Highways & Byways in Sussex
by E.V. Lucas
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Highways and Byways in Sussex







First Edition printed February 1904. Reprinted, April 1904, 1907, 1912, 1919, 1921.


Readers who are acquainted with the earlier volumes of this series will not need to be told that they are less guide-books than appreciations of the districts with which they are concerned. In the pages that follow my aim has been to gather a Sussex bouquet rather than to present the facts which the more practical traveller requires.

The order of progress through the country has been determined largely by the lines of railway. I have thought it best to enter Sussex in the west at Midhurst, making that the first centre, and to zig-zag thence across to the east by way of Chichester, Arundel, Petworth, Horsham, Brighton (I name only the chief centres), Cuckfield, East Grinstead, Lewes, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings, Rye, and Tunbridge Wells; leaving the county finally at Withyham, on the borders of Ashdown Forest. For the traveller in a carriage or on a bicycle this route is not the best; but for those who would explore it slowly on foot (and much of the more characteristic scenery of Sussex can be studied only in this way), with occasional assistance from the train, it is, I think, as good a scheme as any.

I do not suggest that it is necessary for the reader who travels through Sussex to take the same route: he would probably prefer to cover the county literally strip by strip—the Forest strip from Tunbridge Wells to Horsham, the Weald strip from Billingshurst to Burwash, the Downs strip from Racton to Beachy Head—rather than follow my course, north to south, and south to north, across the land. But the book is, I think, the gainer by these tangents, and certainly its author is happier, for they bring him again and again back to the Downs.

It is impossible at this date to write about Sussex, in accordance with the plan of the present series, without saying a great many things that others have said before, and without making use of the historians of the county. To the collections of the Sussex Archaeological Society I am greatly indebted; also to Mr. J. G. Bishop's Peep into the Past, and to Mr. W. D. Parish's Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect. Many other works are mentioned in the text.

The history, archaeology, and natural history of the county have been thoroughly treated by various writers; but there are, I have noticed, fewer books than there should be upon Sussex men and women. Carlyle's saying that every clergyman should write the history of his parish (which one might amend to the history of his parishioners) has borne too little fruit in our district; nor have lay observers arisen in any number to atone for the shortcoming. And yet Sussex must be as rich in good character, pure, quaint, shrewd, humorous or noble, as any other division of England. In the matter of honouring illustrious Sussex men and women, the late Mark Antony Lower played his part with The Worthies of Sussex, and Mr. Fleet with Glimpses of Our Sussex Ancestors; but the Sussex "Characters," where are they? Who has set down their "little unremembered acts," their eccentricities, their sterling southern tenacities? The Rev. A. D. Gordon wrote the history of Harting, and quite recently the Rev. C. N. Sutton has published his interesting Historical Notes of Withyham, Hartfield, and Ashdown Forest; and there may be other similar parish histories which I am forgetting. But the only books that I have seen which make a patient and sympathetic attempt to understand the people of Sussex are Mr. Parish's Dictionary, Mr. Egerton's Sussex Folk and Sussex Ways, and "John Halsham's" Idlehurst. How many rare qualities of head and heart must go unrecorded in rural England.

I have to thank my friend Mr. C. E. Clayton for his kindness in reading the proofs of this book and in suggesting additions.

E. V. L. December 12, 1903.

P.S.—The sheets of the one-inch ordnance map of Sussex are fourteen in all, their numbers running thus:

300 301 302 303 304 Alresford Haslemere Horsham T. Wells Tenterden 316 317 318 319 320 Fareham Chichester Brighton Lewes Hastings 331 332 333 334 Portsmouth Bognor Worthing Eastbourne


In the present edition a number of small errors have been corrected and a new chapter amplifying certain points and supplying a deficit here and there has been added. The passage about Stane Street is reprinted from the Times Literary Supplement by kind permission.

E. V. L. April 20, 1904










































































































































































The fitting order of a traveller's progress—The Downs the true Sussex—Fashion at bay—Mr. Kipling's topographical creed—Midhurst's advantages—Single railway lines—Queen Elizabeth at Cowdray—Montagus domestic and homicidal—The curse of Cowdray—Dr. Johnson at Midhurst—Cowdray Park.

If it is better, in exploring a county, to begin with its least interesting districts and to end with the best, I have made a mistake in the order of this book: I should rather have begun with the comparatively dull hot inland hilly region of the north-east, and have left it at the cool chalk Downs of the Hampshire border. But if one's first impression of new country cannot be too favourable we have done rightly in starting at Midhurst, even at the risk of a loss of enthusiasm in the concluding chapters. For although historically, socially, and architecturally north Sussex is as interesting as south Sussex, the crown of the county's scenery is the Downs, and its most fascinating districts are those which the Downs dominate. The farther we travel from the Downs and the sea the less unique are our surroundings. Many of the villages in the northern Weald, beautiful as they are, might equally well be in Kent or Surrey: a visitor suddenly alighting in their midst, say from a balloon, would be puzzled to name the county he was in; but the Downs and their dependencies are essential Sussex. Hence a Sussex man in love with the Downs becomes less happy at every step northward.


One cause of the unique character of the Sussex Downs is their virginal security, their unassailable independence. They stand, a silent undiscovered country, between the seething pleasure towns of the seaboard plain and the trim estates of the Weald. Londoners, for whom Sussex has a special attraction by reason of its proximity (Brighton's beach is the nearest to the capital in point of time), either pause north of the Downs, or rush through them in trains, on bicycles, or in carriages, to the sea. Houses there are among the Downs, it is true, but they are old-established, the homes of families that can remember no other homes. There is as yet no fashion for residences in these altitudes. Until that fashion sets in (and may it be far distant) the Downs will remain essential Sussex, and those that love them will exclaim with Mr. Kipling,

God gave all men all earth to love, But since man's heart is small, Ordains for each one spot shall prove Beloved over all.

* * * * *

Each to his choice, and I rejoice The lot has fallen to me In a fair ground—in a fair ground— Yea, Sussex by the sea!

[Sidenote: MIDHURST]

If we are to begin our travels in Sussex with the best, then Midhurst is the starting point, for no other spot has so much to offer: a quiet country town, gabled and venerable, unmodernised and unambitious, with a river, a Tudor ruin, a park of deer, heather commons, immense woods, and the Downs only three miles distant. Moreover, Midhurst is also the centre of a very useful little railway system, which, having only a single line in each direction, while serving the traveller, never annoys him by disfiguring the country or letting loose upon it crowds of vandals. Single lines always mean thinly populated country. As a pedestrian poet has sung:—

My heart leaps up when I behold A single railway line; For then I know the wood and wold Are almost wholly mine.

And Midhurst being on no great high road is nearly always quiet. Nothing ever hurries there. The people live their own lives, passing along their few narrow streets and the one broad one, under the projecting eaves of timbered houses, unrecking of London and the world. Sussex has no more contented town.

The church, which belongs really to St. Mary Magdalen, but is popularly credited to St. Denis, was never very interesting, but is less so now that the Montagu tomb has been moved to Easebourne. Twenty years ago, I remember, an old house opposite the church was rumoured to harbour a pig-faced lady. I never had sight of her, but as to her existence and her cast of feature no one was in the least doubt. Pig-faced ladies (once so common) seem to have gone out, just as the day of Spring-heeled Jack is over. Sussex once had her Spring-heeled Jacks, too, in some profusion.


Cowdray Park is gained from the High Street, just below the Angel Inn, by a causeway through water meadows of the Rother. The house is now but a shell, never having been rebuilt since the fire which ate out its heart in 1793: yet a beautiful shell, heavily draped in rich green ivy that before very long must here and there forget its earlier duty of supporting the walls and thrust them too far from the perpendicular to stand. Cowdray, built in the reign of Henry VIII., did not come to its full glory until Sir Anthony Browne, afterwards first Viscount Montagu, took possession. The seal was put upon its fame by the visit of Queen Elizabeth in 1591 (Edward VI. had been banqueted there by Sir Anthony in 1552, "marvellously, nay, rather excessively," as he wrote), as some return for the loyalty of her host, who, although an old man, in 1588, on the approach of the Armada, had ridden straightway to Tilbury, with his sons and his grandson, the first to lay the service of his house at her Majesty's feet. A rare pamphlet is still preserved describing the festivities during Queen Elizabeth's sojourn. On Saturday, about eight o'clock, her Majesty reached the house, travelling from Farnham, where she had dined. Upon sight of her loud music sounded. It stopped when she set foot upon the bridge, and a real man, standing between two wooden dummies whom he exactly resembled, began to flatter her exceedingly. Until she came, he said, the walls shook and the roof tottered, but one glance from her eyes had steadied the turret for ever. He went on to call her virtue immortal and herself the Miracle of Time, Nature's Glory, Fortune's Empress, and the World's Wonder. Elizabeth, when he had made an end, took the key from him and embraced Lady Montagu and her daughter, the Lady Dormir; whereupon "the mistress of the house (as it were weeping in the bosome) said, 'O happie time! O joyfull daie!'"


