Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search



Share page  



Previous Contents Next


336                            THE OLD SPACIOUSNESS                        chap.
Dacre of Hurstmonceux, who died in 1534, and Sir Thomas Dacre his son, surmounted by life-size stone figures, each in full armour, with hands proudly raised, and each resting his feet against the Fiennes wolf-dog.
In the churchyard is the grave of Julius Hare, once vicar of Hurstmonceux, and the author, with his brother Augustus, of Guesses at Truth. Carlyle's John Sterling was Julius Hare's first curate here.
Hurstmonceux Castle was once the largest and handsomest of all the commoners' houses in the county. Sir Roger de Fiennes, a descendant of the John de Fiennes who married Maude, last of the de Monceux, in the reign of Edward II., built it in 1440. Though the Manor house of the de Monceux, on the site of the present castle, lacked the imposing qualities of Roger de Fiennes' stronghold, it was hospitable, spacious, and luxurious. Edward the First spent a night there in 1302. One of the de Monceux was on the side of de Montfort in the Battle of Lewes, and the first of them to settle in England married Edith, daughter of William de Warenne and Gundrada, of Lewes Castle.
How thorough and conscientious were the workmen employed by Roger de Fiennes, and how sound were their bricks and mortar, may be learned by the study of Hurstmonceux Castle to-day. In many parts the walls are absolutely uninjured except by tourists. The floors, however, have long since returned to nature, who has put forth her energies without stint to clothe the old apartments with greenery. Ivy of astonishing vigour grows here, populous with jackdaws, and trees and shrubs spring from the least likely spots.
The castle in its old completeness was, practically, a little town. From east to west its walls measured 2 06 \ feet, from north to south, 214 J; within them on the ground floor were larders, laundries, a brewhouse, a bakehouse, cellars, a dairy, offices, a guard room, pantries, a distillery, a confectionery room, a chapel, and, beneath, a dungeon. Between these
Previous Contents Next