The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

Home | Order | Support | About | Contact | Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

THE SOUTH DOWNS                   209
largely on the chalk uplands and in the villages that nestle under their slopes that what is most characteristic of bygone Sussex is to be found. It is true that few have acted on the advice of the old villager : " Mind you doan't never have nothing in no way to do with none of their new-fangled schemes," but the ancient remoteness of South Saxony is by no means altogether a thing of the past. Once get away from bow-windows and slates, among the timber-framed and stone slab or thatch-roofed cottages of remote Sussex villages, and one is farther off from the restless turmoil of modern life than almost anywhere else.
But the old order is rapidly passing away even where a generation ago the process had hardly begun. In 1884 wrote Rev. J. Coker Egerton. (Sussex Folk and Sussex Ways) : " People who are wont nowadays to look to the large centres of commerce for almost anything they want, may be surprised to know how comparatively independent of outside help many of our country parishes were fifty or sixty years ago. Within the recollection of many persons still alive we grew flax, bleached it, carded it, spun, and wove it at home. In many of our cottages there are yet to be found sheets, table-cloths, and other articles of linen which seem to defy the power of time. Doubtless they are now kept more as curiosities than for use ; still they have borne an amount of wear and tear which is certainly not expected of more modern goods. We had our own hatter within my own memory, though when I knew him he had ceased to work at his trade. His productions had the character of being everlasting." Ploughing with large black oxen may still though very rarely be seen on the Downs, here and there an aged
Previous Contents Next