The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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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.
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