Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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374
BREDE PLACE
CHAP.
named William Pattison, in whose works I have failed to find anything of interest.
The two most interesting spots in the hilly country immedi­ately north of the Brede valley (north of Winchelsea) are Udimore and Brede. Concerning Udimore church, which externally has a family resemblance to that of Steyning,.it is told that it was originally planned to rise on the other side of the little river Ree. The builders began their work, but every night saw the supernatural removal of the stones to the present site, while a mysterious voice uttered the words "O'er the mere ! O'er the mere !" Hence, says the legend, the present position of the fane, and the beautiful name Udimore, or " O'er the mere," which, of course, becomes Uddymer among the villagers.
From Udimore one reaches Brede by turning off the high road about two miles to the east. But it is worth while to keep to the road a little longer, and entering Gilly Wood (on the right) explore as wild and beautiful a ravine as any in the county. And, on the Brede by-road, it is worth while also to turn aside again in order to see Brede Place. This house, like all the old mansions (it is of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries), is set in a hollow, and is sufficiently gloomy in appearance and surroundings to lend colour to the rumour that would have it haunted—a rumour originally spread by the smugglers who for some years made the house their headquarters. An underground passage is said to lead from Brede Place to the church, a good part of a mile distant; but as is usual with underground passages, the legend has been held so dear that no one seems to have ventured upon the risk of disproving it. Amid these medieval surroundings the late Stephen Crane, the American writer, conceived some of his curiously modern stories.
One of the original owners (the Oxenbridges) like Col. Lunsford of East Hoathly was credited by the country people with an appetite for children Nothing could compass
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