Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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XV
A POCKET BOROUGH
141
village was the scene of an encounter between Royalists and Roundheads. A letter from John Coulton to Samuel Jeake of Rye, dated January 8, 1643-4, thus describes the event: "The enemy attempted Bramber bridge, but our brave Carleton and Evernden with his Dragoons and our Coll.'s horse welcomed them with drakes and musketts, sending some 8 or 9 men to hell (I feare) and one trooper to Arundel Castle prisoner, and one of Capt. Evernden's Dragoons to heaven." A few years later, as we have seen, Charles II. ran a grave risk at Bramber while on his way to Brighton and safety.
Bramber was, for many years, a pocket borough of the worst type. George Spencer, writing to Algernon Sidney after the Bramber election in 1679, says:''You would have laughed to see how pleased I seemed to be in kissing of old women; and drinking wine with handfuls of sugar, and great glasses of burnt brandy; three things much against the stomach." In 1768, eighteen votes were polled for one candidate and sixteen for his rival. One of the tenants, in a cottage valued at about three shillings a week, refused 1000 for his vote. Bramber remained a pocket borough until the Reform Bill. William Wilberforce, the abolitionist, sat for it for some years ; there is a story that on passing one day through the village he stopped his carriage to inquire the name. "Bramber? Why, that's the place I'm Member for."
Bramber possesses a humorist in taxidermy, whose efforts win more attention than the castle. They are to be seen in a small museum in its single street, the price of admission being for children one penny, for adults twopence, and for ladies and gentlemen " what they please'' (indicating that the naturalist also knows human nature). In one case, guinea pigs strive in cricket's manly toil; in another, rats read the paper and play dominoes; in a third, rabbits learn their lessons in school; in a fourth, the last scene in the tragedy of the Babes of the Wood is represented, Bramber Castle in the
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