Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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146
CHANCTONBURY RING
CHAP.
inward eye. Chanctonbury, when all is said, is the monarch of the range.
The words of the Sussex enthusiast, refusing an invitation to spend a summer abroad, express the feeling of many of his countrymen :-
For howsoever fair the land,
The time would surely be That brought our Wealden blackbird's note
Across the waves to me.
And howsoever strong the door,
'Twould never keep at bay The thought of Fulking's violets,
The scent of Holmbush hay.
And ever when the day was done,
And all the sky was still, How I should miss the climbing moon
O'er Chanctonbury's hill !
It is Chanctonbury's crown of beeches that lifts it above the other hills. Uncrowned it would be no more noticeable than Fulking Beacon or a score of others; but its dark grove can be seen for many miles. In Wiston House, under the hill, the seat of the Goring family, to whom belong the hill and a large part of the country that it dominates, is an old painting of Chanctonbury before the woods were made, bare as the barest, without either beech or juniper, and the eye does not notice it until all else in the picture has been examined. The planter of Chanctonbury's Ring, in 1760, was Mr. Charles Goring of Wiston, who wrote in extreme old age in 1828 the following lines :
How oft around thy Ring, sweet Hill,
A Boy, I used to play, And form my plans to plant thy top
On some auspicious day. How oft among thy broken turf
With what delight I trod,
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