SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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first entry bearing the date of 1512. "A few years since as many as seventy 'virgins' garlands' hung in Alfriston Church at once" (Hare). Close by is a delightful pre-Reformation clergy house. Antiquaries are perhaps as concerned with the "Star" Inn, one of the most interesting in the south of England and dating from about 1490. The front of the house is covered with quaint carvings including St. George and the Dragon, a bear and ragged staff and what appears to be a lion. On each side of the doorway arc mitred saints conjectured to represent St. Julian and St. Giles. The inn is reputed to have been a place of sanctuary under Battle Abbey; it stands within the abbot's manor of Alciston and was undoubtedly the recognized hostel for pilgrims and mendicant friars. Another old inn, once a noted house of call for smugglers, is Market Cross House, opposite all that remains of the Cross, a mutilated and battered stump, and the only example, except that at Chichester, in the county.
Alfriston once had a race week, the course being on the side of Firle Beacon; in those days the resident population was probably greater than it is now. Not only were more souls crowded into the old houses still standing in the village street but tradition tells that the place was larger and more suited to its spacious old church which is now barely half filled on an ordinary Sunday.
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