The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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THE MANHOOD                         71
The site of the old church, near the Priory, is close to the new mouth of Pagham Harbour. Numerous British coins, including gold ones in a very perfect state, some of them of early date, have been found in the vicinity. Excavations in 1911 proved the adjacent earthwork to be composed chiefly of shingle, which is in fact the natural soil. A local tradition that it was made to resist the Spanish Armada seems to be perfectly correct. Within the entrenchments were found undoubted but slight traces of rough Roman building, pro­bably some sort of station to guard the harbour mouth. But the remains of walling, &c, were so scanty as to suggest either that something pre­vented the works from ever being completed or that they were extensively raided to build the church. There was found, however, a unique Saxon bronze belt-tag of the tenth century.
In the churchyard remains the old chancel, a plain Early English building with a carved monu­ment of 1537 to John and Agatha Lewes. The rest of the sacred edifice, nave and aisles, with plain Early English arcades, Perpendicular roof timbers with moulded tie-beams and other antiquities, including two stones with curious carved scroll­work that may be Saxon, has moved with the great bulk of the population to the new village, which is practically at the Bill. Below insignifi­cant cliffs of clayey earth is a shingly beach with many boulders of the Selsey mixen rock whose fossils show it to belong to the Upper Eocene period.
Bungalows and a large hotel that look straight over the Channel are features of the place, the beautiful proliferous pink (Dianthus prolifer) grows in the vicinity, but is rare; there is good sea
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