relics and
their illegal guardian during the journey back to Flanders make up a
medieval romance of much interest and throw a curious light on the
mental attitude of the religious, as regards the rights of property,
during the Dark Ages.

[Illustration: FIRLE BEACON.]

A mile farther along the high road is the turning which leads to Glynde
station and village, for which the most pleasant route is over the
hills. The name is possibly a Celtic survival and describes the
situation between opposing heights. "Glyn" is common throughout the
whole of Wales. The church is in a style quite alien to its
surroundings and might well belong to Clapham or Bloomsbury. It is a
Grecian temple built about 1765 by the then Bishop of Durham, Dr.
Trevor, and here the Bishop was buried. There are few more charming
groups of cottages in Sussex than this beautiful village. Glynde Place,
the seat of a former Speaker of the House of Commons, boasts the
largest dairy in Sussex if not in England; between 700 and 800 pounds
of butter are made here daily. John Ellman, the famous breeder of
Southdown sheep lived here for nearly fifty years (1780-1829.)

A short way farther, on the main road, is a turning to West Firle, on
the east of which is the fine Firle Park belonging to the Gage's, a
very ancient local family whose tombs and brasses may be seen in the
church. The pedestrian is advised to press on to Firle Beacon from
which a descent may be made to Alciston (pronounced "Aston") on the
high road. The heap of flints on the summit of the Beacon is 718 feet
above the sea, and therefore the hill is not so high as it looks, nor
is it, as was formerly supposed to be the case, the second highest
summit of the Downs. The view is superb both northwards to the Weald
and southwards over the Channel. Alciston calls for little comment, the
charm of the place consists in its air of remoteness and peace. The
small church is partly Norman, and in the walls of Court House Farm are
the remains of a religious house. Note the ancient barn and dovecote. A
mile to the north is another little hamlet called "Simson," and spelt
Selmeston. The curious wooden pillars in the church were fortunately
untouched when the building was restored. The old altar slab has five
crosses, and there are one or two interesting brasses.

[Illustration: ALFRISTON CHURCH.]

Berwick is a scattered village on the western slopes of the Cuckmere
valley; the Early English church is embowered in trees on a spur of the
Downs; there is a fine canopied tomb in the chancel, an old screen and
an uncommon type of font built in the wall. Note the eloquent epitaph
to a former rector.

Half a mile farther is a turning on the right that passes Winton
Street, where, a few years ago, there was a rich find of Anglo-Saxon
antiquities. In two miles this byway reaches Alfriston.
("_All_-friston.") The church has a very common legend associated with
it; the foundations are said to have been again and again removed by
supernatural agency from another site to the spot where the solemn and
stately old building now stands. It is a Perpendicular cruciform church
and has an Easter sepulchre and three sedilia. The register is said to
be the oldest in England, its first entry bearing the date of 1512. "A
few years since as many as seventy 'virgins' garlands' hung in
Alfriston Church at once" (Hare). Close by is a delightful
pre-Reformation clergy house. Antiquaries are perhaps as concerned with
the "Star" Inn, one of the most interesting in the south of England and
dating from about 1490. The front of the house is covered with quaint
carvings including St. George and the Dragon, a bear and ragged staff
and what appears to be a lion. On each side of the doorway arc mitred
saints conjectured to represent St. Julian and St. Giles. The inn is
reputed to have been a place of sanctuary under Battle Abbey; it stands
within the abbot's manor of Alciston and was undoubtedly the recognized
hostel for pilgrims and mendicant friars. Another old inn, once a noted
house of call for smugglers, is Market Cross House, opposite all that
remains of the Cross, a mutilated and battered stump, and the only
example, except that at Chichester, in the county.

[Illustration: ALFRISTON.]

Alfriston once had a race week, the course being on the side of Firle
Beacon; in those days the resident population was probably greater than
it is now. Not only were more souls crowded into the old houses still
standing in the village street but tradition tells that the place was
larger and more suited to its spacious old church which is now barely
half filled on an ordinary Sunday.

A footpath may be taken over the Cuckmere and up the hill beyond to the
little dependency of Lullington. The church calls itself the smallest
in Sussex but this depends upon what constitutes a church. The existing
building is actually the chancel of a former church, perhaps another
proof of a dwindling population.

[Illustration: LULLINGTON CHURCH.]

The winding lane on the eastern bank of the Cuckmere is thick with a
glaring white dust on the dry days of summer, but there is no other
practicable route to Litlington; where is a quaint and interesting old
church with arches formed of the native chalk. This village is growing
rather than decaying, and appears to be, in a small way, an asylum for
those who have grown weary of the broader highways. It is in a most
delightful situation and is even within reach of a morning dip in the
sea for those vigorous enough to undertake a three mile walk each way.
"Tea" placards nestling among the roses and ivy on the cottage walls
also testify its attractions to holiday wayfarers, though the way to
Litlington, even for the motor-cyclist, is too strenuous for the
village to become overcrowded or vulgar.

[Illustration: LITLINGTON.]

The Cuckmere now begins to widen its banks and the theory that the
waters once extended from side to side of the valley seems tenable as
we view the wide expanse of sedgy swamp through which the present
channel has been artificially cut. Cuckmere Haven is the name given to
the bay between the last of the "Seven Sisters" and the eastern slopes
of Seaford Head which should be ascended for the sake of the lovely
view up the valley, seen at its best from this end.

"The only light that suits the tranquillity and tender pathos of the
region is that which fills the dimples of the Downs with inexpressibly
soft and dreamy expressions, and quickens the plain by revealing the
individuality of every blade of grass and plough-turned clod by its own

(Coventry Patmore.)

