Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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56                                 CHIDHAM WHEAT                              chap.
superior to changes of religion, were it not explained by the tinromantic principles of acoustics.
A heavy pole, known as the staff of Bevis of Southamp­ton (and Arundel), was of old kept in Bosham church.
At high water Bosham is the fair abode of peace. When every straggling arm of the harbour is brimming full, when their still surfaces reflect the sky with a brighter light, and the fishing boats ride erect, Bosham is serenely beautiful and restful. But at low tide she is a slut: the withdrawing floods lay bare vast tracts of mud; the ships heel over into attitudes disreputably oblique ; stagnation reigns.
Chidham, by Bosham, is widely famous for its wheat. Chid-ham White, or Hedge, wheat was first produced a little more than a century ago by Mr. Woods, a farmer. He noticed one afternoon (probably on a Sunday, when farmers are most noticing) an unfamiliar patch of wheat growing in a hedge. It contained thirty ears, in which were fourteen hundred corns. Mr. Woods carefully saved it and sowed it. The crop was eight pounds and a half. These he sowed, and the crop was forty eight gallons. Thus it multiplied, until the time came to distribute it to other farmers at a high price. The cultivation of Chidham wheat by Mr. Woods at one side of the county, synchronised with the breeding of the best Southdown sheep by John Ellman at the other, as we shall see later.
South of Chichester stretches the Manhood peninsula, of which Selsey is the principal town: the part of Sussex most neglected by the traveller. In a county of hills the stranger is not attracted by a district that might almost have been hewn out of Holland. But the ornithologist knows its value, and in a world increasingly bustling and progressive there is a curious fascination in so remote and deliberate a region, over which, even in the finest weather and during the busiest harvest, a suggestion of desolation broods. Nothing, one feels, can ever introduce Success into this plain, and so thinking, one is at peace.
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