Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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CH. xxviii VAGARIES OF PRONUNCIATION                      265
one of the judges of the Sussex martyrs, but who, even Foxe admits, exercised courtesy to them. Sir Edward's son, Sir John Gage, was the second husband of the Lady Penelope D'Arcy, Mr. Hardy's heroine, whose portrait we saw at Parham : who, being courted as a girl by Sir George Trenchard, Sir John Gage, and Sir William Hervey, promised she would marry all in turn, and did so. Sir George left her a widow at seventeen ; to Sir John Gage she bore nine children.
Returning from Firle to the high road, we come next, by following for a little a left turn, to Selmeston, the village where Mr. W. D. Parish, the rector for very many years, collected most of the entertaining examples of the Sussex dialect with which I have made so free in a later chapter. The church is very simple and well-cared for, with some pretty south windows. The small memorial tablets of brass which have been let into the floor symmetrically among the tiles seem to me a happier means of commemoration than mural tablets,—at least for a modest building such as this.
In losing your way in this neighbourhood do not ask the passer-by for Selmeston, but for Simson ; for Selmeston, pro­nounced as spelt, does not exist. Sussex men are curiously intolerant of the phonetics of orthography. Brighthelmstone was called Brighton from the first, although only in the last century was the spelling modified to agree with the sound. Chalvington (the name of a village north of Selmeston) is a pretty word, but Sussex declines to call it other than Chawton. Firle becomes Furrel; Lewes is almost Lose, but not quite; Heathfield is Hefful. It is characteristic of a Sussex man that he always knows best; though all the masters of all the colleges should assemble about him and speak reasoningly of Selmeston he would leave the congress as incorrigible and self-satisfied a Simsonian as ever.
Many years ago Selmeston churchyard possessed an empty tomb, in which the smugglers were wont to store their goods until a favourable time came to set them on the road. Any objec-
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