The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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THE FAR WEST                        63
Since the days of Harold Godwinson the manor of Bosham has frequently changed hands, but since 1475 it has belonged to the Berkeley family. Perhaps the most famous of people born there was Becket's companion and biographer, Herbert of Bosham, who accompanied the Primate to the Councils of Clarendon and Northampton in 1164, and shared his exile abroad. His Life of St. Thomas of Canterbury enjoyed for a time extraordinary popularity, and contributed to making our Metropolitan Cathedral the chief place of pilgrimage in Northern Europe. Tenny­son's Becket contains a description of Bosham put into the mouth of Thomas—
"Better have been A fisherman at Bosham, my good Herbert, Thy birthplace—the sea-creek—the petty rill That falls into it—the green field—the grey church— The simple lobster-basket, and the mesh— The more or less of daily labour done— The pretty gaping bills in the home-nest Piping for bread—the daily want supplied— The daily pleasure to supply it."
A walk across grass meadows with old hedges and rather dirty streams (passing near an almost ploughed-out moat near Stonewall Farm, where it is rather absurdly fabled that Vespasian once had a palace) takes one to Fishbourne. It is almost a suburb of Chichester, a straggling village at the top of the next creek called Chichester Channel, on whose east shore is Dell Quay. Stand­ing by itself in the fields, but close to the houses, is the church, whose chancel is a plain little Early English structure with the usual lancets; the nave, with its span-roof aisles, north transept and wooden bell-cot are modern.
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