Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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Sussex Tragedies and Romances.            193
brought forth of the Tower and deliuered to the shirifFs, who led him on foot unto Tiburne, where he died. His bodi was buried in the church of Saint Sepulchers. He was not past foure and twentie yeeres of age, when he came through this great mishap to his end, for whom manie sore lamented, and likewise for the other three gentlemen, Mantell, Frowds and Roidon. But for the said yoong Lord, being a right towardlie gentleman, and such a one as many had conceiued great hope of better proofe, no small mone and lamentation was made; the more, indeed, for that it was thought he was induced to attempt such follie, which occasioned his death, by some light heads that were then about him."
When,- indeed, the character of the times is considered, the punishment seems out of proportion to the offence, which was rather that of homicide than of murder; and in these days the penalty of manslaughter would, probably, be deemed sufficient for the purposes of justice. But in Henry the Eighth's day the kingly hand weighed heavily on the noble; noble heads were cut off for very venial acts; and the mere pretext of " standing against all the lieges of the King," even if only to kill a buck, was sufficient to bring down the most dread vengeance of the law.
In his paper on this tragical event, the late Mr. M. A. Lower says the scene of it is still known. Pick-hay, as it is now called, is an arable field of ten acres on the Horselunges Farm, in the parish of Hellingly, adjoining a field called " The Cabins," on the Broad Farm, rather less than a quarter of a mile south-west of Hellingly Church on the road to Horsebridge. The river Cuckmere is the boundary of the two fields. The actual scene of the murder (writes a local archaeologist, Mr. T. Horton) is near the bottom of the two fields and near the river. " In my youth (he adds) the tradition of the murder was current; and I may add that a ghost has always been about the place." Whether of Lord Dacre, " of the South," or of John Busbrydgge, "deponent sayeth not."
This is the earliest on record of what may be called our Sussex domestic tragedies. O
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