Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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whose name has in this familiar connection a popular and almost an endearing sound, was Jacob Harris, a Jew pedlar of astonishing turpitude, who, after murdering three persons at an inn on Ditchling Common and plundering their house, was hanged at Horsham in the year 1734, and afterwards suspended, as a lesson, to the gibbet, of which this post—Jacob's Post—is the surviving relic.
All gibbets, it is said, are " good " for something, and a piece of Jacob's Post carried on the person is sovran against toothache. A Sussex archaeologist tells of an old lady, a resident on Ditchling Common for more than eighty years, whose belief in the Post was so sound that her pocket contained a splinter of it long after all her teeth had departed.
From extracts from the diary of Mr. John Burgess, tailor, sexton and Particular Baptist, of Ditchling, which are given in the Sussex Archaeological Collections, I quote here and there:—
"August 1st, 1785. There was a cricket match at Lingfield Common between Lingfield in Surrey and all the county of Sussex, supposed to be upwards of 2,000 people.
"June 29th, 1786. Went to Lewes with some wool to Mr. Chatfield, fine wool at 8-5-0 per pack. Went to dinner with Mr. Chatfield. Had boiled Beef, Leg of Lamb and plum Pudden. Stopped there all the afternoon. Mr. Pullin was there; Mr. Trimby and the Curyer, &c, was there. We had a good deal of religious conversation, particularly Mr. Trimby.
"June nth, 1787. Spent 3 or 4 hours with some friends in Conversation upon Moral and religious Subjects; the inquiry was the most easy and natural evedences of ye existence and attributes of ye supream Being—in discussing upon the Subject we was nearly agreed and propose meeting again every first monday after the fool Moon to meet at 4 and break-up at 8.
"March 14th, 1788. Went to Fryersoake to a Bull Bait to
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