Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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xxxvin                    THE SANGUINARY BUTCHER                         367
What greater gryffe may hape Trew lovers to anoye, Then absente for to sepratte them From ther desiered joye ?
What comforte reste them then To ease them of ther smarte, But for to thincke and myndful bee Of them they love in harte ?
And eicke that they assured bee Etche toe another in harte, That nothinge shall them seperate Untylle deathe doe them parte ?
And thoughe the dystance of the place Doe severe us in twayne, Yet shall my harte thy harte imbrace Tyll we doe meete agayne.
The church, the largest in Sussex, dominates Rye from every point, and so tightly are the houses compressed that from the plain the spire seems to be the completion not only of the church but of the town too. The building stands in what is perhaps the quietest and quaintest church square in England, possessing beyond all question the discreetest of pawnbroker's shops, marked by three brass balls that positively have charm. The church is cool and spacious, with noble plain windows (and one very pretty little one by Burne-Jones), and some very interesting architectural features. Too little care seems, however, to have been spent upon it at some previous time. The verger shows with a pride little short of pro­prietary a mahogany altar said to have been taken from one of the vessels of the Armada (and therefore oddly inappro­priate for a Church of England service), and the tomb of one Alan Grebell, who, happening one night in 1742 to be wearing the cloak of his brother-in-law the Mayor, was killed in mistake for him by a "sanguinary butcher" named Breeds. Breeds, who was hanged in chains for his crime, remains perhaps the most famous figure in the history of Rye.
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