The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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184                   THE SUSSEX COAST
in store for the town ; in 1689 an order of Sessions was issued to compel surrounding villages to contribute to the support of the Brighton poor, and in the great storms of 1703-5 the remains of the old settlement under the cliff were finally washed away. A very gloomy account of the place in 1720 is given by John Warburton, a F.S.A. and noted antiquary, whose cook is said on one occasion to have destroyed some unique Elizabethan and Jacobean plays. "I passed through a ruinous village called Hove, which the sea is daily eating up. It is in a fair way of being quite deserted ; but the church being large, and a good distance from the shore, may perhaps escape." "A good mile further, going along the beach, I arrived at Bright-hems tead, a large, ill-built, irregular market town, mostly inhabited by sea-faring men, who choose their residence here, as being situated on the main, and convenient for their going on shore, on their passing and re-passing in the coasting trade. The town is likely to share the same fate with the last, the sea having washed away the half of it; whole streets being now deserted, and the beach almost covered with walls of houses being almost entire, the lime or cement being strong enough, when thrown down, to resist the violence of the waves. The church is situated on the downs, at a furlong dis­tance from the town ; it is large, but nothing about it worthy of remark, or in the town; there not being any person of fortune in the town but one Masters (or Morley?) a gentleman of good birth." Nor is there much comfort to be gleaned from the almost contemporary account of De Foe (1724). " The sea is very unkind to this Town, and has, by its continual Encroachments, so gain'd upon them, that in a little time more they might reasonably
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