SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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Before the erection of the Belle Tout Light wrecks off the Head were of frequent occurrence and many are the tales of gallant fight and hopeless loss told by the coast dwellers here. "Parson Darby's Hole" under the Belle Tout is said to have been made by the vicar of East Dean (1680) as a refuge for castaways. We can but hope that his parishioners were as humane, but the probability is that the parson's efforts were looked on askance by his flock, who gained a prosperous livelihood by the spoils of the shore; and perhaps this feeling gave rise to the unkind fable that the cave was made as a refuge from Mrs. Darby's tongue.
"Sussex men that dwell upon the shore Look out when storms arise and billows roar; Devoutly praying with uplifted hands That some well-laden ship may strike the sands. To whose rich cargo they may make pretence."
The fine carriage-road which leaves Beachy Head leads directly into Eastbourne and is called the Duke's Drive. It was owing to the initiative of the grandfather of the present Duke of Devonshire, whose local seat is at Compton Place on the west of the town that the little hamlet of Sea Houses became the present beautiful and fashionable resort, with a sea-front of nearly three miles of gardens backed by hotels, boarding-houses and schools. As at Folkestone, education is here a strong feature, and a few years ago demure files of young ladies with attendant dragon taking the air between breakfast and study might have been seen. The epoch-ending events of the last few years, however, appear to have killed the "caterpillar."
Eastbourne seems to have carefully pushed its workers, together with the gasworks, market gardens, and other utilitarian features round the screen of Splash Point. The boulevards going west and north are full of fine houses and brilliant shops and are lined with well grown trees. The continuation of Terminus Road will take us in a little over a mile to the old town; here is the parish church, mostly Transitional, and with many interesting features which should on no account be missed. Note the oak screen in the chancel; sedilia and piscina; also an Easter sepulchre. There is some old Flemish glass in the east window of the nave aisle; that of the chancel is modern but good. Near the church is a
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