Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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Hay ward's Heath — Rookwood and the fatal tree—Timothy Burrell and his account books—Old Sussex appetites—Plum-porridge—A luckless lover—The original Merry Andrew—Ancient testators—Bolney's bells— The splendour of the Slaugham Coverts—Hand Cross—Crawley and the new discovery of walking—Lindfield—Idlehurst —Richard Turner's epitaph —Ardingly.
Hayward's Heath, on the London line, would be our next centre were it not so new and suburban. Fortunately Cuckfield, which has two coaching inns and many of the signs of the leisurely past, is close by, in the midst of very interesting country, with a church standing high on the ridge to the south of the town, broadside to the Weald, its spire a landmark for miles. Cuckfield Place (a house and park, according to Shelley, which abounded in " bits of Mrs. Radcliffe ") is described in Harrison Ainsworth's Rooktvood. It was in the avenue leading from the gates to the house that that fatal tree stood, a limb of which fell as the presage of the death of a member of the family. So runs the legend. Knowledge of the tree is, however, disclaimed by the gatekeeper.
Ockenden House, in Cuckfield, has been for many years in the possession of the Burrell family, one of whom, Timothy Burrell, an ancestor of the antiquary, left some interesting account books, which contain in addition to figures many curious and sardonic entries and some ingenious hieroglyphics. I quote here and there, from the Sussex Archaeological Society's
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