Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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built is a melancholy circumstance; but in the present case the vandalism had its compensation in the discovery by the excavating navvies of the coffins of William de Warenne and his wife Gundrada (the Conqueror's daughter), the founders of the priory, which otherwise would probably have been lost ever­more.
The castle, which dominates the oldest part of the town, is but a few minutes' stiff climb from the station ; Lewes's several ancient churches are within hailing distance of each other; the field of her battle, where Simon de Montfort defeated Henry III., is in view from her north-west slopes; while the new martyrs' memorial on the turf above the precipitous escarpment of the Cliffe (once the scene of a fatal avalanche) reminds one of what horrors were possible in the name of religion in these streets less than four hundred years ago.
Here are riches enough; yet Lewes adds to such mementoes of an historic past two gaols—one civil and one naval—a race­course, and a river, and she is an assize town to boot. Once, indeed, Lewes was still better off, for she had a theatre, which for some years was under the management of Jack Palmer, of whom Charles Lamb wrote with such gusto. Added to these possessions, she has, in Keere Street, the narrowest and steepest thoroughfare down which a king (George IV.) ever drove a coach and four, and a row of comfortable and serene residences (on the way to St. Ann's) more luxuriantly and beautifully covered with leaves than any I ever saw. (Much of Lewes in September is scarlet with Virginia creeper.)
Although less than half an hour from Brighton by train, and an hour by road, Lewes is yet a full quarter of a century behind it. She would do well jealously to maintain this interval. Lewes was old and grey before Brighton was thought of (indeed, it was, as we have seen, a Lewes man that dis­covered Brighton—Dr. Russell, who lies in his grave in South Mailing church); let her cling to her seniority. As a town
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