Nearly all the villages of the Cuckmere are in sight and make together
perhaps the most likely to be remembered of Sussex pictures. It is
surprising how little this tranquil vale is known except to the chance
visitor from Seaford. When one remembers the much exploited and spoilt
beauty spots of Dorset and Devon one feels nervous for the future of
these lesser known but equally charming sea-combes of Sussex.

A short distance from the haven a steep gulley leads to the beach with
a convenient chain and rope to prevent too sudden a descent. It has
been suggested that through this gap the Romans passed from their
moored fleets to the fortified settlements above. It was at one time
possible to descend by another opening higher up the cliff to a ledge
called "Puck Church Parlour." This is now inaccessible except to
seabirds. The well-known view of the "Seven Sisters" is taken
hereabouts and the disused "Belle Tout" lighthouse stands up well on
the western slopes of Beachy Head, looking no distance across the
Cuckmere bay.

On the way from Litlington a slight divergence of half a mile or so
might have been made to West Dean; this is a most sequestered little
hamlet, famous only as the meeting place between the great Alfred and
Asser, though some authorities claim the West Dean between Midhurst and
Chichester as the authentic spot. There is a Norman arch in the
tower of the church and also several canopied tombs and some good
stained glass. Here is another priest's house even older than the one
we have seen at Alfriston. George Gissing well describes the village
and the surrounding country in his novel _Thyrza_.

[Illustration: WEST DEAN.]

A Downland road can be taken from here to Friston, Eastdean and
Eastbourne, saving some miles of up and down walking, but the most
enjoyable though more strenuous route is by the cliff path from
Cuckmere Haven over the "Seven Sisters" cliffs to Beachy Head; a
glorious six miles with the sea on one side and the Downs on the other,
culminating in the finest headland on the south coast, 575 feet high,
the magnificent end of the Downs in the sea. All these cliffs provide
nesting-places for wild birds.

"I was much struck by the watchful jealousy with which the peregrines
seemed to guard the particular cliff--more than 500 feet from the
sea--on a lofty ledge of which their nest was situated, and which,
indeed, they evidently considered their especial property; with the
exception of a few jackdaws who bustled out of the crevices below, all
the other birds which had now assembled on this part of the coast for
the breeding season--it being about the middle of May--seemed to
respect the territory of their warlike neighbours. The adjoining
precipice, farther westward, was occupied by guillemots and razorbills,
who had deposited their eggs, the former on the naked ledge, the latter
in the crevices in the face of the cliff Here the jackdaws appeared
quite at their ease, their loud, merry note being heard above every
other sound, as they flew in and out of the fissures in the white rock
or sate perched on a pinnacle near the summit, and leisurely surveyed
the busy crowd below."

(A.E. Knox.)

At Birling Gap, just short of the Head, is a coast-guard station and
the point of departure for the cable to France where we may descend to
the coast by an opening which was once fortified. In history Beachy
Head (possibly "Beau Chef") is chiefly remembered for the battle
between the combined English and Dutch fleets and the French, in which
the English admiral did not show to the best advantage.

[Illustration: EAST DEAN.]

Before the erection of the Belle Tout Light wrecks off the Head were of
frequent occurrence and many are the tales of gallant fight and
hopeless loss told by the coast dwellers here. "Parson Darby's Hole"
under the Belle Tout is said to have been made by the vicar of East
Dean (1680) as a refuge for castaways. We can but hope that his
parishioners were as humane, but the probability is that the parson's
efforts were looked on askance by his flock, who gained a prosperous
livelihood by the spoils of the shore; and perhaps this feeling gave
rise to the unkind fable that the cave was made as a refuge from Mrs.
Darby's tongue.

"Sussex men that dwell upon the shore
Look out when storms arise and billows roar;
Devoutly praying with uplifted hands
That some well-laden ship may strike the sands.
To whose rich cargo they may make pretence."


The fine carriage-road which leaves Beachy Head leads directly into
Eastbourne and is called the Duke's Drive. It was owing to the
initiative of the grandfather of the present Duke of Devonshire, whose
local seat is at Compton Place on the west of the town that the little
hamlet of Sea Houses became the present beautiful and fashionable
resort, with a sea-front of nearly three miles of gardens backed by
hotels, boarding-houses and schools. As at Folkestone, education is
here a strong feature, and a few years ago demure files of young ladies
with attendant dragon taking the air between breakfast and study might
have been seen. The epoch-ending events of the last few years, however,
appear to have killed the "caterpillar."

Eastbourne seems to have carefully pushed its workers, together with
the gasworks, market gardens, and other utilitarian features round the
screen of Splash Point. The boulevards going west and north are full of
fine houses and brilliant shops and are lined with well grown trees.
The continuation of Terminus Road will take us in a little over a mile
to the old town; here is the parish church, mostly Transitional, and
with many interesting features which should on no account be missed.
Note the oak screen in the chancel; sedilia and piscina; also an Easter
sepulchre. There is some old Flemish glass in the east window of the
nave aisle; that of the chancel is modern but good. Near the church is
a farmhouse, once a priory of Black Friars. The ancient "Lamb Inn" has
an Early English crypt which may be seen on application.

[Illustration: BEACHY HEAD.]

The most popular excursion from Eastbourne after "The Head" is to
Willingdon, near which is Hampden Park and Wannock Glen, and, farther
afield, Jevington. Willingdon has an interesting old church and is
pleasantly situated, but the village is too obviously the "place to
spend a happy day" to call for further comment. On the other hand,
Jevington with its ancient but over-restored church, is quite unspoilt
and, lying in one of the most beautiful of the Down combes, should
certainly be visited.

