SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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Ollive and in due time succeeding to her father's business of tobacconist. The house has already been noticed, it bears a memorial tablet and also a very quaint carved demon. It is just off the High Street and near St. Michael's Church. Lewes cannot claim the honour of seeing the birth of The Rights of Man (a rather dubious honour in those days); the book was written while Paine stayed with his biographer, Thomas Rickman the bookseller, in London.
Another famous resident of Lewes was John Evelyn, who spent a great part of his schooldays in the Grammer School at Southover. Here also was educated John Pell, the famous mathematician.
A house at the end of the town on the Newhaven road belonged to the Shelleys, and Dr. Johnson once stayed here on his way to the Thrales in Brighton.
The old "Star" Inn has been converted into municipal offices, but the fine front still remains and most of the old work in the interior. In the tower close by, in the Market-place, is "Great Gabriel," a bell dating, it is said, from the time of Henry III. Lower has the following lines on the bells of Lewes:
"Oh, happy Lewes, waking or asleep, With faithful hands your time archangels keep! St. Michael's voice the fleeting hour records, And Gabriel loud repeats his brother's words; While humble Cliffites, ruled by meaner power, By Tom the Archbishop regulate their hour."
It was hereabouts that a great burning of heretics took place in 1557. Among the honoured names recorded upon the Martyr's Memorial is that of Richard Woodman, ironmaster, of Warbleton, whose protests against his pastor's weathercock attitude during the Marian persecutions resulted in the stake. The memorial perpetuates the names of sixteen persons who suffered the fiery death at this time. The consequence is that the zeal of the townsmen on the 5th of November is Orange in its fervour, and the streets are given up to various "fireworks" clubs whose members have been subscribing their spare shillings for months past. Crowds ascend Saxon Down and the surrounding hills to see the display from a distance; still greater crowds throng the streets to watch the destruction in effigy of some unpopular local or national celebrity. Of the Down land walks we have mentioned the most interesting, by reason of its fine views of the town, is to Cliffe Hill. An extension may be made to Saxon Down, a glorious expanse of wind-swept hill; and farther on to the conical Mount Caburn, with magnificent marine views; from this point a descent may be made to Glynde, which will be described presently.
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