Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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one leaves the station: as fine a mass of timbers, gables, and oblique lines as one could wish, making an effect such as time alone can give. The days of such relics are numbered.)
Horsham not only has beautiful old houses of its own, but it has been the cause of beautiful old houses all over the county ; since nothing so adds to the charm of a building as a roof of Horsham stone, those large grey flat slabs on which the weather works like a great artist in harmonies of moss, lichen, and stain. No roofing so combines dignity and home­liness, and no roofing except possibly thatch (which, however, is short-lived) so surely passes into the landscape. But Horsham stone is no longer used. It is to be obtained for a new house only by the demolition of an old ; and few new houses have rafters sufficiently stable to bear so great a weight. Our ancestors built for posterity : we build for ourselves. Our ancestors used Sussex oak where we use fir.
Not only is Horsham stone on the roofs of the neighbour­hood : it is also on the paths, so that one may step from flag to flag for miles, dryshod, or at least without mud.
Horsham's place in history is unimportant : but indirectly it played its part in the fourteenth century, by supplying the War Office of that era with bolts for cross bows, excellent for slaying Scots and Frenchmen. The town was famous also for its horseshoes. In the days of Cromwell we find Horsham to have been principally Royalist; one engagement with Par­liamentarians is recorded in which it lost three warriors to Cromwell's one. In the reign of William III. a young man claiming to be the Duke of Monmouth, and travelling with a little court who addressed him as " Your Grace," turned the heads of the women in many an English town—his good looks convincing them at once, as the chronicler says, that he was the true prince. Justices sitting at Horsham, however, having less susceptibility to the testimony of handsome features, found him to be the son of an innkeeper named Savage, and im­prisoned him as a vagrant and swindler.
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