The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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142                   THE SUSSEX COAST
clan and clan—we think also of the meditations of the architects who created those monuments in memory of the dead and of the adventurous lives of those who were thus honoured ; of their survi­vors' desperate denial of death's finality; of the immeasurably slow, agelong movement of expand­ing civilisation ; of the influence of superstition, paralysing, yet ever tending to consolidate society; of the enthusiast whose thoughts soared above the common level; of the toil that spent itself in mil­lenniums past, but is still yielding fruit; of unre­corded deeds of heroism and of shame ; of man's ambition and of woman's love."
Cissbury may take its name from Cissa, son of Aella, but on the whole it does not seem very likely. He may have occupied it, but then again he may not; pure supposition admits neither of proof nor of disproof. Not far off, however, is a place that bears unquestioned traces of Saxon occupation though in very much later days. The village of Sompting, as the Domesday form of Sultinges has shaped itself in our own day, stands on the slope of the Downs, and looks over the narrow plain from its woodlands. The church is of unique interest. The west tower is undoubtedly a pre-Conquest example, though not erected probably long before 1066. About a third of the way up is a string-course, below which are three square pilas­ters each side, none quite at the corners. Above it are square corner pilasters and round central ones, each of the latter with a capital below the highest stage. The long and short work is peculiar in that the latter does not project laterally beyond the former. The double round-headed lights, divided by a mid-wall baluster and single triangular-headed openings, are exactly what is characteristic
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