The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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56                    THE SUSSEX COAST
by a passage from the report of one of Henry VIII.'s commissioners for suppressing the monasteries (quoted by P. H. Ditchfield). "We think it best that the place where these friars have been wont to hear outward confession of all-comers at certain times of the year, be walled up, and that use to be done for ever." It may be objected that it must have been any­thing but convenient for the penitent to kneel in the churchyard exposed to the climate of England and the jeers of the English—for the scoffer is no invention of modern days—but it is not for the wearers of top-hats and boiled shirts to dogmatise as to what must have seemed convenient to our less elegant sires.
On its own retired peninsula, its cottages dating largely from the eighteenth century, reposing amid chestnuts and elms, peacefully lies the small village of Chidham. The plain little Early English church has two west buttresses to support the bell-cot and a north chapel opening by two arches from the nave. It cannot be said that the place has done nothing for the world. Arthur Young * records how farmer Woods was one day walking in his fields and noticed growing by itself, where it had no business, in a hedgerow a particularly fine patch of wheat, possessing thirty ears with about 1,400 corns. When the latter matured they were planted with results similar to those given by seven ears upon one stalk full and good when in days long past & member of the chosen race contrived the first corner in wheat. So the fine Chidham corn became in course of time widely distributed and well known. It is white and of a very fine berry, remarkably long * Agriculture of Sussex, 1808, p. 82.
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