The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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20                    THE SUSSEX COAST
stream may have been close to the works, which enclose a most irregular circle. From the present character of the defences it seems that the Celtic (or possibly pre-Celtic) earthwork still remains, faced with masonry towards the open country by the Romans. At intervals they buttressed it with their characteristic apsidal towers for enfilading fire, several of which remain. Thus towards the outside the walls present solid masonry, mostly of flint; towards the city grass-grown slopes. This arrangement may also be found in the purely Roman city walls, rectangular in form, at Camulo-dunum (Colchester) and Venta Icenorum (Caistor St. Edmund), while at Pompeii in place of an earthen slope are continuous steep steps formed by each course of stonework receding from that below. Though the position of the Celto-Roman defences has not been interfered with (for it never became necessary, as at York and Lincoln, to in­crease the area enclosed), by far the greater part of the existing masonry is probably mediaeval. In 1339, for instance, the walls underwent some sort of restoration, the Bishop, Dean and Chapter repair­ing the parts that skirted their respective dwell­ings ; but this work would appear not to have been very thoroughly done, for in 1377-1378 the King granted licence to the mayor and citizens to compel the Cicestrians to contribute to the cost of rebuilding the ruinous walls and making a new ditch fifty feet wide outside, to be filled with river water. One or two houses were allowed to be built (as at Jericho) on the wall, and among them was the old Deanery, whose substructions still exist, projecting from the southern side.* On
* The Deanery postern was made by Seffrid IT. when Dean in order more conveniently to reach his orchards and gardens, Henry II. granting him permission.
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