These preliminaries over, the fun began. At breakfast next morning three oxen and a hundred and forty geese were devoured. On Monday, August 17th, Elizabeth rode to her bower in the park, took a crossbow from a nymph who sang a sweet song, and with it shot "three or four" deer, carefully brought within range. After dinner, standing on one of the turrets she watched sixteen bucks "pulled down with greyhounds" in a lawn. On Tuesday, the Queen was approached by a pilgrim, who first called her "Fairest of all creatures," and expressed the wish that the world might end with her life and then led her to an oak whereon were hanging escutcheons of her Majesty and all the neighbouring noblemen and gentlemen. As she looked, a "wilde man" clad all in ivy appeared and delivered an address on the importance of loyalty. On Wednesday, the Queen was taken to a goodlie fish-pond (now a meadow) where was an angler. After some words from him a band of fishermen approached, drawing their nets after them; whereupon the angler, turning to her Majesty, remarked that her virtue made envy blush and stand amazed. Having thus spoken, the net was drawn and found to be full of fish, which were laid at Elizabeth's feet. The entry for this day ends with the sentence, "That evening she hunted." On Thursday the lords and ladies dined at a table forty-eight yards long, and there was a country dance with tabor and pipe, which drew from her Majesty "gentle applause." On Friday, the Queen knighted six gentlemen and passed on to Chichester.


A year later the first Lord Montagu died. He was succeeded by another Anthony, the author of the "Book of Orders and Rules" for the use of the family at Cowdray, and the dedicatee of Anthony Copley's Fig for Fortune, 1596. Copley has a certain Sussex interest of his own, having astonished not a little the good people of Horsham. A contemporary letter describes him as "the most desperate youth that liveth. He did shoot at a gentleman last summer, and did kill an ox with a musket, and in Horsham church he threw his dagger at the parish clerk, and it stuck in a seat of the church. There liveth not his like in England for sudden attempts." Subsequently the conspirator-poet must have calmed down, for he states in the dedication to my lord that he is "now winnowed by the fan of grace and Zionry." To-day he would say "saved." Copley, after narrowly escaping capital punishment for his share in a Jesuit plot, disappeared.

The instructions given in Lord Montagu's "Booke of Orders and Rules" illustrate very vividly the generous amplitude of the old Cowdray establishment. Thus:—


I will that my carver, when he cometh to the ewerye boorde, doe there washe together with the Sewer, and that done be armed (videlt.) with an armeinge towell cast about his necke, and putt under his girdle on both sides, and one napkyn on his lefte shoulder, and an other on the same arme; and thence beinge broughte by my Gentleman Usher to my table, with two curteseyes thereto, the one about the middest of the chamber, the other when he cometh to ytt, that he doe stande seemely and decently with due reverence and sylence, untill my dyett and fare be brought uppe, and then doe his office; and when any meate is to be broken uppe that he doe carrye itt to a syde table, which shalbe prepared for that purpose and there doe ytt; when he hath taken upp the table, and delivered the voyder to the yeoman Usher, he shall doe reverence and returne to the ewrye boorde there to be unarmed. My will is that for that day he have the precedence and place next to my Gentleman Usher at the wayter's table.


I will that some of my Gentlemen Wayters harken when I or my wiffe att any tyme doe walke abroade, that they may be readye to give their attendance uppon us, some att one tyme and some att another as they shall agree amongst themselves; but when strangeres are in place, then I will that in any sorte they be readye to doe such service for them as the Gentleman Usher shall directe. I will further that they be dayly presente in the greate chamber or other place of my dyett about tenn of the clocke in the forenoone and five in the afternoone without fayle for performance of my service, unles they have license from my Stewarde or Gentleman Usher to the contrarye, which if they exceede, I will that they make knowne the cause thereof to my Stewarde, who shall acquaynte me therewithall. I will that they dyne and suppe att a table appoynted for them, and there take place nexte after the Gentlemen of my Horse and chamber, accordinge to their seniorityes in my service.


The third Viscount Montagu was not remarkable, but his account books are quaint reading. From July, 1657, to July, 1658, his steward spent L1,945 10s. solely in little personal matters for his master. Among the disbursements were, on September 11th, fourteen pence "for washing Will Stapler"; on November 22nd, 1s. 4d. to the Lewes carrier "for bringing a box of puddings for my mistress and my master"; on January 17th, L4 to "Mr. Fiske the dancing-master for teaching my master to dance, being two months"; and on April 21st, seven shillings "for a Tooth for my Lord."

The fifth Viscount was a man of violent temper. On reaching Mass one day and finding it half done, he drew his pistol and shot the chaplain. The outcry all over the country was loud and vengeful, and my lord lay concealed for fifteen years in a hiding-hole contrived in the masonry of Cowdray for the shelter of persecuted priests. The peer emerged only at night, when he roamed the close walks, repentant and sad. Lady Montagu would then steal out to him, dressing all in white to such good purpose that the desired rumours of a ghost soon flew about the neighbourhood.

The curse of Cowdray, which, if genuinely pronounced, has certainly been wonderfully fulfilled, dates from the gift of Battle Abbey by Henry VIII. to Sir Anthony Browne, the father of Queen Elizabeth's host and friend. Sir Anthony seized his new property, and turned the monks out of the gates, in 1538. Legend says that as the last monk departed, he warned his despoiler that by fire and water his line should perish. By fire and water it perished indeed. A week after Cowdray House was burned, in 1793, the last Viscount Montagu was drowned in the Rhine. His only sister (the wife of Mr. Stephen Poyntz) who inherited, was the mother of two sons both of whom were drowned while bathing at Bognor. When Mr. Poyntz sold the estate to the Earl of Egmont, we may suppose the curse to have been withdrawn.


Among the treasures that were destroyed in the fire were the Roll of Battle Abbey and many paintings. Dr. Johnson visited Cowdray a few years before its demolition; "Sir," he said to Boswell, "I should like to stay here four-and-twenty hours. We see here how our ancestors lived." According to the Tour of Great Britain, attributed to Daniel Defoe, but probably by another hand, Cowdray's hall was of Irish oak. In the large parlour were the triumphs of Henry VIII. by Holbein. In the long gallery were the Twelve Apostles "as large as life"; while the marriage of Cupid and Psyche, a tableau that never failed to please our ancestors, was not wanting.

The glory of the Montagus has utterly passed. The present Earl of Egmont is either an absentee or he lives in a cottage near the gates; and the new house, which is hidden in trees, is of no interest. The park, however, is still ranged by its beautiful deer, and still possesses an avenue of chestnut trees and rolling wastes of turf. It is everywhere as free as a heath.



Hanging in chains—A wooded paradise—Fernhurst—Shulbrede Priory—Blackdown—Tennyson's Sussex home—Thomas Otway—Kate Hotspur's Grave—A Sussex ornithologist—The friend of owls—William Cobbett looks at the Squire—The charms of South Harting—Lady Mary Caryll's little difficulties—Gilbert White in Sussex—The old field routine—Witchcraft at South Harting—The Rother—Easebourne—West Lavington and Cardinal Manning.

The road from Midhurst to Blackdown ascends steadily to Henley, threading vast woods and preserves. On the left is a great common, on the right North Heath, where the two Drewitts were hanged in chains after being executed at Horsham, in 1799, for the robbery of the Portsmouth mail—probably the last instance of hanging in chains in this country. For those that like wild forest country there was once no better ramble than might be enjoyed here; but now (1903) that the King's new sanatorium is being built in the midst of Great Common, some of the wildness must necessarily be lost. A finer site could not have been found. Above Great Common is a superb open space nearly six hundred feet high, with gorse bushes advantageously placed to give shelter while one studies the Fernhurst valley, the Haslemere heights and, blue in the distance, the North Downs. Sussex has nothing wilder or richer than the country we are now in.

A few minutes' walk to the east from this lofty common, and we are immediately above Henley, clinging to the hill side, an almost Alpine hamlet. Henley, however, no longer sees the travellers that once it did, for the coach road, which of old climbed perilously through it, has been diverted in a curve through the hanger, and now sweeps into Fernhurst by way of Henley Common.

[Sidenote: FERNHURST]

Fernhurst, beautifully named, is in an exquisite situation among the minor eminences of the Haslemere range, but the builder has been busy here, and the village is not what it was.


