Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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230
"BIG-ON-LITTLE"
CHAP.
the south-west of East Grinstead, is another " tye "—Gravetye, a tudor mansion in a deep hollow, the home of Mr. William Robinson, the author of The English Flower Garden. Last April, the stonework, of which there is much, was a mass of the most wonderful purple aubretia, and the wild garden between the house and the water a paradise of daffodils.
The church of West Hoathly (called West Ho-ly), which stands high on the hill to the south, has a slender shingled spire that may be seen from long distances. The tower has, however, been injured by the very ugly new clock that has been lately fixed in a position doubtless the most convenient but doubtless also the least comely. To nail to such a delicate structure as West Hoathly church the kind of dial that one expects to see outside a railway station is a curious lapse of taste. Hever church, in Kent, has a similar blemish, probably dating from one of the recent Jubilee celebrations, which left few loyal villages the richer by a beautiful memorial. Surely it should be possible to obtain an appropriate clock-face for such churches as these.
West Hoathly has some iron tombstones, such as used to be cast in the old furnace days, which are not uncommon in these parts. Opposite the church is a building of great anti­quity, which has been allowed to forget its honourable age.
We are now on the fringe of the Sussex rock country, to which we come again in earnest when we reach Maresfield, and of which Tunbridge Wells is the capital. But not even Tunbridge Wells with its famous toad has anything to offer more remarkable than West Hoathly's " Big-on-Little," in the Rockhurst estate. I am tempted to quote two descriptions of the rock, from two very different points of view. An antiquary writing in the eighteenth century (quoted by Horsfield) thus begins his account:—" About half a mile west of West Hoadley church there is a high ridge covered with wood; the edge of this is a craggy cliff, composed of enormous blocks of sand
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