SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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towns both on the coast and on the roads leading to the capital.
Lower has recorded many interesting facts about the long war between the revenue officers and the natives, relieved at all times by the unfailing humour of the law-breakers, who took a keen delight in fooling the exciseman. It was but infrequently that real tragedy took place; considering the times, and the manner of those times, the records of Sussex are fairly clean. Such brutal murders as that of Chater in 1748, which crime was expiated at Chichester, were rare. The professionals were nearly all men of substance and standing in the land. The marine smuggler was of course a separate breed whose adventures and danger were of a different sort and, despite the glamour of the sea, of much less interest and excitement; on the other hand most of the inhabitants of such places as Alfriston had one or more of the male members of the family engaged in the trade, and many are the houses which still have secret vaults and chambers for the reception of the goods, chiefly wine, brandy, silk and tea. Most of the churches between Seaford and Lewes have at one time or another proved convenient temporary storage places, and on more than one occasion Sunday service has had to be suspended, on one excuse or another, until the building could be cleared of its congregation of tubs. Lower records that at Selmeston the smugglers actually used an altar tomb as a store for spirits, always leaving a tub for the parson.
Seaford in its new rôle as a holiday resort has a serious obstacle to surmount; the only sea "front" possible is a wide shingle beach separated from the old town by a nondescript stretch of sandy desert; when and if this is filled in or converted into a garden the town should prosper exceedingly, for it has great natural attractions in Seaford Head which rises to the east and in the glorious Down walks within easy distance. In actual distance by rail it is, next to Brighton, the nearest South Coast resort to London and without doubt has a successful future before it. It is but little over two miles to the Cuckmere valley past the Roman camp and over the Head. The views of the "Seven Sisters" and on to Beachy Head from this point are very fine, and the great cliff itself, though much lower, is almost as interesting as the Eastbourne height. For one thing the wild life of the precipice is more easily studied, the crowds which on most summer days throng the more popular Head are not met with here. The writer has spent a June morning quite alone but for the myriad birds wheeling around and scolding at his presumption in being there at all.
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