Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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CHAPTER XXXV
PEVENSEY AND HURSTMONCEUX
A well-behaved castle—Rail and romance—Britons, Romans, Saxons and Normans at Pevensey—William the Conqueror—A series of sieges— The first English letter—Andrew Borde, the jester, again—Pevensey gibes —A red brick castle—Hurstmonceux church—The tomb of the Dacres.— Two Hurstmonceux clerics—The de Fiennes and the de Monceux—A spacious home—The ghost—The unfortunate Lord Dacre—Horace Walpole at Hurstmonceux—The trug industry.
Pevensey Castle behaves as a castle should : it rises from the plain, the only considerable eminence for miles; it has noble grey walls of the true romantic hue and thickness ; it can be seen from the sea, over which it once kept guard; it has a history rich in assailants and defenders. There is indeed nothing in its disfavour except the proximity of the railway, which has been allowed to pass nearer the ruin than dramatic fitness would dictate. Let it, however, be remembered that the railway through the St. Pancras Priory at Lewes led to the dis­covery of the coffins of William de Warenne and Gundrada, and also that, in Mr. Kipling's phrase, romance, so far from being at enmity with the iron horse, "brought up the 9.15."
Pevensey, which is now divided from the channel by marshy fields with nothing to break the flatness but Martello towers (thirteen may be counted from the walls), was, like Bramber Castle in the west, now also an inland stronghold, once washed and surrounded by the sea. The sea probably covered all the ground as far inland as Hailsham—Pevensey, Horseye, Rickney
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