18 THE SUSSEX COAST
visited it and is supposed to have called it Little London,* because it so exactly resembled the metropolis (back-handed compliment indeed!); it supplied a vessel to fight the Spanish Armada; Cavalier and Roundhead struggled strenuously for its possession; one of the regicides was a respected citizen; after the Restoration troops were wanted to secure its acquiescence in that, to Carlyle, mournfulest event; Monmouth was heartily welcomed by its people. A famous eighteenth-century poet lived most of his life within its walls.! The first man ever killed in a railway accident has his memorial in its mother church.} The history of England is with us as we wander through the streets of the old capital of South Saxony. No upstart city, no town that could be built in a day!
Four streets leading to its centre from the gates that no longer exist cut the city into four portions and mark it with the sign of the cross; they are called after the four quarters of heaven. Hors-field, the historian of Sussex (1835), is perfectly correct in his sage remark, " of the antiquity of the town no doubt can be entertained!"
The site of the city is but a few feet above the level of the sea, perhaps when chosen it was as near the harbour as was possible for the inhabitants to get and still keep dry. The Lavant (which Holinshed calls the Deel), whose intermittent waters evidently come largely from a siphon-acting reservoir under the Downs, seems to have divided its stream so as to surround the site of the ancient entrenchment, and perhaps influenced its shape; except on the north-east the
* A street still bears the name, t William Collins, 1721-1759.
+ William Huskisson, 1770-1830, the well-known statesman.