History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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across, hang two horse-hair nooses ; the victims, timid by nature to the last degree, and with the view of shunning even the shadows of passing clouds upon the grass, hop along the angular cut at the bottom of the trench, which is several inches deep, and are snared in passing under the fatal covering. These traps, ranged in great numbers, —at equal distances, though several yards asunder,—along the ridges of the Downs, look not much unlike small artillery; and their form, being in the rude shape of a cross, might, in ancient times, have been adopted by direc­tion of the Romisli priests, to supply the shepherds and way-faring travellers with frequent objects of devotion. At stated times in the day, the snarers go round and collect their captives. When the season is over they put their sods in their former places ; and time, that grand restorer as well as destroyer, cures all.
The old County Gaol is situated in the centre of the town of Lewes, but has for many years ceased to be the prison-house of criminals. During the Crimean war it was occupied by Eussian prisoners, who were visited by hundreds of persons, many of whom became purchasers from them of their skilfully-made boxes, puzzles, &c, fashioned from wood during their bondage. The Gaol is now used as a Naval Prison.
The New Gaol, erected a few years since, is of an extensive character. It is situated at the western entrance of Lewes, on the turnpike road from Brighton. Towards its erection Brighton contributed a large quota, a short time since entering into an agreement with the authorities to maintain its prisoners for a number of years, whether under committal or otherwise. The Assizes are held at the County Hall—a conspicuous structure in the heart of the town.
It will not be out of place here to mention that Lewes is the centre of a good hunting district and within three miles of the kennels of the South Down Foxhounds,
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