SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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A short way farther, on the main road, is a turning to West Firle, on the east of which is the fine Firle Park belonging to the Gage's, a very ancient local family whose tombs and brasses may be seen in the church. The pedestrian is advised to press on to Firle Beacon from which a descent may be made to Alciston (pronounced "Aston") on the high road. The heap of flints on the summit of the Beacon is 718 feet above the sea, and therefore the hill is not so high as it looks, nor is it, as was formerly supposed to be the case, the second highest summit of the Downs. The view is superb both northwards to the Weald and southwards over the Channel. Alciston calls for little comment, the charm of the place consists in its air of remoteness and peace. The small church is partly Norman, and in the walls of Court House Farm are the remains of a religious house. Note the ancient barn and dovecote. A mile to the north is another little hamlet called "Simson," and spelt Selmeston. The curious wooden pillars in the church were fortunately untouched when the building was restored. The old altar slab has five crosses, and there are one or two interesting brasses.
Berwick is a scattered village on the western slopes of the Cuckmere valley; the Early English church is embowered in trees on a spur of the Downs; there is a fine canopied tomb in the chancel, an old screen and an uncommon type of font built in the wall. Note the eloquent epitaph to a former rector.
Half a mile farther is a turning on the right that passes Winton Street, where, a few years ago, there was a rich find of Anglo-Saxon antiquities. In two miles this
byway reaches Alfriston. ("All-friston.") The church has a very common legend associated with it; the foundations are said to have been again and again removed by supernatural agency from another site to the spot where the solemn and stately old building now stands. It is a Perpendicular cruciform church and has an Easter sepulchre and three sedilia. The register is said to be the oldest in England, its
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