Two miles to the north-west, on the way to Linchmere, immediately under the green heights of Marley, is the old house which once was Shulbrede Priory. As it is now in private occupation and is not shown to strangers, I have not seen it; but of old many persons journeyed thither, attracted by the quaint mural paintings, in the Prior's room, of domestic animals uttering speech. "Christus natus est," crows the cock. "Quando? Quando?" the duck inquires. "In hac nocte," says the raven. "Ubi? Ubi?" asks the cow, and the lamb satisfies her: "Bethlehem, Bethlehem."

One may return deviously from Shulbrede to Midhurst (passing in the heart of an unpopulated country a hamlet called Milland, where is an old curiosity shop of varied resources) by way of one of the pleasantest and narrowest lanes that I know, rising and falling for miles through silent woods, coming at last to Chithurst church, one of the smallest and simplest and least accessible in the county, and reaching Midhurst again by the hard, dry and irreproachable road that runs between the heather of Trotton Common.

On the eastern side of Fernhurst, to which we may now return, a mile on the way to Lurgashall, was once Verdley Castle; but it is now a castle no more, merely a ruined heap. Utilitarianism was too much for it, and its stones fell to Macadam. After all, if an old castle has to go, there are few better forms of reincarnation for it than a good hard road. While at Fernhurst it is well to walk on to Blackdown, the best way, perhaps, being to take the lane to the right about half a mile beyond the village, and make for the hill across country. Blackdown, whose blackness is from its heather and its firs, frowns before one all the while. The climb to the summit is toilsome, over nine hundred feet, but well worth the effort, for the hill overlooks hundreds of square miles of Sussex and Surrey, between Leith Hill in the north and Chanctonbury in the south.


Aldworth, Tennyson's house, is on the north-east slope, facing Surrey. The poet laid the foundation stone on April 23 (Shakespeare's birthday), 1868: the inscription on the stone running "Prosper thou the work of our hands, O prosper thou our handiwork." Of the site Aubrey de Vere wrote:—"It lifted England's great poet to a height from which he could gaze on a large portion of that English land which he loved so well, see it basking in its most affluent summer beauty, and only bounded by 'the inviolate sea.' Year after year he trod its two stately terraces with men the most noted of their time." Pilgrims from all parts journeyed thither—not too welcome; among them that devout American who had worked his way across the Atlantic in order to recite Maud to its author: a recitation from which, says the present Lord Tennyson, his father "suffered." Tennyson has, I think, no poems upon his Sussex home, but I always imagine that the dedication of The Death of Oenone and other Poems, in 1894, must belong to Blackdown:—

There on the top of the down, The wild heather round me and over me June's high blue, When I look'd at the bracken so bright and the heather so brown, I thought to myself I would offer this book to you, This, and my love together, To you that are seventy-seven, With a faith as clear as the heights of the June-blue heaven, And a fancy as summer-new As the green of the bracken amid the gloom of the heather.

The most interesting village between Midhurst and the western boundary, due west, is Trotton, three miles distant on the superb road to Petersfield, of which I have spoken above. There is no better road in England. Trotton is quiet and modest, but it has two great claims on lovers of the English drama. In the "Ode to Pity" of one of our Sussex poets we read thus of another:—

But wherefore need I wander wide To old Ilissus' distant side, Deserted streams and mute? Wild Arun, too, has heard thy strains, And echo, 'midst my native plains, Been soothed by pity's lute.

There first the wren thy myrtles shed On gentlest Otway's infant head, To him thy cell was shown; And while he sung the female heart, With youth's soft notes unspoiled by art, Thy turtles mixed their own.

[Sidenote: THOMAS OTWAY]

So wrote William Collins, adding in a note that the Arun (more properly the Rother, a tributary of the Arun) runs by the village of Trotton, in Sussex, where Thomas Otway had his birth. The unhappy author of Venice Preserv'd and The Orphan was born at Trotton in 1652, the son of Humphrey Otway, the curate, who afterwards became rector of Woolbeding close by. Otway died miserably when only thirty-three, partly of starvation, partly of a broken heart at the unresponsiveness of Mrs. Barry, the actress, whom he loved, but who preferred the Earl of Rochester. His two best plays, although they are no longer acted, lived for many years, providing in Belvidera, in Venice Preserv'd and Monimia, in The Orphan (in which he "sung the female heart") congenial roles for tragic actresses—Mrs. Barry, Mrs. Oldfield, Mrs. Cibber, Mrs. Siddons and Miss O'Neill. Otway was buried in the churchyard of St. Clement Danes, but a tablet to his fame is in Trotton church, which is of unusual plainness, not unlike an ecclesiastical barn. Here also is the earliest known brass to a woman—Margaret de Camoys, who lived about 1300.

[Sidenote: HOTSPUR'S LADY]

The transition is easy (at Trotton) from Otway to Shakespeare, from Venice Preserv'd to Henry IV.

HOTSPUR (to LADY PERCY). Come, Kate, thou art perfect in lying down: come quick, quick; that I may lay my head in thy lap.

Lady P. Go, ye giddy goose. [The music plays.

Hot. Now I perceive, the devil understands Welsh; And 't is no marvel' he's so humorous, By'r lady, he's a good musician.

Lady P. Then should you be nothing but musical; for you are altogether governed by humours. Lie still, ye thief, and hear the lady sing in Welsh.

Hot. I had rather hear Lady, my brach, howl in Irish.

Lady P. Wouldst have thy head broken?

Hot. No.

Lady P. Then be still.

Hot. Neither: 'tis a woman's fault.

Lady P. Now God help thee!

Hot. To the Welsh lady's bed.

Lady P. What's that?

Hot. Peace! she sings.

[A Welsh song sung by LADY MORTIMER.

Hot. Come, Kate, I'll have your song too.

Lady P. Not mine, in good sooth.

Hot. Not yours, in good sooth! 'Heart, you swear like a comfit-maker's wife. 'Not you, in good sooth'; and, 'As true as I live'; and,

'As God shall mend me'; and, 'As sure as day': And giv'st such sarcenet surety for thy oaths, As if thou never walk'dst further than Finsbury. Swear me, Kate, like a lady as thou art, A good mouth-filling oath; and leave 'in sooth,' And such protest of pepper-gingerbread, To velvet-guards and Sunday-citizens. Come, sing.

Lady P. I will not sing.

Hot. 'Tis the next way to turn tailor, or be redbreast teacher. An the indentures be drawn, I'll away within these two hours; and so come in when ye will. [Exit.

My excuse for introducing this little scene is that Kate, whose real name was Elizabeth, lies here. Her tomb is in the chancel, where she reposes beside her second husband Thomas, Lord Camoys, beneath a slab on which are presentments in brass of herself and her lord. It was this Lord Camoys who rebuilt Trotton's church, about 1400, and who also gave the village its beautiful bridge over the Rother at a cost, it used to be said, of only a few pence less than that of the church.

Trotton has still other literary claims. At Trotton Place lived Arthur Edward Knox, whose Ornithological Rambles in Sussex, published in 1849, is one of the few books worthy to stand beside White's Natural History of Selborne. In Sussex, as elsewhere, the fowler has prevailed, and although rare birds are still occasionally to be seen, they now visit the country only by accident, and leave it as soon as may be, thankful to have a whole skin. Guns were active enough in Knox's time, but to read his book to-day is to be translated to a new land. From time to time I shall borrow from Mr. Knox's pages: here I may quote a short passage which refers at once to his home and to his attitude to those creatures whom he loved to study and studied to love:—"I have the satisfaction of exercising the rites of hospitality towards a pair of barn owls, which have for some time taken up their quarters in one of the attic roofs of the ancient, ivy-covered house in which I reside. I delight in listening to the prolonged snoring of the young when I ascend the old oak stairs to the neighbourhood of their nursery, and in hearing the shriek of the parent birds on the calm summer nights as they pass to and fro near my window; for it assures me that they are still safe; and as I know that at least a qualified protection is afforded them elsewhere, and that even their arch-enemy the gamekeeper is beginning reluctantly, but gradually, to acquiesce in the general belief of their innocence and utility, I cannot help indulging the hope that this bird will eventually meet with that general encouragement and protection to which its eminent services so richly entitle it."


One more literary association: it was at Trotton that William Cobbett looked at the squire. "From Rogate we came on to Trotton, where a Mr. Twyford is the squire, and where there is a very fine and ancient church close by the squire's house. I saw the squire looking at some poor devils who were making 'wauste improvements, ma'am,' on the road which passes by the squire's door. He looked uncommonly hard at me. It was a scrutinising sort of look, mixed, as I thought, with a little surprise, if not of jealousy, as much as to say, 'I wonder who the devil you can be?' My look at the squire was with the head a little on one side, and with the cheek drawn up from the left corner of the mouth, expressive of anything rather than a sense of inferiority to the squire, of whom, however, I had never heard speak before."


