Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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vin                         A DIGRESSION ON MILLS                           81
the magic of windmills, painted several in Sussex—one even at Brighton.
Brighton now has but one mill. There used to be many : one in the West Hill road, a comelier landmark than the stucco Congregational tower that has taken its place close by and serves as the town's sentinel from almost every point of approach. In 1797 a miller near Brighton anticipated Ameri­can enterprise by moving his mill bodily to a place two miles distant by the help of eighty oxen.
Another weakness of steam mills is that they are apparently without millers—at least there is no unmistakable dominating presence in a white hat, to whom one can confidently apply the definite article, as in the mill on the hill. Millers' men there are in plenty, but the miller is lacking. This is because steam mills belong to companies. Thus, with the passing of the windmill we lose also the miller, that notable figure in English life and tradition; always jolly, if the old songs are true; often eccentric, as the story of John Oliver has shown; and usually a character, as becomes one who lives by the four winds, or by water—for the miller of tradition was often found in a water-mill too. The water-miller's empire has been threatened less than that of the windmill, for there is no sudden cessation of water power as of wind power. Sussex still has many water-mills—cool and splashing homes of peaceful bustle. Long may they endure.
Highdown Hill has other associations. In 1812 the Gentle­men of the Weald met the Gentlemen of the Sea-coast at cricket on its dividing summit. The game, which was for one hundred guineas, was a very close thing, the Gentlemen of the Weald winning by only seven runs. Among the Gentlemen of the Sea-coast was Mr. Osbaldeston, while the principal Gentleman of the Weald was Mr. E. H. Budd.
A mile north of Highdown Hill, in a thickly wooded country, are Patching and Clapham; Patching celebrated for its pond, which washes the high-road to Arundel, and Clapham for its
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