The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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THE FAR WEST                         55
more; over the rood-beam is a large board painted with Georgian Royal Arms, the lion almost human faced.
Due south of Westbourne, not far off, is Thorney Island, Tornei in Domesday, separated from the mainland only by a narrow creek which a causeway crosses. Fairly wide channels, sea and slimy mud in turn, divide it from Chidham Peninsula to the east, from Hayling Island (in Hampshire) to the west. On the east side of the island, wild flowers and grass underfoot, great elms towering overhead, the little village of West Thorney, with only 150 inhabitants, looks across the water to the spire of Chichester rising over the wooded flats and the downland spread­ing away beyond. The small ivy-covered church displays some excellent Early English work, it is the style that Sussex loves and counts pecu­liarly her own. The low tower with double lancets, shaft divided, is surmounted by a squat square spire covered with boards instead of the usual shingles. The north aisle is taken down, the arches are walled up, in the chancel are two lancets continued to form low-side windows. A long controversy has tried to elucidate the precise use of these openings, which are particularly numerous in Sussex, and range in date from the early thirteenth century (or about the time of the rise of the Friars) to a brick example of Henry VIII.'s reign at Twineham. After a very full study of the matter P. M. Johnston, whose scholarship is an honour to Sussex archaeology, concludes they were for hearing confessions, particularly by the Friars. In some places (as at Alfriston) they seem too high for such a pur­pose, but the view is considerably strengthened
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