SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

The local legend is almost too well known to bear repetition. The Sussex native has a dislike, probably derived from his remote ancestors, to refer directly to the Devil, so the story has it that the "Poor Man," becoming enraged at the number of churches built in the Weald, conceived the idea of drowning them by letting in the sea; he had half finished the great trench, being forced (like his remote prototype) to work at night, when an old lady, hearing the noise of digging, put her candle in a sieve and looked out of the window. The Devil took it for sunrise and disappeared, a very simple fiend indeed!
The view from the edge of the escarpment with Poynings just below to the right is very beautiful; away to the south-west is an eminence called "Thunder's Barrow," probably Thor's Barrow; at the lower end of the Dyke is the Devil's Punch Bowl, here are two more barrows "The Devil's Grave" and "The Devil's Wife's Grave."
A visit to Poynings (locally "Punnings") should be combined with this excursion; this is a really pleasant and, as yet, unspoilt village. One feels nervous for its future, but the good taste of the inhabitants, combined with the formidable barrier of the hills, will, it is hoped, prevent it ever becoming a mere congeries of tea gardens and like amenities. The fine cruciform church has a central tower and is Early Perpendicular; built by Baron de Poynings in the late fourteenth century it has many interesting details. Note the old thurible used as an alms box. The great south window was brought here from Chichester Cathedral. There is some good carved wood in the pulpit and rails. The ruins of Poynings Place, the one-time home of the Fitz-Rainalts, Barons of Poynings, may still be seen.
Newtimber Hill immediately east of the village is rarely visited and therefore is not rendered unsightly in the manner of the Dyke. The view is equally good and the Downs westward appear to even better advantage from this outlying
Previous Contents Next