By passing on to Rogate, whose fine church not long since was restored too freely, and turning due south, we come to what is perhaps the most satisfying village in all Sussex—South Harting. Cool and spacious and retired, it lies under the Downs, with a little subsidiary range of its own to shelter it also from the west. Three inns are ready to refresh the traveller—the Ship, the White Hart (a favourite Sussex sign), and the Coach and Horses (with a new signboard of dazzling freshness); the surrounding country is good; Petersfield and Midhurst are less than an hour's drive distant; while the village has one of the most charming churches in Sussex, both without and within. Unlike most of the county's spires, South Harting's is slate and red shingle, but the slate is of an agreeable green hue, resembling old copper. (Perhaps it is copper.) The roof is of red tiles mellowed by weather, and the south side of the tower is tiled too, imparting an unusual suggestion of warmth—more, of comfort—to the structure; while on the east wall of the chancel is a Virginian creeper, which, as autumn advances, emphasises this effect. Within, the church is winning, too, with its ample arches, perfect proportions, and that aesthetic satisfaction that often attends the cruciform shape. An interesting monument of the Cowper and Coles families is preserved in the south transept—three full-size coloured figures. In the north transept is a spiral staircase leading to the tower, and elsewhere are memorials of the Fords and Featherstonhaughs of Up-Park, a superb domain over the brow of Harting's Down, and of the Carylls of Lady Holt, of whom we shall see more directly. The east window is a peculiarly cheerful one, and the door of South Harting church is kept open, as every church door should be, but as too many in Sussex are not.

In the churchyard, beneath a shed, are the remains of two tombs, with recumbent stone figures, now in a fragmentary state. At the church gates are the old village stocks.


Harting has a place in literature, for one of the Carylls was Pope's friend, John (1666-1736), a nephew of the diplomatist and dramatist. Pope's Caryll, who suggested The Rape of the Lock, lived at Lady Holt at West Harting (long destroyed) and also at West Grinstead, where, as we shall see, the poem was largely written. Mr. H. D. Gordon, rector of Harting for many years, wrote a history of his parish in 1877: a very interesting, gossipy book; where we may read much of the Caryll family, including passages from their letters—how Lady Mary Caryll had the kind impulse to take one of the parson's nine daughters to France to educate and befriend, but was so thoughtless as to transform into a pretty Papist; how Lady Mary disliked Mrs. Jones, the steward's wife; and many other matters. I quote a passage from a letter of Lady Mary's about Mrs. Jones, showing that human nature was not then greatly different from what it is to-day:—"Mr. Joans and his fine Madam came down two days before your birthday and expected to lye in the house, but as I apprehended the consequence of letting them begin so, I made an excuse for want of roome by expecting company, and sent them to Gould's [Arthur Gould married Kate Caryll, and lived at Harting Place], where they stayed two nights. I invited them the next day to dinner and they came, but the day following Madam huff'd (I believe), for she went away to Barnard's, and wou'd not so much as see the desert [dessert]; however, I don't repent it, he has been here at all the merryment, and I believe you'll find it better to keep them at a civil distance than other ways, for she seems a high dame and not very good humoured, for she has been sick ever since of the mulygrubes." Mrs. Jones soon afterwards succumbed either to the mulygrubes or a worse visitation. Lady Mary thus broke the news:—"Mr. Jones's wife dyed on Sunday, just as she lived, an Independent, and wou'd have no parson with her, because she sayd she cou'd pray as well as they. He is making a great funerall, but I believe not in much affection, for he was all night at a merry bout two days before she died."

On the arrival of the young Squire Caryll at Lady Holt with his bride, in 1739, Paul Kelly, the bailiff, informed Lady Mary that the villagers conducted their lord and lady home "with the upermost satisfaction"—a good phrase.

Mr. Gordon writes elsewhere in his book of a famous writer whom Hampshire claims: "For at least forty years (1754-1792) Gilbert White was an East Harting squire. The bulk of his property was at Woodhouse and Nye woods, on the northern slope of East Harting, and bounded on the west by the road to Harting station. The passenger from Harting to the railway has on his right, immediately opposite the 'Severals' wood, Gilbert White's Farm, extending nearly to the station. White had also other Harting lands. These were upon the Downs, viz.:—a portion of the Park of Uppark on the south side, and a portion of Kildevil Lane, on the North Marden side of Harting Hill. Gilbert White was on his mother's side a Ford, and these lands had been transmitted to him through his great uncle, Oliver Whitby, nephew to Sir Edward Ford."


A glimpse of the old Sussex field routine, not greatly changed in the remote districts to-day, was given to Mr. Gordon thirty years ago by an aged labourer. This was the day:—"Out in morning at four o'clock. Mouthful of bread and cheese and pint of ale. Then off to the harvest field. Rippin and moen [reaping and mowing] till eight. Then morning brakfast and small beer. Brakfast—a piece of fat pork as thick as your hat [a broad-brimmed wideawake] is wide. Then work till ten o'clock: then a mouthful of bread and cheese and a pint of strong beer ['farnooner,' i.e., forenooner; 'farnooner's-lunch,' we called it]. Work till twelve. Then at dinner in the farm-house; sometimes a leg of mutton, sometimes a piece of ham and plum pudding. Then work till five, then a nunch and a quart of ale. Nunch was cheese, 'twas skimmed cheese though. Then work till sunset, then home and have supper and a pint of ale. I never knew a man drunk in the harvest field in my life. Could drink six quarts, and believe that a man might drink two gallons in a day. All of us were in the house [i.e., the usual hired servants, and those specially engaged for the harvest]: the yearly servants used to go with the monthly ones.

"There were two thrashers, and the head thrasher used always to go before the reapers. A man could cut according to the goodness of the job, half-an-acre a day. The terms of wages were L3 10s. to 50s. for the month.

"When the hay was in cock or the wheat in shock, then the Titheman come; you didn't dare take up a field without you let him know. If the Titheman didn't come at the time, you tithed yourself. He marked his sheaves with a bough or bush. You couldn't get over the Titheman. If you began at a hedge and made the tenth cock smaller than the rest, the Titheman might begin in the middle just where he liked. The Titheman at Harting, old John Blackmore, lived at Mundy's [South Harting Street]. His grandson is blacksmith at Harting now. All the tithing was quiet. You didn't dare even set your eggs till the Titheman had been and ta'en his tithe. The usual day's work was from 7 to 5."

[Sidenote: A SUSSEX WITCH]

Like all Sussex villages, Harting has had its witches and possessors of the evil eye. Most curious of these was old Mother Digby (nee Mollen), who, in Mr. Gordon's words, lived at a house in Hog's Lane, East Harting, and had the power of witching herself into a hare, and was continually, like Hecate, attended by dogs. Squire Russell, of Tye Oak, always lost his hare at the sink-hole of a drain near by the old lady's house. One day the dogs caught hold of the hare by its hind quarters, but it escaped down the drain, and Squire Russell, instantly opening the old beldame's door, found her rubbing the part of her body corresponding to that by which the hound had seized the hare. Squire Caryll, however, declined to be hard on the broomstick and its riders, as the following entry in the records of the Court Leet, held for the Hundred of Dumford in 1747, shows:—"Also we present the Honble. John Caryll, Esq., Lord of this Mannor, for not having and keeping a Ducking Stool within the said Hundred of Dumford according to law, for the ducking of scolds and other disorderly persons."


The road from South Harting to Elsted runs under the hills, which here rise abruptly from the fields, to great heights, notably Beacon Hill, like a huge green mammoth, 800 feet high, on which, before the days of telegraphy, lived the signaller, who passed on the tidings of danger on the coast to the next beacon hill, above Henley, and so on to London. In the days of Napoleon, when any moment might reveal the French fleet, the Sussex hill tops must often have smouldered under false alarms. The next hill in the east is Treyford Hill, above Treyford village, whose church tower, standing on a little hill of its own nearly three hundred feet high, might take a lesson in beauty from South Harting's, although its spire has a slenderness not to be improved. Next to Treyford Hill is Didling Hill, above Didling, and then Linch Down, highest of all in these parts, being 818 feet.

Elsted, which has no particular interest, possesses an inn, the Three Horse Shoes, on a site superior to that of many a nobleman's house. It stands high above a rocky lane, commanding a superb sidelong view of the Downs and the Weald.

Midhurst's river is the Rother (not to be confounded with the Rother in the east of Sussex), which flows into the Arun near Hardham. It is wide enough at Midhurst for small boats, and is a very graceful stream on which to idle and watch the few kingfishers that man has spared. One may walk by its side for miles and hear no sound save the music of repose—the soft munching of the cows in the meadows, the chuckle of the water as a rat slips in, the sudden yet soothing plash caused by a jumping fish. Around one's head in the evening the stag-beetle buzzes with its multiplicity of wings and fierce lobster-like claws out-stretched.

