The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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THE FAR WEST                         53
whom, when Secretary of State, the capital of Nova Scotia was named, offered the parishioners to endow a Sunday afternoon sermon, or to build them a spire of Stansted oak. The latter was chosen on the ground that it would always point to heaven, which was more than could be abso­lutely promised of the sermon. From the point of view at least of the picturesqueness of the village, whose most distinguishing feature is the spire in question rising over the trees, there is no reason whatever why the choice should be deplored. The maritime plain is here about eight or ten miles broad, deeply fretted by the ramify­ing fjords of Chichester Harbour.
On a spur of the Downs, and so forming a very conspicuous landmark, is Racton Tower, a tall castellated "folly," erected by the same Lord Halifax. The strange-looking building is now a hollow shell, and it is impossible to ascend, so that the magnificent view which once refreshed a Cabinet Minister is at present lost to the world, though the prospect from the base is sufficiently striking. From the edge of the hills one looks over the flat plain bordered by the waters of the Channel and indented by the windings of the harbours: all land and sea from Chichester to Portsmouth, with the islands of Hayling and Thorney, and the ancient port of Bosham, are displayed as on a map. In the distance to the right is the Isle of Wight, behind one on the Downs in the farthest border of Sussex spread the Park and the Forest of Stansted. De Foe describes it as "surrounded with thick Woods, thro' which there are the most agreeable Vista's cut, that are to be seen any-where in England; and particularly at the West opening, which is
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