THE PROUD JEFFERAYS
Hoathly's over-decorated yet accessible fane that could be imagined. Its door is not only kept shut, but a special form of locked bar seems to have been invented for it, and on the day that I was last there the churchyard gate was padlocked too. The spire of white stone (visible for many miles)—a change from the customary oak shingling of Sussex—has been bound with iron chains that suggest the possibility of imminent dissolution, while within, the building is gloomy and time-stained. If at East Hoathly the church gives the impression of a too complacent prosperity, here we have precisely the reverse. The state of the Jefferay monument behind a row of rude railings is in keeping.
In the Jefferay monument, by the way, the statues at either side stand on two circular tablets, which are not unlike the yellow cheeses of Alkmaar. It was possibly this circumstance that led to the myth that the Jefferays, too proud to walk on the ground, had on Sundays a series of cheeses ranged between their house and the church, on which to step. Their house was Chiddingly Place, built by Sir John Jefferay, who died in 1577. Remains of this great mansion are still to be seen. It was during Sir John's time that Chiddingly had a vicar, William Titelton, sufficiently flexible to retain the living under Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth.
Here, in the eighteenth century, lived one William Elphick, a devotee of bell-ringing, who computed that altogether he had rung Chiddingly's triple bell for 8,766 hours (which is six hours more than a year), and who travelled upwards of ten thousand miles to ring the bells of other churches.
Mark Antony Lower, most interesting of the Sussex archaeologists, to whom these pages have been much indebted, was born at Chiddingly in 1813.
Mr. Egerton in his Sussex Folk and Sussex Ways tells a story of a couple down Chiddingly way who agreed upon a very satisfactory system of danger signals when things were not quite well with either of them. Whenever the husband came