Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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at Tyburn, and, in spite of all the influence that was brought to bear, he also was executed. The next Dacre of importance married the Lady Ann Fitzroy, a natural daughter of Charles II., and was made Earl of Sussex. Financial losses compelling him to sell Hurstmonceux, a lawyer named George Naylor bought it in 1708, leaving it, on his death, to the Right Rev. Francis Hare, Bishop of Chichester. It remained in the family as a residence until, in 1777, an architect pronounced it unsafe, and the interior was converted into materials for the new Hurstmonceux Place in the park to the north-west. Since then nature has had her way with it.
Horace Walpole's visit, as described in one of his letters, gives us an idea of Hurstmonceux in the middle of the eighteenth century, a little before it became derelict:—" The chapel is small, and mean ; the Virgin and seven long lean saints, ill done, remain in the windows. There have been four more, but they seem to have been removed for light; and we actually found St. Catherine, and another gentlewoman with a church in her hand, exiled into the buttery. There remain two odd cavities, with very small wooden screens on each side the altar, which seem to have been confessionals. The outside is a mixture of grey brick and stone, that has a very venerable appearance. The draw-bridges are romantic to a degree ; and there is a dungeon, that gives one a delightful idea of living in the days of soccage and under such goodly tenures. They showed us a dismal chamber which they called Drummer's-hall, and suppose that Mr. Addison's comedy is descended from it. In the windows of the gallery over the cloisters, which leads all round to the apartments, is the device of the Fienneses,.a wolf holding a baton with a scroll, Le roy le veut—an unlucky motto, as I shall tell you presently, to the last peer of that line. The estate is two thousand a year, and so compact as to have but seventeen houses upon it. We walked up a brave old avenue to the church, with ships sailing on our left hand the whole way."
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