Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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it was more important still, for, according to some authorities, it was the Portus Adurni of the Romans. The river Adur, which now enters the sea between Shoreham and Southwick, once flowed along the line of the present canal and the Wish Pond, and so out into the sea. I have seen it stated that the mouth of the river was even more easterly still—somewhere opposite the Norfolk Hotel at Brighton ; but this may be fanciful and can now hardly be proven. The suggestion, however, adds interest to a walk on the otherwise unromantic Brunswick Lawns. In those days the Roman ships, entering the river here, would sail up as far as Bramber. Between the river and the sea were then some two miles—possibly more— of flat meadow land, on which Aldrington was largely built. Over the ruins of that Aldrington the Channel now washes.
Beyond Aldrington is Portslade, with a pretty inland village on the hill; beyond Portslade is Southwick, notable for its green; and beyond Southwick is Shoreham. Southwick and Shoreham both have that interest which can never be wanting to the seaport that has seen better days. The life of a harbour, whatever its state of decay, is eternally absorbing; an,d in Shoreham harbour one gets such life at its laziest. The smell of tar; the sound of hammers ; the laughter and whistling of the loafers ; the continuous changing of the tide; the opening of the lock gates; the departure of the tug; its triumphant return, leading in custody a timber-laden barque from the Baltic, a little self-conscious and ashamed, as if caught red-handed in iniquity by this fussy little officer; the independent sailing of a grimy steamer bound for Sunderland and more coal; the elaborate wharfing of the barque :—all these things on a hot still day can exercise an hypnotic influence more real and strange than the open sea. The romance and mystery of the sea may indeed be more intimately near one on a harbour wharf than on the deck of a liner in mid-ocean.
Shoreham has its place in history. Thence as we have seen, sailed Charles II. in Captain Tattersall's Enterprise. Four
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