Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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a little in the course of time, the alternate heat and cold of summers and winters that make centuries. Up to this beam the lower wall is built of brick set to curve of the timber, from which circumstance it would appear to be a modern insertion. The beam, we may be sure, was straight originally, and the bricks have been fitted to the curve which it subse­quently took. Time, no doubt, ate away the lower work of wood, and necessitated the insertion of new materials. The slight curve of the great beam adds, I think, to the interest of the old place, for it is a curve that has grown and was not premeditated; it has grown like the bough of a tree, not from any set human design. This, too, is the character of the house. It is not large, nor overburdened with gables, not ornamental, nor what is called striking, in any way, but simply an old English house, genuine and true. The warm sunlight falls on the old red tiles, the dark beams look the darker for the glow of light, the shapely cone of the hop-oast rises at the end; there are swallows and flowers, and ricks and horses, and so it is beautiful because it is natural and honest. It is the simplicity that makes it so touching, like the words of an old ballad. Now at Mayfield there is a timber house which is something of a show place, and people go to see it, and which certainly has many more lines in its curves and woodwork, but yet did not appeal to me, because it seemed too purposely ornamental. A house designed to look well, even age has not taken from its artificiality. Neither is there any cone nor cart-horses about. Why, even a tall chanticleer makes a home look homely. I do like to see a tall proud chanticleer strutting in the yard and barely giving way as I advance, almost ready to do battle with a stranger like a mastiff. So I prefer the simple old home by Buckhurst Park." The forest of which Ashdown Forest was a part extended once in unbroken sombre density from Kent to Hampshire, a distance of 120 miles. It was known to the Romans as SyLva Anderida, giving its name to Anderida (or Pevensey) on
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