We are now at the end of the Downs and the scenery eastwards takes on
an entirely different character:--

"The great and fertile plain stretching along the Sussex coast from the
eastward of Beachy Head in the direction of Hastings, and inland
towards Wartling, Hurstmonceux and Hailsham, now studded with fat
beeves, was at some remote era, covered by the sea, and what are known
as 'eyes,' or elevations above the surrounding level--such as Chilleye,
Northeye, Horseye, Richeye, &c.--must have been islands, forming a
miniature archipelago. As all these are of Saxon meaning, it may be
presumed that, at the time of the Saxon colonization, they were
frequently or constantly insulated."



Five miles from Eastbourne across the dreary flats of Pevensey Level
lies all that remains of the city of Anderida, the headquarters of the
Roman "Count of the Saxon Shore" and one of the last strongholds of
Rome in Britain. The melancholy tale of the overthrow of ancient
civilization in this corner of England by the barbarous Saxon invaders
is summed up in the terse words of their own chronicle--"They slew all
that dwelt therein, nor was there henceforth one Briton left." The name
"Andredes Weald" is derived from the British--An tred--"No houses," and
it correctly described the surrounding country at the time of the Roman
occupation. The great Weald or forest actually extended from the coast
to the Thames valley, broken only by the "Old Road" along the side of
the North Downs, traversed by far-off ancestors of ours whose feelings
as they gazed fearfully down into the depths of the primeval wood must
have been on a plane with those of the earliest African explorers in
the land of Pygmies. Here were the very real beginnings of those
countless tales of Gnome and Fairy--ferocious tribe and gentle
tribe--with which our folk-lore abounds.

[Illustration: JEVINGTON.]

As to the existence of a British town here before the coming of the
Romans nothing is known, but that Pevensey Bay witnessed the landing of
Julius Caesar is tolerably certain, and here the custodians of Britain
erected a great stronghold of whose walls we shall see the remnants as
we first enter the castle. In 490 Ella besieged the city and, as quoted
above, put it to fire and sword in effectual fashion; from this period
therefore must be dated the foundations of the South Saxon kingdom.
After upwards of five hundred years another conqueror appeared on the
old Roman wall. On the twenty-eighth September 1066 William I landed,
stumbled and fell, and "clutched England with both hands." Pevensey
(Peofn's Island) was given to Robert of Mortain, and he it was who
built the massive castle of the "Eagle" which we see rising inside the
Roman wall. This name arose from the title "Honour of the Eagle" which
was given to de Aquila, holder of the fortress under Henry I. After
many changes of owners who included Edward I, Edward III and John of
Gaunt, and after being besieged by Stephen against Matilda, by the
Barons against Henry III, and by Richard II against Bolingbroke it fell
on evil times and was actually sold for forty pounds by the
Parliamentary commissioners as building material. The keep is in ruins
and the chapel can only be traced in the grassy floor; here may still
be seen the old font covered by an iron frame, and the opening of the
castle well, in which, as related by Hare, skulls of the wolves which
once roamed the great forest have been found.

In connexion with the Norman occupation of Sussex the curious and
arbitrary system of "Rapes" by which the county is divided should be
noticed. These six blocks of land have no apparent relation to the
natural features of the country; each contains a powerful castle to
overawe the division to which it belongs. The whole plan is eloquent of
the method by which the Norman ruled the conquered race and kept them
in subjection.

[Illustration: PEVENSEY.]

Pevensey shore is very trying for the pedestrian. The great expanse of
shingle is of that drifting variety which makes walking almost an

Pevensey church is to the east of the castle; the interior is graceful
and it has some interesting details. Note the case of local
curiosities, title deeds, etc. Westham, that part of the village
nearest the station, was the overflow settlement from the walled town;
this has a much finer church with Norman remains dating from the
Conqueror's time, and the tower is noble in its massive proportions.
Visitors should purchase the interesting little booklet shown on the
table within the porch. The church has a fine oak screen in the south
chancel and a stone altar with five crosses in the north aisle. Not far
away is a large farmhouse known as "Priest-house"; this was once a
monastic establishment.

[Illustration: WESTHAM.]

Close to Westham is Pevensey Station, from which the traveller can
proceed to Hastings, Rye and Winchelsea; this beautiful and interesting
district of Sussex is dealt with in Mr. Bradley's _An Old Gate of
England_, and we must regretfully turn westwards. The return journey to
Lewes may be made by the railway, though the Downs, for the unfatigued
traveller, should prove the most alluring route. After passing Polegate
a good view may be had on the left of the "Long Man of Wilmington" a
figure 230 feet in length with a staff in each hand cut in the
escarpment of Windover Hill; this is the only prehistoric figure on the
Sussex Downs. Its origin has never been satisfactorily explained. Lower
has suggested that it was the work of an idle monk of Wilmington. This
is most unlikely. The theory has lately been put forward that the
"staff" which the figure appears to be holding in each hand is really
the outline of a door and that the effigy is that of Balder pushing
back the gates of night. Wilmington village has an interesting Norman
Church with a very fine yew in the churchyard. Built into the walls of
a farmhouse close by are some remains of a Benedictine priory.
Beautiful walks into the nearer woodlands of the Weald are easily taken
from this pleasant village and the hill rambles toward Jevington are

Before leaving this district mention must be made of Hurstmonceux. The
nearest station is Pevensey, from which there is a rather dull walk of
four miles across the Pevensey Levels. The more picturesque route is
from Hailsham, though this is longer and belongs more to a tour of the
Weald. The only village passed on the way from Pevensey is Wartling,
beyond which a footpath can be taken across the meadows with a fine
view of the ruins ahead. The present castle was built by Sir Roger de
Fiennes in the reign of Henry VI. The name is taken from the first Lord
of the Manor, Waleran de Monceux.

[Illustration: WILMINGTON GREEN.]