Following the Rother to the west one comes first to Easebourne, a shady cool village only a few steps from Midhurst, once notable for its Benedictine Priory of nuns. Henry VIII. put an end to its religious life, which, however, if we may believe the rather disgraceful revelations divulged at an episcopal examination, for some years had not been of too sincere a character. In Easebourne church is the handsome tomb of the first Viscount Montagu (the host of Queen Elizabeth), which was brought hither from Midhurst church some forty years ago. Beyond Easebourne, on the banks of the Rother, is Woolbeding, amid lush grass and foliage, as green a spot as any in green England.


On the eastern side of the town (with a diversion into Queen Elizabeth's sombre wood-walk) one may come by the side of the river part of the way to West Lavington, which stands high on a slope facing the Downs, with pine woods immediately beneath it, perhaps as fair a site as any church can claim. The grave of Richard Cobden, the Free Trader, a native of Heyshott, near by, is in the churchyard. Here, in 1850, Henry Edward Manning, afterwards Cardinal, preached his last sermon for the Church of England. It is, indeed, Manning country, for besides being curate and rector of Woollavington with Graffham (four or five miles to the south-east) from 1833 until his secession, he was for nine years Archdeacon of Chichester; he married Miss Sargent, daughter of the late rector and sister of Mrs. Samuel Wilberforce of Woollavington; and while rector, he rebuilt both churches. Graffham is interesting also as being the present home of one of the most truthful of living painters, Mr. Henry La Thangue, whose scenes of peasants at work (in the manner of Barbizon) and studies of sunlight spattering through the trees are among the triumphs of modern English art.


One more village and we will make for the hills. A mile beyond the eastern gate of Cowdray Park is Lodsworth, still a paradise of apple orchards, but no longer famous for its cider as once it was. Arthur Young had the pleasure of tasting some Lodsworth cider of a superior quality at Lord Egremont's table at the beginning of the last century, but I doubt if Petworth House honours the beverage to-day. Cider, except in the cider country, becomes less and less common.



The Sussex hills—Gilbert White's praise—Britons, Romans, Saxons—Charles the Second's ride through Sussex.

Between Midhurst and Chichester, our next centre, rise the Downs, to a height of between seven hundred and eight hundred feet. Although we shall often be crossing them again before we leave the county, I should like to speak of them a little in this place.

The Downs are the symbol of Sussex. The sea, the Weald, the heather hills of her great forest district, she shares with other counties, but the Downs are her own. Wiltshire, Berkshire, Kent and Hampshire, it is true, have also their turf-covered chalk hills, but the Sussex Downs are vaster, more remarkable, and more beautiful than these, with more individuality and charm. At first they have been known to disappoint the traveller, but one has only to live among them or near them, within the influence of their varying moods, and they surely conquer. They are the smoothest things in England, gigantic, rotund, easy; the eye rests upon their gentle contours and is at peace. They have no sublimity, no grandeur, only the most spacious repose. Perhaps it is due to this quality that the Wealden folk, accustomed to be overshadowed by this unruffled range, are so deliberate in their mental processes and so averse from speculation or experiment. There is a hypnotism of form: a rugged peak will alarm the mind where a billowy green undulation will lull it. The Downs change their complexion, but are never other than soothing and still: no stress of weather produces in them any of that sense of fatality that one is conscious of in Westmoreland. Thunder-clouds empurple the turf and blacken the hangers, but they cannot break the imperturbable equanimity of the line; rain throws over the range a gauze veil of added softness; a mist makes them more wonderful, unreal, romantic; snow brings them to one's doors. At sunrise they are magical, a background for Malory; at sunset they are the lovely home of the serenest thoughts, a spectacle for Marcus Aurelius. Their combes, or hollows, are then filled with purple shadow cast by the sinking sun, while the summits and shoulders are gold.


Gilbert White has an often-quoted passage on these hills:—"Though I have now travelled the Sussex downs upwards of thirty years, yet I still investigate that chain of majestic mountains with fresh admiration year by year, and I think I see new beauties every time I traverse it. This range, which runs from Chichester eastward as far as East Bourn, is about sixty miles in length, and is called the South Downs, properly speaking, only round Lewes. As you pass along you command a noble view of the wild, or weald, on one hand, and the broad downs and sea on the other. Mr. Ray used to visit a family [Mr. Courthope, of Danny] just at the foot of these hills, and was so ravished with the prospect from Plumpton Plain, near Lewes, that he mentions those scapes in his Wisdom of God in the Works of the Creation with the utmost satisfaction, and thinks them equal to anything he had seen in the finest parts of Europe. For my own part, I think there is somewhat peculiarly sweet and amusing in the shapely-figured aspect of the chalk hills in preference to those of stone, which are rugged, broken, abrupt, and shapeless. Perhaps I may be singular in my opinion, and not so happy as to convey to you the same idea; but I never contemplate these mountains without thinking I perceive somewhat analogous to growth in their gentle swellings and smooth fungus-like protuberances, their fluted sides, and regular hollows and slopes, that carry at once the air of vegetative dilatation and expansion:—Or, was there even a time when these immense masses of calcareous matter were thrown into fermentation by some adventitious moisture, were raised and leavened into such shapes by some plastic power; and so made to swell and heave their broad backs into the sky, so much above the less animated clay of the wild below?"

The Downs have a human and historic as well as scenic interest. On many of their highest points are the barrows or graves of our British ancestors, who, could they revisit the glimpses of the moon, would find little change, for these hills have been less interfered with than any district within twice the distance from London. The English dislike of climbing has saved them. They will probably be the last stronghold of the horse when petrol has ousted him from every other region.


After the Briton came the Roman, to whose orderly military mind such a chain of hills seemed a series of heaven-sent earthworks. Every point in a favourable position was at once fortified by the legionaries. Standing upon these ramparts to-day, identical in general configuration in spite of the intervening centuries, one may imagine one's self a Caesarian soldier and see in fancy the hinds below running for safety.

After the Romans came the Saxons, who did not, however, use the heights as their predecessors had. Yet they left even more intimate traces, for, as I shall show in a later chapter on Sussex dialect, the language of the Sussex labourer is still largely theirs, the farms themselves often follow their original Saxon disposition, the field names are unaltered, and the character of the people is of the yellow-haired parent stock. Sussex, in many respects, is still Saxon. In a poem by Mr. W. G. Hole is a stanza which no one that knows Sussex can read without visualising instantly a Sussex hill-side farm:—

The Saxon lies, too, in his grave where the plough-lands swell; And he feels with the joy that is Earth's The Spring with its myriad births; And he scents as the evening falls The rich deep breath of the stalls; And he says, "Still the seasons bring increase and joy to the world—It is well!"


Standing on one of these hills above the Hartings one may remember an event in English history of more recent date than any of the periods that we have been recalling—the escape of Charles II in 1651. It was over these Downs that he passed; and it has been suggested that a traveller wishing for a picturesque route across the Downs might do well to follow his course.

According to the best accounts Charles was met, on the evening of October 13, near Hambledon, in Hampshire (afterwards to be famous as the cradle of first-class cricket), by Thomas and George Gunter of Racton, with a leash of greyhounds as if for coursing. The King slept at the house of Thomas Symonds, Gunter's brother-in-law, in the character of a Roundhead. The next morning at daybreak, the King, Lord Wilmot and the two Gunters crossed Broad Halfpenny Down (celebrated by Nyren), and proceeding by way of Catherington Down, Charlton Down, and Ibsworth Down, reached Compting Down in Sussex. At Stanstead House Thomas Gunter left the King, and hurried on to Brighton to arrange for the crossing to France. The others rode on by way of the hills, with a descent from Duncton Beacon, until they reached what promised to be the security of Houghton Forest. There they were panic-stricken nearly to meet Captain Morley, governor of Arundel Castle, and therefore by no means a King's man. The King, on being told who it was, replied merrily, "I did not much like his starched mouchates." This peril avoided, they descended to Houghton village, where the Arun was crossed, and so to Amberley, where in Sir John Briscoe's castle the King slept.[1]


On Amberley Mount the King's horse cast a shoe, necessitating a drop to one of the Burphams, at Lee Farm, to have the mishap put right. Ascending the hills again the fugitives held the high track as far as Steyning. At Bramber they survived a second meeting with Cromwellians, three or four soldiers of Col. Herbert Morley of Glynde suddenly appearing, but being satisfied merely to insult them. At Beeding, George Gunter rode on by way of the lower road to Brighton, while the King and Lord Wilmot climbed the hill at Horton, crossing by way of White Lot to Southwick, where, according to one story, in a cottage at the west of the Green was a hiding-hole in which the King lay until Captain Nicholas Tattersall of Brighton was ready to embark him for Fecamp. George Gunter's own story is, however, that the King rode direct to Brighton. He reached Fecamp on October 16. Two hours after Gunter left Brighton, "soldiers came thither to search for a tall black man, six feet four inches high"—to wit, the Merry Monarch.

