The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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BOGNOR                                 85
and the wall over the three eastern lancets has the curious peculiarity of herring-bone work.
An early thirteenth-century vicar of North Mundham (three miles north) was reported by his steward to Bishop Ralph Neville for having two wives and pretending to possess a dispensation from the Pope. The church he served is an Early English building, with plain foot ornaments to some of the round pillars, and pretty little lancets in the aisles; the upper part of the tower is later, the chancel is modern. There are brass inscriptions to Thomas Bowyer, citizen and grocer of London, 1538, two of his descendants and others. The Bowyers for a time occupied Leythorn House in the parish, built by Bishop Sherburne, but now destroyed.
Close by, buried in trees, is the little hamlet of Runcton, whose manor house was once a cell to the Norman Abbey of Troarn, founded to look after English estates. In 1260 the daughter house, Bruton Priory in Somerset, took over the land, and then Runcton became merely a grange. Its old-fashioned garden has a lawn bounded by an ancient mill-stream, straightened and broadened, and just below is a little island on which grow two large willows, whose red roots sway about in the water the whole way round. The general effect is almost like a little piece of East Anglia stranded in Sussex.
Merston has a small towerless church of the usual plain Early English character, and the narrow north (and only) aisle is unlighted. Hunston is described in the Gentleman s Magazine, 1792, when the old Common Field system was still in existence. The church "is now in so decayed a state that its utter ruin seems unavoidable
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