Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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382                                          SUPERSTITIONS                                    chap.
are now, indeed, well in the heart of the fatiguing country which we touched at Mayfield, where one eminence is painfully won only to reveal another. One can be as parched on a road in the Sussex hop country as in the Arabian desert. The eye, however, that is tired of hop poles and hills can find sweet gratification in the cottages. Sussex has charming cottages from end to end of her territory, but I think the hop district on the Kentish side has some of the prettiest. Black­berries too may be set down among the riches of the sand-hill villages.
In Richard Jefferies' essay, " The Country-side : Sussex" (in Field and Hedgeroiv), describing this district of the country, is an amusing passage touching superstitions of these parts, picked up during hopping :
" In and about the kiln I learned that if you smash a frog with a stone, no matter how hard you hit him, he cannot die till sunset. You must be careful not to put on any new article of clothing for the first time on a Saturday, or some severe punish­ment will ensue. One person put on his new boots on a Saturday, and on Monday broke his arm. Some still believe in herbs, and gather wood-betony for herb tea, or eat dandelion leaves between slices of dry toast. There is an old man living in one of the villages who has reached the age of a hundred and sixty years, and still goes hop-picking. Ever so many people had seen him, and knew all about him; an undoubted fact, a public fact; but I could not trace him to his lair. His exact whereabouts could not be fixed. I live in hopes of finding him in some obscure ' Hole' yet (many little hamlets are ' Holes,' as Froghole, Foxhole). What an exhibit for London ! Did he realise his own value, he would soon come forth. I joke, but the existence of this antique person is firmly believed in."
Burwash is one of the few Sussex villages that has been made the subject of a book. The Rev. John Coker Eger-ton's Sussex Folk and Sussex Ways (from which I have already
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