The outer shell is all that remains of what was once one of the
grandest fortified mansions in England; it is now but a subject for
artists and photographers, though at one time, since its dismantling,
it made a good secret wine and spirit vaults. The colour of the walls
is a surprise until it is realized that the building is of brick. The
southern entrance, by which we approach, is the most imposing part of
the ruin. We enter by a wooden bridge across the moat; this replaces
the drawbridge. In the recessed chamber behind the central arch a
ghostly drum was sometimes heard, and the supernatural drummer was
supposed to guard hidden treasure. This legend was made good use of by
the smuggling fraternity, the thumping of an empty keg being sufficient
to scare away inconvenient visitors. Within the walls we are in a
wilderness of broken brickwork covered with an enormous growth of ivy.
Notice the great oven, and the ruins of the private chapel on the north
side. The circuit of the walls should be made as far as is practicable;
the magnificent row of Spanish chestnuts is much admired.

The story of the demolition of Hurstmonceux is unhappy reading; the act
of vandalism for which the architect Wyatt was officially responsible
seems to have been prompted by family spite.

The church is of great interest. The Dacre chantry and the splendid
tomb of Thomas Fiennes, Lord Dacre, must be noticed; also a brass of
Sir William Fiennes, 1405. The association of the place with the Hares,
who are buried under the yew in the churchyard, although of recent date
is nevertheless of much interest. The property and the living, which
passed in 1855, came to the family through George Naylor of Lincoln's
Inn, who bought them in 1708.

Near the church stands a fine fourteenth-century barn. The village is
remarkable for a local industry--the making of "trug" baskets for the
carriage of fruit.



The direct route to Brighton for pedestrians is by a footpath which
leaves Lewes at the west end of Southover Street; this leads to the
summit of Newmarket Hill and thence to the Racecourse and Kemp Town. No
villages are passed and but few houses, and the six miles of Down,
although so near a great town, are as lonely as any other six in
Sussex. The high road leaves the town by the Battlefield road past St.
Anne's church and follows the railway closely until the tram lines on
the outskirts of Brighton are reached; this route passes Falmer,
north-west of which lies the beautiful Stanmer Park, seat of the Earl
of Chichester.

[Illustration: THE BRIGHTON DOWNS.]

It will be best, however, to take the Newhaven road from Southover
which hugs the foot of the Downs and in a short two miles reaches
Iford. About half-way a turning to the right leads to the snug little
village of Kingston with the hills rising closely all round. This place
was once the property of Sir Philip Sidney. The remains of an ancient
house belonging to the Priory at Lewes are to be seen in the old
farmhouse named Swanborough which lies between Kingston and Iford. The
architecture is Perpendicular, and Early English; permission should be
obtained to examine the interesting details which, include a venerable
oak table in the kitchen. Iford Church is a Norman building with a
central tower and an Early English font.

A little over a mile farther is Rodmell with very fine Norman details
in the church, which has the rare feature of a baptistery. The early
Decorated screen is good; note also the squint with a shaft in the
centre. Here is a brass dated 1433 in memory of Agatha Broke, on the
back of which is another inscription to some one else of the
seventeenth century. The church is surrounded by magnificent trees,
and of especial note is the huge holm oak which overshadows the rest.
The village inn has on its walls a quaint and amusing collection of
precepts for its habitues which might well be duplicated elsewhere.
Southease, the next village, has another of the three round towers of
Sussex, and Piddinghoe, two miles farther, the third. These towers are
a matter of puzzled conjecture to archaeologists; all three, Lewes,
Southease and Piddinghoe are on the western bank of the Ouse. The
suggestion that they were originally beacon towers is not very
convincing, though the Ouse at the time they were built was a wider and
deeper stream, forming in fact an estuary haven. The more prosaic
explanation is that lack of stone for the quoins, which every square
flint tower must have, led the builders to adopt this form. In any
case, a beacon fire from a square tower is as effectual as from a round
one. Piddinghoe has many associations with the smuggling days which
have given birth to some quaint sayings, as "Pidd'nhoo they dig for
moonshine,"--"At Pidd'nhoo they dig for smoke," etc., but we fail to
see the point in "Magpies are shod at Pidd'nhoo."

[Illustration: NEWHAVEN CHURCH.]

Seven miles from Lewes stands the rather mean port of Newhaven. After
many years of neglect and decay this Elizabethan sea-gate is once more
of great importance in continental traffic. Much money and skill were
expended during the latter half of the nineteenth century in improving
the harbour and building a breakwater and new quays. Louis Philippe
landed here in 1848, having left Havre in his flight from France in the
steamer "Express"; he was received by William Catt, who at one time
owned the tide mills at Bishopstone; this worthy was a well known
Sussex character and is immortalized by Lower. Newhaven has little to
show the visitor beyond the small Norman church which has a chancel
apse at the east of the tower. This portion is interesting but the nave
has suffered from ignorant tinkering under the alias of "restoration."
In the churchyard is a monument to those who perished in the wreck of
the "Brazen" sloop of war in 1800 off the harbour, and another to a
local brewer of the one-time famous "Tipper" ale, made from brackish
water. The town was once called Meeching; this name is perpetuated in
"Meeching Place" where a descendant of William Catt still lives.


On the east of the Ouse is a much more interesting halt for the
tourist in the small village of Bishopstone. The small remains of the
tide mills just referred to are near the station. The very fine Norman
church is about a mile away on the road to the Downs. The four storied
tower is almost unique. Each stage diminishes in size, thus dispensing
with buttresses; in this respect it is similar to Newhaven. Notice
under the short spire a quaint corbel table. The south porch is
extremely interesting as Saxon work though the mouldings are probably
later enrichments by Norman workmen. Over the door is a stone dial with
a cross and the name EADRIC. The interior is a good example of the
change from round to pointed, the pure Norman of the east end gradually
changing to Early English at the west. The combination of Norman
ornament with the later style is almost unique in Sussex. In the vestry
an interesting stone slab is shown; this was discovered during the
restoration. It bears the carved presentment of a lamb, a cross, and
two doves drinking. At this time a stone coffin lid, and a hidden
fourteenth-century niche in the porch were also discovered. In the
chancel is a memorial to James Hurdis, formerly Vicar of the parish,
the author of _The Village Curate_, which has been likened to Cowper's
_Task_; the verses are full of shrewd wit and local colour.

