History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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25(5
they offered a large sum of money for the same, which offer was very naturally and prudently refused.
Proceeding onwards, crossing the Harbour by the shingle, in preference to Exceat Bridge, which is situated to the north, we arrive at the landing place of Crowlink, and shortly reach Birling Gap, — an opening in the Cliff taking its name from the village. An ancient gateway or stronghold formerly stood here, which was used in the wars, and as an entrance into the country,—and at this spot is the junction for the sub-marine telegraph between the capitals of England and France.
This Gap and its neighbourhood in years past was likewise the scene of many fearful shipwrecks ;—one in particular, that of the " Nympha," a Spanish prize, in the year 1747. This vessel was built entirely of cedar, and some of its timber used for the building of barns, &c, in the locality. Articles of furniture made of wood from the same wreck are still to be found in several houses at Seaford, Eastdean, &c, although, from the lapse of time, they are quite black in appearance. The following is copied from a rare print of the wreck in the author's possession :—
" ' The Nympha Americana' was taken by Commodore George Walker, Commander of the ' Royal Family Privateer,' near Cadiz, and carried first to Lisbon, thence to Ports­mouth, and after, in her passage to London, she was unfor­tunately wreck'd near Beachy Head, on the coast of Sussex, November y° 29th, 1747, at eleven o'clock at night. She was built chiefly of cedar, about 800 tons burthen, had ports for 60 guns; her lading consisted of superfine velvets, cloths, gold and silver laces, and almost every other kind of merchandize. She struck upon ye rocks, and left her bottom some distance from ye shore, which had parted at the rungs ; afterwards broke asunder in y° midships. The lore part overturn'd, by which accident 80 of the 180 men lhat were on board were drown'd. Her bottom could not be lound till December the 2 ith, from which was taken up, by
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