Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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2l6
THE BELLS OF BOLNEY
CHAP.
The high altar was frequently mentioned favourably in these old wills. Another Cuckfield testator, in 1539, left to the high altar, "for tythes and oblacions negligently forgotten, six­pence." The same student of the Calendar of Sussex Wills in the District Probate Registry at Lewes, between 1541 and 1652, which the British Record Society have just published, copies the following passage from the will of Gerard Onstye, in 1568 : " To mary my daughter £20, the neatherbed that I lye upon the bolsters and coverlete of tapestaye work with a blankett, 4 payres of shetts that is to say four pares of the best flaxon and other 2 payre of the best hempen the greate brasse potte that hir mother brought, the best bord-clothe (table cloth ?) a lynnen whelle (i.e., spinning-wheel) that was hir mothers, the chaffing dish that hangeth in the parlor."
In those simple days everything was prized. In one of these Sussex wills, in 1594, Richard Phearndeane, a labourer, left to his brother Stephen his best dublett, his best jerkin and his best shoes, and to Bernard Rosse his white dublett, his leathern dublett and his worst breeches.
Three miles west of Cuckfield is Bolney, just off the London read, a village in the southern boundary of St. Leonard's Forest, the key to some very rich country. Before the days of bicycles Bolney was practically unknown, so retired is it. The church, which has a curious pinnacled tower nearly 300 years old, is famous for its bells, concerning whose melody Horsfield gives the following piece of counsel: " Those who are fond of the silvery tones of bells, may enjoy them to perfection, by placing themselves on the margin of a large pond, the property of Mr. W. Marshall \ the reverbera­tion of the sound, coming off the water, is peculiarly striking."
Sixty years ago this sheet of water had an additional attrac­tion. Says Mr. Knox, " During the months of May and June, 1843, an osprey was observed to haunt the large ponds near
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