The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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VILLAGES ON THE PLAIN              129
stretches northward to the Downs, and includes Highdown Hill, which is crowned by the famous Miller's Tomb. John Oliver, versifier and miller, prepared this last resting-place in 1776, and at the age of eighty-four was brought to occupy it in 1793, the novelty and eccentricity of the proceeding attracting an immense concourse of people. His epitaphs are lengthy even for the century in which he lived; they were largely engraved by himself, and include samples of his own poetry. One of them is a sort of apologia.
"Why should my fancy any one offend, Whose good or ill does not on it depend ; 'Tis at my own expense, except the land, A generous grant on which my tomb doth stand; This is the only spot that I have chose Wherein to take my lasting long repose; Here in the dust my body lieth down, You'll say it is not consecrated ground— I grant the same, but where shall we e'er find The spot that e'er can purify the mind; Nor to the body any lustre give, This more depends on what a life we live ; For when the trumpet shall begin to sound T'will not avail e'en where the body's found!"
On the same hill is an ancient camp with entrance to the south-west. Excavation has revealed a Saxon burial-ground within its area, the graves being nearly all east and west, head to the latter point, their date probably the late sixth century. Many objects of great interest were found, including an iron barbed spear thirty inches long, with socket for wooden shaft, of the kind called angon, extremely rare in this country, though not uncommon in ancient Burgundian and Frankish graves. There was a beautiful glass
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