Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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302
ROTHERFIELD
CHAP.
the key to its best moorland country. Since Crowborough's normal visitor either plays golf or is contented with a very modest radius, the more adventurous walker may quickly be in the solitudes.
In the little stone house below the forge Richard Jefferies lived for some months at the end of his life.
Crowborough is crowned by a red hotel which can never pass into the landscape; Rotherfield, its companion hill on the east, on the other side of the Jarvis Brook valley, is surmounted by a beautiful church with a tall shingled spire, that must have belonged to the scene from the first. This spire darts up from the edge of the forest ridge like a Pharos for the Weald of Kent. The church was dedicated to St. Denis of Paris by a Saxon chieftain who was cured of his ills by a pilgrimage to the Saint's monastery. That was in 792. In the present church, which retains the dedication, is an ancient mural painting representing the martyrdom of St. Lawrence. There is also a Burne-Jones window.
Were it not for Rotherfield both Sussex and Kent would lack some of their waterways, for the Rother and the Ouse rise here, and also the Medway. A local saying credits the women of Rotherfield with two ribs more than the men, to account for their superior height.
Under a hedge half-way between Rotherfield and Jarvis Brook grow the largest cowslips in Sussex, as large as cowslips may be without changing their sex. But this is all cowslip country—from the field of Rother to the field of Uck. And it is the land of the purple orchis too, the finest blooms of which are to be found on the road between Rotherfield and Mayfield; but you must scale a fence to get them, because (like all the best wild flowers) they belong to the railway. ;
Between Rotherfield and Mayfield is a little hill, trim and conical as though Miss Greenaway had designed it, and perfect in deportment, for it has (as all little conical hills should have) a white windmill on its top. Around the mill is a circular track
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