Such is the bare narrative of Charles' Sussex ride. If the reader would have it garnished and spiced he should turn to the pages of Ainsworth's Ovingdean Grange, where much that never happened is set forth as entertainingly (or so I thought when I read it as a boy) as if it were truth.


[1] That is the story as the Amberley people like to have it, but another version makes him ride from Hambledon to Brighton in one day; in which case he may have avoided Amberley altogether.



William Collins—The Smiths of Chichester—Hardham's snuff—C. R. Leslie's reminiscence—The headless Ravenswood—Chichester Cathedral—Roman Chichester—Mr. Spershott's recollections—A warning to swearers—The prettiest alms-house in England.

I have already quoted some lines by Collins on Otway; it is time to come to Collins himself.

When Music, heavenly maid, was young, While yet in early Greece she sung, The Passions oft, to hear her shell, Throng'd around her magic cell—

The perfect ode which opens with these unforgettable lines belongs to Chichester, for William Collins was born there on Christmas Day, 1721, and educated there, at the Prebendal school, until he went to Winchester. William Collins was the son of the Mayor of Chichester, a hatter, from whom Pope's friend Caryll bought his hats. I have no wish to tell here the sad story of Collins' life; it is better to remember that few as are his odes they are all of gold. He died at Chichester in 1759, and was buried in St. Andrew's Church.

With eyes up-raised, as one inspired, Pale Melancholy sat retired; And, from her wild sequester'd seat, In notes by distance made more sweet, Pour'd through the mellow horn her pensive soul: And, dashing soft from rocks around Bubbling runnels join'd the sound; Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole, Or, o'er some haunted stream, with fond delay, Round an holy calm diffusing, Love of peace, and lonely musing, In hollow murmurs died away.


Collins is Chichester's great poet. She had a very agreeable minor poet, too, in George Smith, one of the Three Smiths—all artists: William, born in 1707, painter of portraits and of fruit and flower pieces, and George and John, born in 1713 and 1717, who painted landscapes,—known collectively as the Smiths of Chichester. I mention them rather on account of George Smith's poetical experiments than for the brothers' fame as artists; but there is such a pleasant flavour in one at least of his Pastorals that I have copied a portion of it. It is called "The Country Lovers; or, Isaac and Marget going to Town on a Summer's Morning." The town is probably Chichester—certainly one in Sussex and near the Downs. Isaac speaks first:—

Come! Marget, come!—the team is at the gate! Not ready yet!—you always make me wait!

I omit a certain amount of the dialogue which follows, but at last Marget exclaims:—

Well, now I'm ready, long I have not staid.


One kiss before we go, my pretty maid.


Go! don't be foolish, Isaac—get away! Who loiters now?—I thought I could not stay! There!—that's enough! why, Isaac, sure you're mad!


One more, my dearest girl—


Be quiet, lad. See both my cap and hair are rumpled o'er! The tying of my beads is got before!


There let it stay, thy brighter blush to show, Which shames the cherry-colour'd silken bow. Thy lips, which seem the scarlet's hue to steal, Are sweeter than the candy'd lemon peel.


Pray take these chickens for me to the cart; Dear little creatures, how it grieves my heart To see them ty'd, that never knew a crime, And formed so fine a flock at feeding time!

The pretty poem ends with fervid protestations of devotion from Isaac:—

For thee the press with apple-juice shall foam! For thee the bees shall quit their honey-comb! For thee the elder's purple fruit shall grow! For thee the pails with cream shall overflow!

But see yon teams returning from the town, Wind in the chalky wheel-ruts o'er the down: We now must haste; for if we longer stay, They'll meet us ere we leave the narrow way.

Another of Chichester's illustrious sons is Archbishop Juxon, who stood by the side of Charles I. on the scaffold and bade farewell to him in the words "You are exchanging from a temporal to an eternal crown—a good exchange."


Yet another, of a very different type, is John Hardham. "When they talked of their Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff," wrote Goldsmith of Sir Joshua Reynolds,

He shifted his trumpet, and only took snuff.

Had it not been for Chichester the great painter might never have had the second of these consolations, for the only snuff he liked was Hardham's No. 37, and Hardham was a native of Chichester. Before he became famous as a tobacconist, Hardham was, by night, a numberer of the pit for Garrick at Drury Lane. One day he happened to blend Dutch and rappee and poured the mixture into a drawer labelled 37. Garrick so liked the pinch of it which he chanced upon, that he introduced a reference to its merits in some of his comic parts, with the result that Hardham's little shop in Fleet Street soon became a resort, and no nose was properly furnished without No. 37. As Colton wrote, in his Hypocrisy:—

A name is all. From Garrick's breath a puff Of praise gave immortality to snuff; Since which each connoisseur a transient heaven Finds in each pinch of Hardham's 37.

The wealth that came to the tobacconist he left to the city of Chichester to relieve it of certain of its poor rates; and the citizens still magnify Hardham's name. He died in 1772 and had the good sense to restrict the expense of his funeral to ten pounds.

[Sidenote: WILKIE'S BUMPS]

Chichester was the scene of a pleasant incident recorded by Leslie in his Autobiographical Recollections. He was staying with Wilkie at Petworth, the guest of their patron, and the patron of so many other painters, Lord Egremont, of whom we shall learn more when Petworth is reached. They all drove over to Chichester after a visit to Goodwood. Lord Egremont, says Leslie, "had some business to transact at Chichester; but one of his objects was to show us a young girl, the daughter of an upholsterer, who was devoted to painting, and considered to be a genius by her friends. She was not at home; but her mother said she could soon be found, 'if his lordship would have the goodness to wait a short time.' The young lady soon appeared, breathless and exhausted with running. Lord Egremont mentioned our names, and she said, looking up to Wilkie with an expression of great respect, 'Oh, sir! it was but yesterday I had your head in my hands.' This puzzled him, as he did not know she was a phrenologist.

"'And what bumps did you find?' said Lord Egremont.

"'The organ of veneration, very large,' was her answer; and Wilkie, making her a profound bow, said:

"'Madam, I have a great veneration for genius.'

"She showed us an unfinished picture from The Bride of Lammermoor. The figure of Lucy Ashton was completed, and, she told us, was the portrait of a young friend of hers; but Ravenswood was without a head, and this she explained by saying, 'there are no handsome men in Chichester. But,' she continued, her countenance brightening, 'the Tenth are expected here soon.'" (The Tenth was noted for its handsome officers.)

Leslie does not carry the story farther. Whether poor Ravenswood ever gained his head; whether if he did so it was a military one, or, as a last resource, a Chichester one; and where the picture, if completed, now is, I do not know, nor have I succeeded in discovering any more of the young lady. But passing through the streets of the town I was conscious of the absence of the Tenth.

Chichester is a perfect example of an English rural capital, thronged on market days with tilt carts, each bringing a farmer or farmer's wife, and rich in those well-stored ironmongers' shops that one never sees elsewhere. But it is more than this: it is also a cathedral town, with the ever present sense of domination by the cloth even when the cloth is not visible. Chichester has its roughs and its public houses (Mr. Hudson in his Nature in Downland gives them a caustic chapter); it also has its race-week every July, and barracks within hail; yet it is always a cathedral town. Whatever noise may be in the air you know in your heart that quietude is its true characteristic. One might say that above the loudest street cries you are continually conscious of the silence of the close.


Chichester's cathedral is not among the most beautiful or the most interesting, but there is none cooler. It dates from the eleventh century and contains specimens of almost every kind of church architecture; but the spire is comparatively new, having been built in 1866 to take the place of its predecessor, which suddenly dropped like an extinguisher five years before. Seen from the Channel it rises, a friendly landmark (white or gray, according to the clouds), and while walking on the Downs above or on the plain around, one is frequently pleased to catch an unexpected glimpse of its tapering beauty. I have heard it said that Chichester is the only English cathedral that is visible at sea.

Within, the cathedral is disappointing, offering one neither richness on the one hand nor the charm of pure severity on the other. A cathedral must either be plain or coloured, and Chichester comes short of both ideals; it has no colour and no purity. Its proportions are, however, exquisite, and it is impossible to remain here long without passing under the spell of the stone. Yet had it, one feels, only radiance, how much finer it would be.

For the completest contrast to the vastness of the cathedral one may cross into North Street and enter the portal of the toy church of St. Olave, which dates from the 14th century, and is remarkable, not only for its minuteness, but as being one of the churches of Chichester which, in my experience, is not normally locked and barred.


