Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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xx                                           NEWTIMBER                                         197
raising an embattled tower among the trees on its mound. It has been conjectured from the similarity of this beautiful church to that of Alfriston that they may have had the same architect. Poynings (now called Punnings) was of importance in Norman times, and was the seat of William FitzRainalt, whose descendants afterwards took the name of de Ponyngs and one of whom was ennobled as Baron de Ponyngs. In the fifteenth century the direct line was merged into that of Percy. The ruins of Ponyngs Place, the baronial mansion, are still traceable.
Following the road to the west, under the hills, we come first to Fulking (where one may drink at a fountain raised by a brewer to the glory of God and in honour of John Ruskin), then to Edburton (where the leaden font, one of three in Sussex, should be noted), then to Truleigh, all little farming hamlets shadowed by the Downs, and so to Beeding and Bramber, or, striking south, to Shoreham.
If, instead of turning into Poynings, one ascends the hill on the other side of the stream, a climb of some minutes, with a natural amphitheatre on the right, brings one to the wooded northern escarpment of Saddlescombe North Hill, or Newtimber Hill, which offers a view little inferior to that of the Dyke. At Saddlescombe, by the way, lives one of the most learned Sussex ornithologists of the day, and a writer upon the natural history of the county (so cavalierly treated in this book !), for whose quick eye and descriptive hand the readers of Blackwood have reason to be grateful. Immediately beneath Newtimber Hill lies Newtimber, consisting of a house or two, a moated grange, and a little church, which, though only a few yards from the London road, is so hidden that it might be miles from everywhere. On the grass bank of the bostel descending through the hanger to Newtimber, I counted on one spring afternoon as many as a dozen adders basking in the sun. We are here, though so near Brighton, in country where the badger is still found, while the Newtimber woods are famous among collectors of moths.
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