One mile south-east is the village of East Blatchington, now a suburb
of Seaford; the restored church is Norman and Early English. In the
south wall is a curious recess in Decorated style, the real use of
which has not yet been discovered. Notice the sedilia and projecting
piscina, and the tablet to the memory of the famous aeronaut, Coxwell,
who died here in 1900.

Seaford was once an ancient port at the mouth of the Ouse before that
river forsook its old channel for the outlet where is now the "New
Haven." An important satellite of Hastings and ranking as one of the
lesser Cinque ports, the old town saw much history-making during the
French wars and suffered accordingly. Its actual foundation dates at
least from Roman times as is proved by the fragments of sculpture,
coins, etc., dug up at different times during the last two hundred
years. At the rear of the East Cliff, near a footpath leading to
Chyngton, are traces of a Roman cemetery with possible evidence of
earlier British burials.

In the town itself are some interesting though scanty remains of
mediaeval times. In the garden of a house named "The Folly" is a
vaulted room the origin of which has never been satisfactorily
explained. It is possibly part of the Ancient Hospital of St. Leonard.
The open space at the higher end of the town is called "The Crouch" a
name that is a corruption of "The Crux." The fine old Hardwicke House
in Broad Street is dated 1603. At one time it was a lodging-house, but
its fortunes have lately risen. Seaford House was once the temporary
residence of Tennyson.

Seaford church is dedicated to St. Leonard and is Norman as far as the
tower is concerned, of which the embattlement is modern; note the
crosses in black flints on three of the sides. The base of the walls of
the church date from this period, rising through Transitional to
Perpendicular. The detail has been largely spoilt through restoration.
Note the capitals of the pillars which are most elaborately worked,
that near the south door having a representation of the Crucifixion
carved upon it.

[Illustration: SEAFORD CHURCH.]

Millburgh House was once the property of a noted smuggler named
Whitfield, whose immunity from punishment was obtained by judicious
presents of choice wines in high quarters. Tales of the old smuggling
days would fill many pages, and undoubtedly the profession formed the
major commercial asset not only of Seaford but of more important Sussex
towns both on the coast and on the roads leading to the capital.

Lower has recorded many interesting facts about the long war between
the revenue officers and the natives, relieved at all times by the
unfailing humour of the law-breakers, who took a keen delight in
fooling the exciseman. It was but infrequently that real tragedy took
place; considering the times, and the manner of those times, the
records of Sussex are fairly clean. Such brutal murders as that of
Chater in 1748, which crime was expiated at Chichester, were rare. The
professionals were nearly all men of substance and standing in the
land. The marine smuggler was of course a separate breed whose
adventures and danger were of a different sort and, despite the glamour
of the sea, of much less interest and excitement; on the other hand
most of the inhabitants of such places as Alfriston had one or more of
the male members of the family engaged in the trade, and many are the
houses which still have secret vaults and chambers for the reception of
the goods, chiefly wine, brandy, silk and tea. Most of the churches
between Seaford and Lewes have at one time or another proved convenient
temporary storage places, and on more than one occasion Sunday service
has had to be suspended, on one excuse or another, until the building
could be cleared of its congregation of tubs. Lower records that at
Selmeston the smugglers actually used an altar tomb as a store for
spirits, always leaving a tub for the parson.

Seaford in its new role as a holiday resort has a serious obstacle to
surmount; the only sea "front" possible is a wide shingle beach
separated from the old town by a nondescript stretch of sandy desert;
when and if this is filled in or converted into a garden the town
should prosper exceedingly, for it has great natural attractions in
Seaford Head which rises to the east and in the glorious Down walks
within easy distance. In actual distance by rail it is, next to
Brighton, the nearest South Coast resort to London and without doubt
has a successful future before it. It is but little over two miles to
the Cuckmere valley past the Roman camp and over the Head. The views of
the "Seven Sisters" and on to Beachy Head from this point are very
fine, and the great cliff itself, though much lower, is almost as
interesting as the Eastbourne height. For one thing the wild life of
the precipice is more easily studied, the crowds which on most summer
days throng the more popular Head are not met with here. The writer has
spent a June morning quite alone but for the myriad birds wheeling
around and scolding at his presumption in being there at all.

[Illustration: SEAFORD HEAD.]

The route now follows the coast road from Newhaven westwards. From the
Portobello coastguard station, four miles from Newhaven Bridge, a road
runs across the downs to the beautiful little village of Telscombe,
nestling in a secluded combe in the heart of the hills; by-roads and
footpaths also lead here by delightful ways from Southease and
Piddinghoe. The church is old and interesting, quite unspoilt by any
attempt at restoration; note the beautiful font on a marble platform.

Both here and at Rottingdean the artificial height of the churchyard
above the surrounding land will be noticed. Cobbett's explanation for
this is the obvious but rather gruesome one that dust added to dust has
more than doubled the contents of the consecrated ground. From the
comparative heights of the enclosure the author of _Rural Rides_
reckoned the age of the building, a method which made a greater appeal
to him than the rule of Norman round or English point.

Rottingdean has lately made a name for itself by reason of its modern
literary associations. Its connexion with William Black and Rudyard
Kipling is well known. Cardinal Manning and Bulwer Lytton both attended
a once celebrated school kept here by Dr. Hooker. Edward Burne-Jones
has left a lasting memorial of his association with the place in the
beautiful east window of the church which was designed and presented by
the artist. Certain columns in the walls point to the existence of a
Saxon building of which these are the remains. Notice the effect of the
tower in its unusual position between chancel and nave.

