SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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The first view of Arundel as it is approached from the Worthing road or from the railway station is almost unique in England. Bridgnorth, the northern Richmond, Rye, all cities set on a hill, come to the mind for comparison, but none have the "foreign" look of Arundel; this is to a large extent helped by the towering church of St. Philip Neri; the apsidal end and the great height of the building in proportion to its length, appear more in keeping with northern France than southern England. The town, when one comes to close quarters with it, has a feudal air, and indeed this is as much a matter of fact as of fancy. Arundel is a survival, and depends for its existence on the magnificent home of the Howards which dominates domestically and ecclesiastically the town at its feet. The castle has the same relation to the pass of the Arun that Bramber and Lewes have to the Adur and Ouse, but the fact that it is still the ancestral home of an ancient and historic family gives it a far greater interest than either of the others possesses. The castle is mentioned in Domesday Book, and prior to this in the will of Alfred the Great. The earldom was given by the Conqueror to Roger of Montgomery; in addition to the castle and its immediate neighbourhood it comprised wide and rich possessions in the surrounding country. By their treason to the Crown the Montgomerys soon forfeited the estates and the Earldom passed through the hands of Queen Adeliza, and her son de Albrin, and then to the Fitz-Alans, who held it for over three hundred years. The daughter of the last Earl married the fourth Duke of Norfolk and this family have held it ever since. They have made it their principal home and have built in recent years the magnificent temple of the older faith which dwarfs and overshadows the parish church. This itself has felt the might of the great family who, as we shall presently see, imposed their will on the representatives of the Establishment.
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