Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

and its uses :—" A piece of wood about a foot and a half long, four inches deep, and three inches wide, is planed off on two sides so as to resemble the roof of a well-known toy, yclept a Noah's ark, but more than twice as long. In the sloping sides are set several bits of looking-glass. A long iron spindle, the lower end of which is sharp and fixed in the ground, passes freely through the centre ; on this the instrument turns, and even spins rapidly when a string has been attached and is pulled by the performer, who generally stands at a distance of fifteen or twenty yards from the decoy. The reflection of the sun's rays from these little revolving mirrors seems to possess a mysterious attraction for the larks, for they descend in great numbers from a considerable height in the air, hover over the spot, and suffer themselves to be shot at repeatedly without attempting to leave the field or to continue their course."
To return to Rottingdean, it was above the village, seven hundred years ago, that a " sore scrymmysche" occurred between the French and the Cluniac prior of Lewes. The prior was defeated and captured, but the nature of his resistance decided the enemy that it was better perhaps to retreat to their boats. The holy man, although worsted, thus had the satisfac­tion of having proved to the King that a Cluniac monk in this country, was not, as was supposed at court, necessarily on the side of England's foes, even though they were of his own race.
According to the scheme of this book, we should now return to Brighton ; but, as I have said, the right use to which to put Rottingdean is as the starting point for a day among the hills. Once out and above the village, the world is your own. A con­spiracy to populate a part of the Downs near the sea, a mile or so to the east of Rottingdean, seems gloriously to have failed, but what was intended may be learned from the skeleton roads that, duly fenced in, disfigure the turf. They even have names, these unlovely parallelograms : one is Chats worth Avenue, and Ambleside Avenue another.
Previous Contents Next