The village has a deserved place in the national history, as the
following account will show:--

"In 1377 Hastings was burnt by the French, who also attempted to burn
Winchelsea, but were foiled. They also attacked Rye, where they landed
from five vessels. After plundering and setting it on fire they went
away, leaving the town desolate. They landed at Rottingdean, advanced
over the Downs with the design of laying waste Lewes, but in this were
disappointed by the valour of John de Cariloce, Prior of Lewes, Sir
Thomas Cheney, Constable of Dover Castle, Sir John Falsley, and others,
who upon apprisal of it, hastened their vassals, and were joined by a
number of peasantry, who boldly ascended the Downs, resolved to repel
the invaders. They were insufficient both in number and skill to cope
with the well-trained troops of France. The brave peasantry were
totally routed, but not till one hundred of their party had sacrificed
their lives, and the Prior and the two knights had been made prisoners.
The loss which the French had sustained prevented further
encroachments, and they returned to their ships with their prisoners,
who were conducted to France."

That Rottingdean was known and appreciated over one hundred years ago
will come as a surprise to many. The following account appeared in the
_Gentleman's Magazine_, 1801:--

"The pleasant and delightful village of Rottingdean is situated on the
Newhaven Road, at the distance of nearly four miles from
Brighthelmstone, a popular watering place. This place is no otherwise
remarkable than for its wells, which are nearly empty at high water,
but which rise as the tide declines. This little village has of late
been the resort of a considerable number of genteel company, for which
bathing-machines and every accommodation have been provided. Here are a
variety of lodging houses, a good inn, with convenient stables,
coach-houses, etc. It is most frequented by such families as prefer a
little retirement to the bustle and gaiety of Brighthelmstone, and who
occasionally may wish to mix with the company there, for which its
situation renders it at any time perfectly convenient. The road from
Rottingdean to Brighthelmstone is delightfully pleasant in the summer
season. On one side you have an extensive view of the sea, and on the
other the Downs, covered with innumerable flocks of sheep, so justly
held in estimation for their delicious flavour."

[Illustration: ROTTINGDEAN.]

About two and a half miles from Rottingdean in a lonely dene surrounded
by the Downs is the little hamlet of Balsdean; there is nothing to see
here but a building locally called "The Chapel" (the architecture is
Decorated, with an ancient thatched roof) but the walk will give the
stranger to the district a good idea of the solitude and unique
characteristics of the chalk hills. The curious T-shaped cuttings still
to be seen in the sides of the Downs may be remarked; these are where
the traps set to catch wheatears were set. A great trade was once done
by the Downland peasantry in these "Sussex Ortolans," as they were
called, but of late years the demand has dwindled to vanishing point.

The lover of the picturesque will feel grateful to the powers who
refuse to destroy the deserted windmills which stud the Downs and of
which there is one good example near here. One cannot suppose however
that the object of letting them stand is other than utilitarian; after
a long life of service in their original capacity these daylight
beacons perform the duty of landmarks for seamen in the Channel.

A footpath from Rottingdean just a mile long crosses the Downs to
Ovingdean, another lonely hamlet without inn or shop. An ancient
church, possibly Saxon in part, and a few houses hidden by trees make a
goal of a favourite walk from Brighton. Harrison Ainsworth has made the
little place famous in "Ovingdean Grange," in which romance the
novelist makes it one of the scenes in the flight of Charles II; this
however is incorrect, as it is certain that Brighton was the limit of
the royal fugitive's journey eastwards. The large building on the hill
above Ovingdean is Roedean College for girls; its fine situation and
imposing size make it a landmark, and the seascape from its windows
must be unrivalled.

[Illustration: BRIGHTON.]



"Kind, cheerful, merry Dr. Brighton." Thackeray's testimonial is as apt
to-day as when it was written, but the doctor is not one of the
traditional type. Here is no bedside manner and no misplaced sympathy,
in fact he is rather a hardhearted old gentleman to those patients who
are really ill in mind or body and his remedies are of the "hair of the
dog that bit you" type.

Londoners take Brighton as a matter of course and--as Londoners--are
rarely enthusiastic. It takes a Frenchman to give the splendid line of
buildings which forms the finest front in the world the admiration that
is certainly its due. When one has had time to dissect the great town,
appreciation is keener; there are several Brightons; there is a town
built on a cliff, another with spacious lawns on the sea level, and a
third, the old Brighton, bounded by the limits of the original fishing
village, and, with all its brilliance, having a distinctly briny smell
as of fish markets and tarred rope and sun-baked seaweed when you are
near the shingle. This last is nearly an ever-present scent, for the
sun is seldom absent summer or winter; in fact it is when the days are
shortest that Brighton is at its best; The clear brilliance of the air
when the Capital is full of fog and even the Weald between is covered
with a cold pall of mist, makes the south side of the Downs another
climate. Richard Jeffries, almost as great a town hater as Cobbet, has
a good word for Brighton. "Let nothing cloud the descent of those
glorious beams of sunlight which fall at Brighton" (referring to its
treelessness). "Watch the pebbles on the beach; the foam runs up and
wets them, almost before it can slip back the sunshine has dried them
again. So they are alternately wetted and dried. Bitter sea and glowing
light, dry as dry--that describes the place. Spain is the country of
sunlight, burning sunlight, Brighton is a Spanish town in England, a

The history of Brighton is the history of Piccadilly, but although the
Prince Regent is usually credited with the discovery of the town, this
title to fame must be given to a doctor of Lewes named Russel, who
wrote a book on the virtues of sea water as applied to the person. This
was published in 1750, and from that time must be dated the rise of
England's first sea resort, for almost immediately patients eager for
the new cure came thronging from London by post-chaise and family
coach, and the doctor soon removed from his native town to attend them.
The "cure" became the mode, and in 1783, when the Prince made his first
visit, the fortune of the town was assured.

