The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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About 1100 (see p. 152) the shingle changed the mediaeval port from Old to New Shoreham. An interesting chart of later developments is given in H. Cheal's Ships and Mariners of Shoreham. In 1760 the present entrance to the river and harbour, opposite Kingston, was made. The work was badly done and the sea washed it away, with the result that three unsatisfactory later openings were successively used, each a little farther east than the last. In 1816 the existing harbour mouth was restored, and in 1848 the lighthouse to guide vessels in was provided. The lagoon on the site of the old estuary farther east was gradually trans­formed into the docks, with busy wharves that we see to-day. Despite its venerable antiquity the port has little of the picturesque ; small vessels are built, a good deal of repairing is undertaken, the Brighton excursion steamers make it their home. Here, in 1889, the petroleum-laden sailing-ship Vandalia, of St. John, New Brunswick, was tem­porarily repaired after having run aground at Hove, badly damaged by collision with the s.s. Duke of Buccleuch, which was never heard of again. Only a dog was on board, the crew having landed in a boat, but the Vandalia provided very oily smells and a great deal of amusement for the Brighton public that lasted several weeks.
At Shoreham landed John in 1199, when he came to be our king on Richard Cceur-de-Lion's death ; from the same place sailed Charles II. in 1651 after fatal Worcester, when for a space he ceased to wear a crown (p. 183). By John it was made a free port, but by Edward I. that privilege was taken away. In 1295 it became a borough with a seal representing a ship. When, in 1346, Edward III. demanded ships for his French expedi-
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