Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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rays far out in the channel. The sea has played curious pranks on the Selsey coast. Beneath the beach and a large tract of the sea now lies what was once, four hundred years ago, a park of deer, which in its most prosperous day extended for miles. The shallow water covering it is still called the park by the fishermen, who drop their nets where the bucks and does of Selsey were wont to graze.
But the sea has obliterated more than the pasturage of the deer; a mile distant from the present shore stood the first monastery erected in Sussex after Wilfrid's conversion of the South Saxons to Christianity. Although Saint Wilfrid event­ually found a home in Sussex and worked hard among its people, his first attempt to bring Christianity to the county was, according to his friend Edda's Vita Wilfridi, ill-starred. I quote the story :—
"A great gale blowing from the South-east, the swelling waves threw them on the unknown coast of the South Saxons. The sea too left the ship and men, and retreating from the land and leaving the shore uncovered, retired into the depths of the abyss.
" And the heathen, coming with a great army, intended to seize the ship, to divide the spoil of money, to take them captives forthwith, and to put to the sword those who resisted. To whom our great bishop spoke gently and peaceably, offering much money, wishing to redeem their souls.
" But they with stern and cruel hearts like Pharaoh would not let the people of the Lord go, saying proudly that, 'All that the sea threw on the land became as much theirs as their own property.'
" And the idolatrous chief priest of the heathen, standing on a lofty mound, strove like Balaam to curse the people of God, and to bind their hands by his magic arts.
' Then one of the bishop's companions hurled, like David, a stone, blessed by all the people of God, which struck the cursing magician in the forehead and pierced his brain, when
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