The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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within, are only about four inches wide, and seem to have been made with an eye to defence. The narrow little chancel arch has been supplemented by another opening each side. In the Early Eng­lish period were added a tower, which is extremely low, and a south aisle which has disappeared; but the foundations were discovered in May, 1907, there being a puzzling little chamber, narrower than the rest and very awkwardly joined, at the east end. The church has also been lightened by the insertion of some lancets.
Away over the Downs, in a lonely position, is the hamlet of Balsdean, with a thatched chapel that forms a stable, but retains an Early English doorway and a splayed lancet. No proper road goes near it, but a rough track leads down to the sea at Rottingdean, where a valley furrows the cliffs, but not right down to the beach.
In the manor of Rottingdean, held in Domes­day by one Hugh, of William of Warenne, the widow is entitled to widow s bench of the whole of the land (not merely one-third), while after her death, by the custom of Borough English, it descends to the youngest son. This arrangement is particularly a Sussex institution, being found in something like one hundred and forty of her manors, mostly in the Rape of Lewes. T. W. Shore {Origin of the Anglo-Saxon Race) believed it to have been derived from a Slavic element among the original Saxon immigrants, and even con­nected the mer, which forms a part of many Sussex place names (Keymer, Stanmer, Ringmer, and so on), with the Russian word mir for an agricultural community. That a Slavic element existed among the founders of South Saxony is likely enough, but hardly in such proportions as
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