The route now follows the coast road from Newhaven westwards. From the Portobello coastguard station, four miles from Newhaven Bridge, a road runs across the downs to the beautiful little village of Telscombe, nestling in a secluded combe in the heart of the hills; by-roads and footpaths also lead here by delightful ways from Southease and Piddinghoe. The church is old and interesting, quite unspoilt by any attempt at restoration; note the beautiful font on a marble platform.
Both here and at Rottingdean the artificial height of the churchyard above the surrounding land will be noticed. Cobbett's explanation for this is the obvious but rather gruesome one that dust added to dust has more than doubled the contents of the consecrated ground. From the comparative heights of the enclosure the author of Rural Rides reckoned the age of the building, a method which made a greater appeal to him than the rule of Norman round or English point.
Rottingdean has lately made a name for itself by reason of its modern literary associations. Its connexion with William Black and Rudyard Kipling is well known. Cardinal Manning and Bulwer Lytton both attended a once celebrated school kept here by Dr. Hooker. Edward Burne-Jones has left a lasting memorial of his association with the place in the beautiful east window of the church which was designed and presented by the artist. Certain columns in the walls point to the existence of a Saxon building of which these are the remains. Notice the effect of the tower in its unusual position between chancel and nave.
The village has a deserved place in the national history, as the following account will show:—
"In 1377 Hastings was burnt by the French, who also attempted to burn Winchelsea, but were foiled. They also attacked Rye, where they landed from five vessels. After plundering and setting it on fire they went away, leaving the town desolate. They landed at Rottingdean, advanced over the Downs with the design of laying waste Lewes, but in this were disappointed by the valour of John de Cariloce, Prior of Lewes, Sir Thomas Cheney, Constable of Dover Castle, Sir John Falsley, and others, who upon apprisal of it, hastened their vassals, and were joined by a number of peasantry, who boldly ascended the Downs, resolved to