SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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the building is of brick. The southern entrance, by which we approach, is the most imposing part of the ruin. We enter by a wooden bridge across the moat; this replaces the drawbridge. In the recessed chamber behind the central arch a ghostly drum was sometimes heard, and the supernatural drummer was supposed to guard hidden treasure. This legend was made good use of by the smuggling fraternity, the thumping of an empty keg being sufficient to scare away inconvenient visitors. Within the walls we are in a wilderness of broken brickwork covered with an enormous growth of ivy. Notice the great oven, and the ruins of the private chapel on the north side. The circuit of the walls should be made as far as is practicable; the magnificent row of Spanish chestnuts is much admired.
The story of the demolition of Hurstmonceux is unhappy reading; the act of vandalism for which the architect Wyatt was officially responsible seems to have been prompted by family spite.
The church is of great interest. The Dacre chantry and the splendid tomb of Thomas Fiennes, Lord Dacre, must be noticed; also a brass of Sir William Fiennes, 1405. The association of the place with the Hares, who are buried under the yew in the churchyard, although of recent date is nevertheless of much interest. The property and the living, which passed in 1855, came to the family through George Naylor of Lincoln's Inn, who bought them in 1708.
Near the church stands a fine fourteenth-century barn. The village is remarkable for a local industry—the making of "trug" baskets for the carriage of fruit.
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