NEWHAVEN AS A CENTRE 155
The " gilded vane '" of Piddinghoe Church no doubt induced Kipling to introduce this hamlet into his " Sussex " :
" Where Piddinghoe's gilt dolphin veers, And where, beside wide-banked Ouse, Lie down our Sussex steers."
But Mr. Kipling is not correct, for the weather-vane is a fish !
This village, according to a local saying, is the place where they " shoe magpies." The meaning of this saying is obscure, but it tempts the suggestion that perhaps some Sussex wit was playing on the words " shoe" and " shoo." The other suggestion is that the land about here is so muddy that even the feathered inhabitants require footwear. Of course the village has been a famous nest of land-pirates and water-pirates on account of its seclusion, and for the same reason the villagers escaped the clutches of the press-gang. We have this fact commemorated in the old local rhyme :
" Englishmen fight, Frenchmen too ; We don't—we live at Piddinghoe."
Two other curious sayings connected with this hamlet are :
" At Piddinghoe they dig for moonshine." " At Piddinghoe they dig for smoke."