The Sussex Diarists.
the tax-gatherer. That the hearth-tax was not a light one we can gather from the following entry:—
" To Mr. Moore, of East Grinstead, collector, for 8 fire hearths due for one whole yeare expiring at Michaelmas, together with one yeare more for the brewhouse chimney, I payed 18s."
Pepys, who was keeping his diary at the same time as the Sussex Rector, was better informed as to the extravagant expenditure of the Court at this time. "It was," he says, writing in 1666, "computed that the Parliament had given the King for this war only, besides prizes, and besides the £200,000 which he was to spend of his own revenue to guard the sea, above £5,000,000 and odd £100,000, which is a most prodigious sum. It is strange how everybody do now a days reflect upon Oliver, and commend him; what brave things he did, and made all the neighbouring princes to fear him; while here, a prince come in with all the love and prayers and good liking of his people, who have given greater signs of loyalty and willingness to serve him with their estates than was ever done by any people, hath lost all so soon, that it is a miracle what way a man could devise to lose so much in so short a time."
Friend Pepys took care to write in cypher, or this reference to the " brave things that Oliver did" might have cost him dearly!
Poor-rates also continued to increase in Horstead Keynes. In 1730 they had reached 2s. 9d. in the £, and in 1831 they amounted to £2 a-head in a population of 782 persons. Even in 1848 they averaged 6s. 4d. in the £. Horstead Keynes, indeed, was, from some cause or other—perhaps its remoteness from any large town, lying as it does in the very centre of the Weald of Sussex—one of the poorest and most neglected, though most picturesque villages in the South of England. It was here that the Sussex peasantry met when they broke out into something like rebellion against their lords and masters, and made the reporter of the Brighton Herald (professionally present at their meeting) a few hours' prisoner in order that he might put into shape the rough