378 BODIAM CASTLE chap.
being written : " I John Bishop of Exeter know not where the aforesaid house is; nor did I steal this book, but acquired it in a lawful way." On the suppression of the Abbey of Robertsbridge by Henry VIII. the lands passed to Sir William Sidney, grandfather of Sir Philip.
Salehurst, just across the river from Robertsbridge, has a noble church, standing among trees on the hill side—the hill which Walpole found so precipitous. Within, the church is not perhaps quite so impressive as without, but it has monuments appertaining probably to the Culpepers, once a far-reaching aristocratic Sussex family, which we met first at Ardingly, and which is now extinct or existent only among the peasantry.
The first station on the Rother valley light railway is Bodiam, only a few steps from Bodiam Castle sitting serenely like a bird on the waters of her moat. This building in appearance and form fulfils most of the conditions of the castle, and by retaining water in its moat perhaps wins more respect than if it had stood a siege. (Local tradition indeed credits it with that mark of active merit, but history is silent.) It was built in the fourteenth century by Sir Edward Dalyngruge, a hero of Cressy and Poictiers. It is now a ruin within, but (as Mr. Griggs' drawing shows) externally in fair preservation and a very interesting and romantic spectacle.
Below Bodiam is Ewhurst, and a little farther east, close to the Kentish border, Northiam. Ewhurst has no particular interest, but Northiam is a village apart. Knowing what we do of Sussex speech we may be certain that Northiam is not pronounced by the native as it is spelt. Norgem is its local style, just as Udiham is Udgem and Bodiam Bodgem But though he will not give Northiam its pleasant syllables, the Northiam man is proud of his village. He has a couplet:
Oh rare Northiam, thou dost far exceed Beckley, Peasmarsh, Udimore and Brede.
Northiam's superiority to these pleasant spots is not absolute ;