That Chichester was built by the Romans in the geometrical Roman way you may see as you look down from the Bell Tower upon its four main streets—north, south, east and west—east becoming Stane-street and running direct to London. Chichester then was Regnum. On the departure of the Romans, Cissa, son of Ella, took possession, and the name was changed to Cissa's Ceastre, hence Chichester. Remnants of the old walls still stand; and a path has been made on the portion running from North Street down to West Gate.


More attractive, because more human, than the cathedral itself are its precincts: the long resounding cloisters, the still, discreet lanes populous with clerics, and most of all that little terrace of ecclesiastical residences parallel with South Street, in the shadow of the mighty fane, covered with creeping greenness, from wistaria to ampelopsis, with minute windows, inviolable front doors and trim front gardens, which (like all similar settlements) remind one of alms-houses carried out to the highest power. Surely the best of places in which to edit Horace afresh or find new meanings in St. Augustine.

There is a tendency for the cathedral to absorb all the attention of the traveller, but Chichester has other beauties, including the Market Cross, which is a mere child of stone, dating only from the reign of Henry VIII.; St. Mary's Hospital in North Street; and the remains of the monastery of the Grey Friars in the Priory Park. Young Chichester now plays cricket where of old the monks caught fish and performed their duties. It was probably on the mound that their Calvary stood; the last time I climbed it was to watch Bonnor, the Australian giant, practising in the nets below, too many years ago.

Like all cathedral towns Chichester has beautiful gardens, as one may see from the campanile. There are no lawns like the lawns of Bishops, Deans, and Colleges; and few flower beds more luxuriantly stocked. Chichester also has a number of grave, solid houses, such as Miss Austen's characters might have lived in; at least one superb specimen of the art of Sir Christopher Wren, a masterpiece of substantial red brick; and a noble inn, the Dolphin, where one dines in the Assembly room, a relic of the good times before inns became hotels.


We have some glimpses of old Chichester in the reminiscences (about 1720-1730) of James Spershott, a Chichester Baptist Elder, who died in 1789, aged eighty. I quote a passage here and there from his paper of recollections printed in the Sussex Archaeological Collections:—

"Spinning of Household Linnen was in use in most Families, also making their own Bread, and likewise their own Household Physick. No Tea, but much Industrey and good Cheer. The Bacon racks were loaded with Bacon, for little Porke was made in these times. The farmers' Wifes and Daughters were plain in Dress, and made no such gay figures in our Market as nowadays. At Christmas, the whole Constellation of Pattypans which adorn'd their Chimney fronts were taken down. The Spit, the Pot, the Oven, were all in use together; the Evenings spent in Jollity, and their Glass Guns smoking Top'd the Tumbler with the froth of Good October, till most of them were slain or wounded, and the Prince of Orange, and Queen Ann's Marlborough, could no longer be resounded...."


Here is Mr. Spershott's account of a Chichester calamity:—"Jno. Page, Esq., native of this city, coming from London to Stand Candidate Here, a great number of voters went on Horseback to meet him. Among the rest Mr. Joshua Lover, a noted School Master, a sober man in the general but of flighty Passions. As he was setting out, one of his Scollers, Patty Smith (afterwards my Spouse) asked him for a Coppy, and in haste he wrote the following:—

Extreames beget Extreames, Extreames avoid Extreames without Extreames are not Enjoyed.

"He set off in High Carrier, and turning down Rooks's Hill before the Sqr., rideing like a madman To and fro, forward and backward Hallooing among the Company, the Horse at full speed fell with him and kill'd him. A Caution to the flighty and unsteady; and a verification of his Coppy." Again: "Robt. Madlock, a most Prophane Swarer, being Employ'd in Cleaning the outside of the Steeple," fell, owing to a breaking rope, and soon after died. Mr. Spershott adds: "A warning to Swarers." Another entry states: "In my younger years there were many very large corpulent Persons in the City, both of Men and Women. I could now recite by name between twenty and thirty, the great part of that number so Prodigious that like other animals Thoroughly fatted, they could hardly move about."

One of Chichester's epitaphs runs thus:—

Here lies a true soldier, whom all must applaud; Much hardship he suffer'd at home and abroad; But the hardest engagement he ever was in, Was the battle of Self in the conquest of Sin.


I have left until the last the prettiest thing in this city of comely streets and houses—St. Mary's Hospital, at the end of Lion Street (out of North Street): the quaintest almshouse in the world. The building stands back, behind the ordinary houses, and is gained by a passage and a courtyard. You then enter what seems to be a church, for at the far end is an altar beneath an unmistakably ecclesiastical window. But when the first feeling of surprise has passed, you discover that there is only a small chancel at the east end of the building, on either side of which are little dwellings. Each of these is occupied by a nice little old woman, who has two rooms, very minute and cosy, with a little supply of faggots close at hand, and all the dignity of a householder, although the occupant only of an infinitesimal toy house within a house. How do they agree, one wonders, these little old ladies of a touchy age under their great roof?

Different accounts are given of the origin of St. Mary's Hospital. Mr. Lower says that it was founded in 1229 for a chaplain and thirteen bedesmen. In 1562 a warden and five inmates were the prescribed occupants. Now there are eight sets of rooms, each with its demure tenant, all of whom troop into the little chapel at fixed hours. Mrs. Evans, sacristan, who does the honours, would tell me nothing as to the process of selection by which she and the seven other occupants came to be living there; all that she could say was that she was very happy to be a Hospitaller, and that by no possibility could one of the little domiciles ever fall to me.



Goodwood—The art of being a park—The Cenotaph of Lord Darnley—Boxgrove—Cowper at Eastham—The Charlton Hunt—A famous run—Huntsman and Saint—Present day hunting in Sussex—Mr. Knox's delectable day with his gun—Kingly Bottom—The best white violets—A demon bowler—Two epitaphs.

Chichester may have a cathedral and a history, but nine out of ten strangers know of it only as a station for Goodwood race-course; towards which, in that hot week at the end of July, hundreds of carriages toil by the steep road that skirts the Duke of Richmond and Gordon's park.

Goodwood Park gives me little pleasure. I miss the deer; and when the first park that one ever knew was Buxted, with its moving antlers above the brake fern, one almost is compelled to withhold the word park from any enclosure without them. It is impossible to lose the feeling that the right place for cattle—even for Alderneys—is the meadow. Cows in a park are a poor makeshift; parks are for deer. To my eyes Goodwood House has a chilling exterior; the road to the hill-top is steep and lengthy; and when one has climbed it and crossed the summit wood, it is to come upon the last thing that one wishes to find in the heart of the country, among rolling Downs, sacred to hawks and solitude—a Grand Stand and the railings of a race-course! Race-courses are for the outskirts of towns, as at Brighton and Lewes; or for hills that have no mystery and no magic, like the heights of Epsom; or for such mockeries of parks as Sandown and Kempton. The good park has many deer and no race-course.

And yet Goodwood is superb, for it has some of the finest trees in Sussex within its walls, including the survivors of a thousand cedars of Lebanon planted a hundred and fifty years ago; and with every step higher one unfolds a wider view of the Channel and the plain. Best of these prospects is, perhaps, that gained from Carne's seat, as the Belvedere to the left of the road to the racecourse is called; its name deriving from an old servant of the family, whose wooden hut was situated here when Carne died, and whose name and fame were thus perpetuated. The stones of the building were in part those of old Hove church, near Brighton, then lately demolished.


In Goodwood House, which is shown on regular days, are fine Vandycks and Lelys, relics of the two Charles', and above all the fascinatingly absorbing "Cenotaph of Lord Darnley," a series of scenes in the life of that ill-fated husband. It may be said that among all the treasures of Sussex there is nothing quite so interesting as this.

[Sidenote: BOXGROVE]

Leaving Chichester by East Street (or Stane Street, the old Roman road to London) one comes first to West Hampnett, famous as the birthplace, in 1792, of Frederick William Lillywhite, the "Nonpareil" bowler, whom we shall meet again at Brighton. A mile and a half beyond is Halnaker, midway between two ruins, those of Halnaker House to the north and Boxgrove Priory to the south. Of the remains of Halnaker House, a Tudor mansion, once the home of the De la Warrs, little may now be seen; but Boxgrove is still very beautiful, as Mr. Griggs' drawings prove. The Priory dates from the reign of Henry I., when it was founded very modestly for three Benedictine monks, a number which steadily grew. Seven Henries later came its downfall, and now nothing remains but some exquisite Norman arches and a few less perfect fragments. Boxgrove church is an object of pilgrimage for antiquaries and architects, the vaulting being peculiarly interesting. At the Halnaker Arms in 1902 was a landlady whom few cooks could teach anything in the matter of pastry.


