The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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of Underyng Harbour is in the parish of Selsey. Little by little small bits round its fretted shores, where the water was temptingly shallow, were being inned by the occupiers of adjoining land, and banks for this purpose are visible in many parts. At length, in 1873, was passed Pagham Harbour Reclamation Act, and in 1876 the great barrier across the mouth being finished the whole of its extent became the pasture-ground of cattle instead of the anchoring-place of ships. This bucolic state of affairs lasted till the storm of December, 1910, when the sea once more broke in and reduced the land area of the British Empire by several hundred acres. The catastrophe had been prophesied in an article in the S.A.C. by J. Cavis-Brown, to which this chapter is beholden. It was curious to see the salt water lapping over the grass fields along the new coast-line, fences, ditches, and the light railway line plunging under the sea, though the high em­banked road was still dry. Flooded-out moles walked helplessly on the grass by the shore, an easy prey to dogs; huge flocks of seagulls floated overhead, swooping down at intervals to pick up dead fresh-water fish and rejoicing in the extension of their legitimate domain.
Thus again was the salt water brought up to the picturesque old quay by Sidlesham Mill, worked by the power of the tides. One Woodroffe built it originally, then it was, as a tablet informs us, " Rebuilt 1755 the buildings directed and machinery invented by Benia Barlow." It is a large compact brick building on a creek of the harbour, and at one time had an immense business, sending out great quantities of flour. For superiority of parts and justness of principle it was, in the opinion of Hay (History of Chichester, 1804), inferior to
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