After a hundred years that ended with the Mid-Victorians the
exclusiveness of Brighton gave way to the excursion train, and though
still a fashionable place, it is now more than ever London-by-the-sea
and caters with true courtliness for coster and duke.

Brighton was never a "steps to the sea" for anywhere but London, and
its beginnings as a small but independent fishing settlement are very
remote; according to some seventeenth century writers it once boasted
walls and upwards of two thousand inhabitants, but through the
depredations of the sea, it had dwindled to a mere hamlet, and cut off
by the Downs and away from all the usual channels of communication, the
self-sufficiency of the place must have received a rude shock when the
first visitors arrived, but natives of the coast are notoriously
adaptable and know a "sure thing." The following account written in
1766 shows how quickly the town was preparing for its great future.

"Brighthelmstone, in the County of Sussex, is distant from London 57
miles, is a small, ill-built town, situate on the sea coast, at present
greatly resorted to in the summer time by persons labouring under
various disorders for the benefit of bathing and drinking sea water,
and by the gay and polite on account of the company which frequent it
at that season. Until within a few years it was no better than a mere
fishing town, inhabited by fishermen and sailors, but through the
recommendation of Dr. Russel, and by the means of his writing in favour
of sea water, it is become one of the principal places in the kingdom
for the resort of the idle and dissipated, as well as the diseased and

"It contains six principal streets, five (East Street, Black Lion
Street, Ship Street, Middle Street, West Street) lie parallel with each
other, and are terminated by the sea. The sixth, North Street, running
along the ends of the other five, from the assembly house almost to the
church. The church, which is a very ancient structure, is situate at a
small distance from the town, upon an eminence, from which there is an
exceedingly fine view of the sea, and in the churchyard is a monument
erected to the memory of Captain Nicholas Tattersell, who assisted King
Charles II in his escape after the Battle of Worcester.

"The house in which the King was concealed is kept by a publican who
has hung the King's head for his sign. The church is a rectory, and the
Rev. Mr. Mitchell is the present incumbent; besides the church there
are three other places of worship, one for Presbyterians, another for
Quakers, and a third for Methodists, which last is lately erected at
the expense of the Countess of Huntingdon adjoining her house, through
which there is a communication. There are two assembly rooms, which are
opened on different nights, one kept by Mr. Shergold, and the other by
Mr. Hicks, who also keeps the coffee-house. The place on which the
company usually walk in the evening is a large field near the sea,
called the Stean, which is kept in proper order for that purpose, and
whereon several shops with piazzas and benches therein are erected, as
is also a building to perform in when the weather will permit. There is
also a small battery towards the sea. At a little distance from the
town is a mineral spring which is said to be a very fine one though
little used. Upon the hills near the church the Isle of Wight is
frequently seen on a clear day. About the town are very pleasant Downs
for the company to ride on, the air of which is accounted extremely
wholesome, and about eight miles from Brighthelmstone on the Downs is
one of the finest prospects in the world called Devil's Dyke."

The literary associations of Brighton are many and various. Charles
Lamb lived for some years is Sussex House, Ship Street. Paston House
was the home of William Black before he removed to Rottingdean.
Ainsworth produced a goodly portion of his historical novels at No. 5,
Arundel Terrace, and at 4 Percival Terrace, Herbert Spencer spent the
last years of his life and here died. The name of Holyoake, the social
reformer, is connected with Eastern Lodge, Camelford Street. A list of
such names might be extended indefinitely, and if the celebrities who
have been regular visitors were mentioned the record would be endless,
though it is said that Robert Browning never entered the town. Dr.
Johnson stayed in West Street, when the Thrales lived there; he bathed
with the rest and, unlike the rest, abused the surroundings in his
usual manner, declaring that a man would soon be so overcome by the
dismalness of the Downs that he would hang himself if he could but find
a tree strong enough to bear his weight!

Every Dickensian would like to identify the house which the creator of
Paul Dombey had in mind when he painted the inimitable portrait of Mrs.
Pipchin, "ogress and child queller," whose castle "was in a steep bye
street.... where the small front gardens had the property of producing
nothing but marigolds, whatever was sown in them; and where snails were
constantly discovered holding on to the street doors.... In the winter
time the air couldn't be got out of the Castle, and in the summer time
it couldn't be got in.... It was not naturally a fresh smelling house;
and in the window of the front parlour, which was never opened, Mrs.
Pipchin kept a collection of plants in pots, which imparted an earthy
flavour of their own to the establishment."

Little Paul afterwards went to Dr. Blimber's, which "was a mighty fine
house fronting the sea"; this has been identified as being on or near
the site now occupied by the Metropole. Thackeray, whose verdict on the
town is quoted at the head of this chapter, laid several scenes among
these squares and crescents and gave to one of his greatest characters
the town's best known feature as a title.

The extraordinary and incongruous building in the Steyne known as the
Pavilion was built by Nash at the instigation of George IV. The
architect cannot be entirely blamed for the monstrosity, the general
idea and "style" was no doubt conceived by his patron. This is how the
Pavilion impressed Cobbett: "Take a square box the sides of which are
three feet and a half and the height a foot and a half. Take a large
Norfolk turnip, cut of the green of the leaves, leave the stalk nine
inches long, tie these round with a string three inches from the top,
and put the turnip on the middle of the top of the box. Then take four
turnips of half the size, treat them in the same way, and put them on
the corners of the box. Then take a considerable number of bulbs, of
the Crown-Imperial, the narcissus, the hyacinth, the tulip, the crocus
and others; let the leaves of each have sprouted to about an inch more
or less according to the size of the bulb; put all these pretty
promiscuously but pretty thickly on top of the box. Then stand off and
look at your architecture."


