Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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CH. XXXV1
THE ADMIRAL'S MOTHER
34i
this town; and from a stately seaport she has become a democratic watering place. Beneath the waves lie the remains of an old Priory and possibly of not a few churches.
Hastings has been very nigh to history more than once, but she has escaped the actual making of it. Even the great battle that takes its name from the town was fought seven miles away, while the Duke of Normandy, as we have seen, landed as far distant as Pevensey, ten miles in the west. But he used Hastings as a victualling centre. Again and again, in its time, Hastings has been threatened with invasion by the French, who did actually land in 1138 and burned the town. And one Sunday morning in 1643, Colonel Morley of Glynde, the Parliamentarian, marched in with his men and confiscated all arms. But considering its warlike mien, Hastings has done little.
Nor can the seaport claim any very illustrious son. Titus Oates, it is true, was curate of All Saints church in 1674, his father being vicar; and among the inhabitants of the old town was the mother of Sir Cloudesley Shovel, the admiral. A charming account of a visit paid to her by her son is given in De la Prynne's diary : " I heard a gentleman say, who was in the ship with him about six years ago, that as they were sailing over against the town of Hastings, in Sussex, Sir Cloudesley called out, ' Pilot, put near ; I have a little busi­ness on shore.' So he put near, and Sir Cloudesley and this gentleman went to shore in a small boat, and having walked about half a mile, Sir Cloudesley came to a little house [in All Saints Street], ' Come,' says he, ' my business is here ; I came on purpose to see the good woman of this house.' Upon this they knocked at the door, and out came a poor old woman, upon which Sir Cloudesley kissed her, and then falling down on his knees, begged her blessing, and calling her mother (who had removed out of Yorkshire hither). He was mightily kind to her, and she to him, and after that he had made his visit,
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