The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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70                    THE SUSSEX COAST
fear of God, hunted in our park at Selsey with hounds, nets, arrows, and other instruments, on. the night of January 31st; broke down the fences of the park, and dared to chase, slay, and carry away deer and other wild animals therein; all and singular such persons are adjudged to have in­curred the greater excommunication, to be pro­nounced upon them in every church of the deanery with upraised cross, bells ringing, and candles lighted."
This meant that the priest in church must solemnly declare, " By the authority of God the Father Almighty and His Son and the Holy Ghost, and Mary the blessed Mother of God and all the saints male and female, we canonically excommuni­cate, anathematize, and cut off from the privileges of Holy Church, those malefactors, their aiders and abettors, and unless they repent and offer satisfac­tion, may their candle be put out before the living God for ever and ever! So be it: so be it. Amen." At the same time, suiting the action to the word, he dramatically flung down a lighted candle, making a horrid mess on the chancel floor with the grease. However, the net result of all the intemperate language and the picturesque symbolism does not seem to have been more serious than that of the curse in the Jackdaw oj liheims, or when present-day squires sometimes use expressions equally dramatic upon hearing of similar trespasses on their property and cannot catch the offenders. Men gradually became rather amused than inconvenienced by the thunders of the Church when hurled merely to protect epis­copal game. Far otherwise indeed when they had only been used " To break the heathen and uphold the Christ
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