SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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to Bosham, certainly the most interesting relic of the past in West Sussex. Bosham (pron. Bozam) to-day seems existent solely in the interest of artists; it is certainly the most besketched place on the South Coast and is rarely, in fine weather, without one or more easels on its quiet quay. The best loved hours of the day for the painting or sketching fraternity—those of low tide, when every boat lies at a different angle—will be the most unpopular for the ordinary visitor, who will be eager for the friendly smoke-scented parlour of the inn as a refuge from the flavour of the malodorous flats; at low tide Bosham is certainly picturesque, at the full she is comely and clean.
The harbour, from British, through Roman, Saxon and Norman times to the later middle ages, was one of the principal entrances to and exits from this county. It was on several occasions harried by the Danes and, as depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry, Harold left here on that visit which was to have such dire consequences for himself and his line, and such untold results on the history of the nation-to-be. The great Emperor of the North—Knut—was a frequent visitor to the creek in his dragon-prowed barque. His palace, also the home of Earl Godwin and Harold, is supposed to have been on the northeast of the church, where a moat is still in existence. It is here that the incident recorded in every school reader, the historic rebuke to sycophantic courtiers, is said to have taken place.
The church is of venerable antiquity. The tower has certain indications which point to its being Saxon work. The chancel arch may be still older in its base, and some authorities suggest that the lower portions are actually the remains of the basilica erected in the time of Constantine, on the site of which the church now stands. The east portions of the chancel are Early English and once formed the chapel of a college founded by William Warlewaste, Bishop of Exeter (1120). Note the figure in the north wall, said to be that of the daughter of Knut who died here while on a visit to Earl Godwin. The effigy is, however, of much later date. The fine arcaded font is placed upon high steps against a column. At the east end of the south aisle the floor is raised over an Early English crypt or charnel-house, the entrance to which is close to a canopied tomb. This tomb is that of Herbert of Bosham, secretary to Becket, who wrote the Book of Becket's Martyrdom.
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