SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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West Tarring was once a market town and several good specimens of medieval and Tudor domestic architecture still exist. It was once a "peculiar" of the Archbishops of Canterbury, and the remains of the archiepiscopal palace may be seen in the school house on the east of the church. In the rectory orchard close by is the
"columbarium," or all that is left of it. Becket is said to have occupied the palace. The celebrated fig orchard is supposed to have been raised from slips planted by him, though another story has it that the original planter was St. Richard. The present orchard is of much interest and dates from the year of the "forty-five," though it can well be believed that some of the trees are older; the venerable patriarch in the centre is known as "St. Thomas," but this is of course impossible. A most remarkable occurrence takes place annually at the ripening of the fruit; a small bird similar to, if not identical with the Beccafico ("Figeater") of Italy visits the orchards here and at Sompting, stays a few weeks and then departs until the next season; it is seen in no other part of England.
There is a choice of roads between Worthing and Arundel: that which keeps to the low lands has been partly traversed in the journey to West Ferring.
About two miles east of this village, and close to Angmering station, are the twin villages of East and West Preston; the former has a Norman and Transitional church with one of the four stone spires in Sussex. At Rustington, a mile farther, is a more interesting Early English church with a Transitional tower. Note the ancient sculpture in the north transept, also the squint and rood-loft steps. This village is but a short distance from Littlehampton, which may be approached by the shore road.
The country about here seen from the flats appears to be thickly wooded, an effect that is produced by the screen of tall trees in every hedgerow, untouched until time levels them, in return for their protection of the growing crops from the searching sea winds which sweep across the level fields to the Downs. Vegetation here has a different aspect from that on the other side of the wall of hills. In May and early June one may come from the tender green of the
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