The building now belongs to the town, and the stables (The "Dome") form
a very fine concert hall. The adjacent buildings, all part of the
Pavilion, are used as Museum, Library and Picture Gallery. The
residence of Mrs. Fitzherbert still overlooks the Steyne, up the steps
of this house Barrymore drove his carriage and pair to the great
detriment of both house and equipage. The Y.M.C.A. now occupy the
premises. One of the best descriptions of the Regent's Brighton is in
"Rodney Stone."

It was about 1826 that the greatest growth in building took place; from
about this period date those magnificent squares, Regency and Brunswick
in Hove, and Sussex Square in Kemp Town.

The Steyne is now a pleasant public garden; it was originally the
"Stane" or rock upon which fishing nets were dried. St. Peter's
Church at the north end was built in 1824 by Barry, and for its
period is not unpleasing. In Church Street is the only ancient church
in Brighton; it is dedicated to St. Nicholas; and was to a great
extent rebuilt in 1853. Note its fine gilt screen and the Norman font
with a representation of the Lord's Supper and certain scenes connected
with the sea, but too archaic to be actually identified. In a chantry
chapel is the Wellington memorial, an ornate cross eighteen feet high.
The Duke was a worshipper here while a pupil of the then vicar, and the
restoration of the church was a part of the memorial scheme. Captain
Tattersell, who was instrumental in the escape of Charles II, is buried
in the churchyard and a monument sets forth--

"When Charles ye great was nothing but a breath,
This valiant soul stept between him and death."

Here is also a memorial to Phoebe Hessel, who fought as a private in
the fifth regiment of foot at the Battle of Fontenoy and died here aged

There are several fine churches which have been built during recent
years, including St. Paul's in West Street; every excursionist knows
this, and to thousands it is the only church in Brighton, being on
the direct route from the station to the sea. St. Martin's and St.
Bartholomew's are open all day and are well worth a visit. Trinity
Chapel was the scene for six years of the incumbency of F.W. Robertson,
and another preacher of more recent fame, R.J. Campbell, was for a time
the Minister of Union Street Congregational Church.

[Illustration: ST. NICHOLAS, BRIGHTON.]

The old Chain Pier was, next to the Pavilion, the most distinctive
feature of the town; built in 1823 and paved with stone, it was
historic as the first pleasure pier. Swept away by a storm on the night
of December 4, 1896, old Brightonians must have felt that something had
gone from their lives when they looked from their windows next morning.

One of the "institutions" of Brighton is the Aquarium; it contains a
very good collection of Marine exhibits, not as much appreciated as
they should be. Of late years extra attractions have had to be added
and concerts and other entertainments help to keep the glass tanks and
their occupants popular.

Kemp Town, named after its speculative builder, has been but briefly
alluded to; it is to many the most attractive part of the great town,
rising at the east end to a respectable height above the sea and with
fine views of the Channel. Unlike its parent it has no "history"
whatever. King Edward, during the last years of his life, took a liking
to this part of Brighton, and in his honour the district was officially
renamed "King's Cliff," but the new style does not seem to have become
popular. On the other hand Hove, with its "Lawns" and imposing squares,
has a past; the following note appears in the _Gentleman's Magazine_
dated 1792: "Hoove, by some spelled Hove or Hova, lies on the road
between Brighthelmstone and New Shoreham, about two miles from the
former and four from the latter. It was one of the many lordships in
the county of Sussex which the Conqueror's survey records to have been
the estate of Godwin Earl of Kent, in Edward the Confessor's time, and
which after his death passed to his eldest son Harold, who being
afterwards King, was slain by the Norman Duke, who seized his lands and
gave them to his followers. Long after this time, this place was as
large and as considerable a village as the county could boast; but it
is reduced, by the encroachment of the sea at different times, to about
a dozen dwellings. This place gives title to a prebend in the cathedral
of Chichester; and the living, which is a vicarage united to Preston,
is in the gift of the prebendary. Divine service is only performed in
the church once in six weeks, and, by appearance of the ruinous state
in which it at present is, that will be soon entirely neglected." This
church, dedicated to St. Andrew, has been practically rebuilt, though
some of the ancient features have been retained. Near the chancel door
is the grave of Charlotte Elliot, the hymn writer. Admiral Westphal,
one of the officers of Nelson's "Victory," is also interred here. The
new parish church--All Saints--is of great magnificence and has cost
about L50,000.

[Illustration: ST. PETER'S, BRIGHTON.]

The western end of Hove, if we may believe some experts, has claims to
a higher antiquity than any other locality between Pevensey and Bosham.
Aldrington, as this district is called, is conjectured to have been the
Roman "Portus Adurni," of which Shoreham would then be the lineal
descendant. On the other hand the identification of this mysterious
place with any part of Sussex has been seriously challenged. The
estuary of the Adur then extended to Bramber. A glance at the two-inch
Ordnance map of the district will make the old course of the river
quite clear. In Hove Park is the famous "grey wether," called the
"Goldstone." This used to lay in Goldstone Bottom between the railway
and the Downs. Inspecting antiquaries proved such a nuisance that the
farmer on whose land it lay determined to bury it out of sight; this
almost superhuman task was performed in 1833 and the stone remained in
the ground until 1902 when it was exhumed.

Preston, the northern extension of Brighton, originally a small place
on the London road, has a pleasant park from which the suburb takes its
name. The one object of interest to the tourist is the Early English
church which has some remarkable frescoes; these represent the murder
of St. Thomas of Canterbury, with Our Lord revealing himself to the
martyr; on the opposite side St. Michael is shown weighing a soul. In

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