The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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226                   THE SUSSEX COAST
fashioned flower-beds surround shaded lawns and plants are rooted in the crumbling old walls.
In 1720 wrote John Owen (p. 282): " Lewis, a very ancient Borough by Prescription, by ye stile of Constables and Inhabitants. The sd Constables are chosen yearly at a Court Leet, held alternately by 3 Lds. Vizt ye D. of Norfolk, ye E. of Dorset and Middlesex and ye Ld Abergavenny ; Memb. for Pari are elected by ye Inhab. paying Scot and Lot, returned by ye Constables. This Town is very large, well built and very agreeably scituated both for Air and Prospect. . . . Near this Place Ao 1263 was fought a Bloody Battle between K. Hen 3rd and the Barons; wherein the K. being defeated, was forced to submit to very unreasonable and dis­honourable conditions of Peace." A little later (1724) wrote De Foe: " Lewes is a fine pleasant Town, well-built, agreeably situated in the Middle of an open Champain Country, and on the Edge of the South Downs, the pleasantest, the most delightful of their kind in the Nation; it lies on the Bank of a little wholesome fresh River, within Twelve Miles of the Sea ; but that which adds to the Character of this Town, is, that both the Town, and the Country adjacent, are full of Gentlemen of good Families and Fortunes; of which the Pelhams must be named with the first."
Wise and prudent people do not supply the ancient names of Sussex streams, Camden calls the Ouse a nameless river to be identified by its pass­ing near Slaugham on the borders of St. Leonard's Forest. Holinshed says : " Certes I am deceiued if this river be not called Isis after it is past Isefield "; others prefer the simple expedient of calling it the water of Lewes. However, called by whatever name, the river formed a highway into the Weald,
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