History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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years since the late William Catt, Esq., proprietor of the extensive tide-mills in the adjoining parish of Bishopstone, —an energetic enterprising gentleman, who was the architect of his own fortune, and whose sons, emulating his worthy example, occupy prominent positions in Brighton and other parts of the county,—sought to stay the inroads of the sea by the blasting of a portion of the cliff, and the Government instructed military engineers to assist him in carrying out the project. The blasting was successful, but the object, that of raising a barrier against the sea, was defeated, the tides speedily sweeping away the debris. The chasm in the cliff, left by the explosion, is still visible. From this spot may be obtained a beautiful view of the bay and neighbourhood surrounding.
Wrecks were formerly very numerous on this coast, and in the early part of the present century several merchant vessels, under convoy of the "Harlequin, "a sloop of war, were wrecked here. The inhabitants of this part of Sussex and other places along the coast formerly bore an unenviable notoriety, owing to their rapacity whenever vessels were wrecked or stranded in the locality, all classes of the people being tainted with a propensity to commit depredations upon persons and cargoes cast upon their shores. In corroboration of the assertion, it is told that on a Sunday morning during the hours of Divine service in a neighbouring Parish Church, the preacher noticed, whilst delivering his sermon, an unusual stir among his congregation, and being familiar with the habits of those whom he was addressing, imagined the reason of the same, also espied a new arrival in the act of whispering to one of the Churchwardens the news that "there was a wreck on shore," informa­tion which was speedily conveyed to others present. With electrical rapidity the whole congregation were made acquainted with the same, and forthwith prepared
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