History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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Lindfield, &c, into the main road at Reigate; and another road by way of Saddlescombe, Poynings, Henfield, Horsham, &c.; but the one most frequented at this period was by way of the upper road leading to Old Shoreham, passing Goldstone Bottom, and onward to Bramber Gorge, as it was then termed, the main road leading to Beeding Hill, diverting from the Old Shoreham Road some little distance westward of Southwick Mill, and crossing the river at Bramber Bridge, through Steyning, Horsham, Dorking, Epsom, &c, to London; the distance being 56 miles.
Subsequently a new and more direct road was made — reducing the distance to 54 miles, — via Preston, Cuckfield, Crawley, Reigate, Tooting, Clapham, &c, and, before the cutting of Clayton Hill, ran close by the east side of Piecombe Church; and the outlay for this improve­ment caused a serious diversity of opinion amongst the trustees for its management which led to the formation of a new road from Piecombe, through Albourne, Hickstead, &c, to avoid hills, and shortening the distance to London by two miles—lessening the distance to 52 miles,—the same was opened on the 28th of June, 1810.
In 1745, " The Flying Machine," as it was termed, left the Old Ship Inn (in summer) at 5.30 a.m., and reached London the same evening; and, if we take into consideration the then state of the roads, which were, generally speaking,—especially in the winter, almost impassable, it must have been a great achievement. The general mode of travelling was by pack-horses, conse­quently the summer was the only period available to the visitors.
The high roads of Sussex had an unenviable notoriety for their inferiority. It is recorded that on one occasion Charles II. paid a visit to the Duke of Northumberland, at Petworth House (then the residence of the Percys): the vehicle in which he rode was capsized no less
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