The next village on Stane Street, or rather a little south of it, about two miles beyond Halnaker, is Eartham; which brings to mind William Hayley, the friend and biographer of Cowper and the author of The Triumphs of Temper, perhaps the least read of any book that once was popular. Hayley succeeded his father as squire of Eartham; here he entertained Cowper and other friends; here Romney painted. When need came for retrenchment, Hayley let Eartham to Huskisson, the statesman, and moved to Felpham, on the coast, where we shall meet with him again. Cowper's occupations upon this charming Sussex hillside are recorded in Hayley's account of the visit: "Homer was not the immediate object of our attention while Cowper resided at Eartham. The morning hours that we could bestow on books were chiefly devoted to a complete revisal and correction of all the translations, which my friend had finished, from the Latin and Italian poetry of Milton; and we generally amused ourselves after dinner in forming together a rapid metrical version of Andreini's Adamo. But the constant care which the delicate health of Mrs. Unwin required rendered it impossible for us to be very assiduous in study, and perhaps the best of all studies was to promote and share that most singular and most exemplary tenderness of attention with which Cowper incessantly laboured to counteract every infirmity, bodily and mental, with which sickness and age had conspired to load this interesting guardian of his afflicted life.... The air of the south infused a little portion of fresh strength into her shattered frame, and to give it all possible efficacy, the boy, whom I have mentioned, and a young associate and fellow student of his, employed themselves regularly twice a day in drawing this venerable cripple in a commodious garden-chair round the airy hill of Eartham. To Cowper and to me it was a very pleasing spectacle to see the benevolent vivacity of blooming youth thus continually labouring for the ease, health, and amusement of disabled age."


The poet and Mrs. Unwin, after much trepidation and doubt, had left Weston Underwood on August 1, 1792; they slept at Barnet the first night, Ripley the next, and were at Eartham by ten o'clock on the third. They stayed till September. Cowper describes Hayley's estate as one of the most delightful pleasure grounds in the world. "I had no conception that a poet could be the owner of such a paradise, and his house is as elegant as his scenes are charming." The poet, apart from his rapid treatment of Adamo, did not succeed independently in attaining to Hayley's fluency among these surroundings. "I am in truth so unaccountably local in the use of my pen," he wrote to Lady Hesketh, "that, like the man in the fable, who could leap well nowhere but at Rhodes, I seem incapable of writing at all except at Weston." Hence the only piece that he composed in our county was the epitaph on Fop, a dog belonging to Lady Throckmorton. But while he was at Eartham Romney drew his portrait in crayons.

Cowper always looked back upon his visit with pleasure, but, as he remarked, the genius of Weston Underwood suited him better—"It has an air of snug concealment in which a disposition like mine feels itself peculiarly gratified; whereas now I see from every window woods like forests and hills like mountains—a wilderness, in short, that rather increases my natural melancholy.... Accordingly, I have not looked out for a house in Sussex, nor shall."

The simplest road from Chichester to the Downs is the railway. The little train climbs laboriously to Singleton, and then descends to Cocking and Midhurst. By leaving it at Singleton one is quickly in the heart of this vast district of wooded hills, sometimes wholly forested, sometimes, as in West Dean park, curiously studded with circular clumps of trees.


The most interesting spot to the east of the line is Charlton, once so famous among sporting men, but now, alas, unknown. For Charlton was of old a southern Melton Mowbray, the very centre of the aristocratic hunting county. The Charlton Hunt had two palmy periods: before the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, and after the accession of William III. Monmouth and Lord Grey kept two packs, the Master being Squire Roper. With the fall of Monmouth Roper fled to France, to hunt at Chantilly, but on the accession of William III. he returned to Sussex, the hounds resumed their old condition, and the Charlton pack became the most famous in the world. On the death of Mr. Roper—in the hunting field, in 1715, at the age of eighty-four—the Duke of Bolton took the Mastership, which he held until the charms of Miss Fenton the actress (the Polly Peachum of The Beggars' Opera) lured him to the tents of the women. Then came the glorious reign of the second Duke of Richmond, when sport with the Charlton was at its height. The Charlton Hunt declined upon his death, in 1750, became known as the Goodwood Hunt, and wholly ceased to be at the beginning of the last century.

The crowning glory of the Charlton Hunt was the run of Friday, January 26, 1738, which is thus described in an old manuscript:—

[Sidenote: A FAMOUS RUN]


It has long been a matter of controversy in the hunting world to what particular country or set of men the superiority belonged. Prejudices and partiality have the greatest share in their disputes, and every society their proper champion to assert the pre-eminence and bring home the trophy to their own country. Even Richmond Park has the Dymoke. But on Friday, the 26th of January, 1738, there was a decisive engagement on the plains of Sussex, which, after ten hours' struggle, has settled all further debate and given the brush to the gentlemen of Charlton.


The Duke of Richmond, Duchess of Richmond, Duke of St Alban's, the Lord Viscount Harcourt, the Lord Henry Beauclerk, the Lord Ossulstone, Sir Harry Liddell, Brigadier Henry Hawley, Ralph Jennison, master of His Majesty's Buck Hounds, Edward Pauncefort, Esq., William Farquhar, Esq., Cornet Philip Honywood, Richard Biddulph, Esq., Charles Biddulph, Esq., Mr. St. Paul, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Peerman, of Chichester; Mr. Thomson, Tom Johnson, Billy Ives, Yeoman Pricker to His Majesty's Hounds; David Briggs and Nim Ives, Whippers-in.

At a quarter before eight in the morning the fox was found in Eastdean Wood, and ran an hour in that cover; then into the Forest, up to Puntice Coppice through Heringdean to the Marlows, up to Coney Coppice, back to the Marlows, to the Forest West Gate, over the fields to Nightingale Bottom, to Cobden's at Draught, up his Pine Pit Hanger, where His Grace of St. Alban's got a fall; through My Lady Lewknor's Puttocks, and missed the earth; through Westdean Forest to the corner of Collar Down (where Lord Harcourt blew his first horse), crossed the Hackney-place down the length of Coney Coppice, through the Marlows to Heringdean, into the Forest and Puntice Coppice, Eastdean Wood, through the Lower Teglease across by Cocking Course down between Graffham and Woolavington, through Mr. Orme's Park and Paddock over the Heath to Fielder's Furzes, to the Harlands, Selham, Ambersham, through Todham Furzes, over Todham Heath, almost to Cowdray Park, there turned to the limekiln at the end of Cocking Causeway, through Cocking Park and Furzes; there crossed the road and up the hills between Bepton and Cocking. Here the unfortunate Lord Harcourt's second horse felt the effects of long legs and a sudden steep; the best thing that belonged to him was his saddle, which My Lord had secured; but, by bleeding and Geneva (contrary to Act of Parliament) he recovered, and with some difficulty was got home. Here Mr. Farquhar's humanity claims your regard, who kindly sympathised with My Lord in his misfortunes, and had not power to go beyond him. At the bottom of Cocking Warren the hounds turned to the left across the road by the barn near Heringdean, then took the side near to the north-gate of the Forest (Here General Hawley thought it prudent to change his horse for a true-blue that staid up the hills). Billy Ives likewise took a horse of Sir Harry Liddell's, went quite through the Forest and run the foil through Nightingale Bottom to Cobden at Draught, up his Pine Pit Hanger to My Lady Lewknor's Puttocks, through every mews she went in the morning; went through the Warren above Westdean (where we dropt Sir Harry Liddell) down to Benderton Farm (here Lord Harry sank), through Goodwood Park (here the Duke of Richmond chose to send three lame horses back to Charlton, and took Saucy Face and Sir William, that were luckily at Goodwood; from thence, at a distance, Lord Harry was seen driving his horse before him to Charlton). The hounds went out at the upper end of the Park over Strettington-road by Sealy Coppice (where His Grace of Richmond got a summerset), through Halnaker Park over Halnaker Hill to Seabeach Farm (here the Master of the Stag Hounds, Cornet Honywood, Tom Johnson, and Nim Ives were thoroughly satisfied), up Long Down, through Eartham Common fields and Kemp's High Wood (here Billy Ives tried his second horse and took Sir William, by which the Duke of St. Alban's had no great coat, so returned to Charlton). From Kemp's High Wood the hounds took away through Gunworth Warren, Kemp's Rough Piece, over Slindon Down to Madehurst Parsonage (where Billy came in with them), over Poor Down up to Madehurst, then down to Houghton Forest, where His Grace of Richmond, General Hawley, and Mr. Pauncefort came in (the latter to little purpose, for, beyond the Ruel Hill, neither Mr. Pauncefort nor his horse Tinker cared to go, so wisely returned to his impatient friends), up the Ruel Hill, left Sherwood on the right hand, crossed Ofham Hill to Southwood, from thence to South Stoke to the wall of Arundel River, where the glorious 23 hounds put an end to the campaign, and killed an old bitch fox, ten minutes before six. Billy Ives, His Grace of Richmond, and General Hawley were the only persons in at the death, to the immortal honour of 17 stone, and at least as many campaigns.

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