Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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134
A WOODCOCK ON AN OAK
CH. XIV
quaint mixture of mythology and theology. It bears upon
the death of a lad, Meneleb Raynsford, aged nine, who died in
1627 :—
Great Jove hath lost his Gannymede, I know, Which made him seek another here below— And finding none—not one—like unto this, Hath ta'en him hence into eternal bliss. Cease, then, for thy dear Meneleb to weep, God's darling was too good for thee to keep : But rather joy in this great favour given, A child on earth is made a saint in heaven.
Three miles east of Henfield, and a little to the north, is a farm the present tenant of which has made an interesting experiment. He found in the house an old map of the county, and identifying his own estate, discovered a large sheet of water marked on it. On examining the site he saw distinct traces of this ancient lake, and at once set about building a dam to restore it. Water now, once again, fills the hollow, completely transforming this part of the country, and bringing into it wild duck and herons as of old. The lake is completely hidden from the neighbouring roads and is accessible only by field paths, but it is well worth finding.
There once hung in the parlour of Henfield's chief inn—I wonder if it is there still—a rude etching of local origin, rather in the manner of Buss's plates to Pickwick, representing an inn kitchen filled with a jolly company listening uproariously to a fat farmer by the fire, who, with arm raised, told his tale. Underneath was written, " Mr. West describing how he saw a woodcock settle on an oak "—a perfect specimen of the Sussex joke.
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