The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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228                   THE SUSSEX COAST
Paul Dunvan (History of Lewes and Bright-helmston, 1795, usually called after William Lee, the Editor and Proprietor) translates thisó
"A Knight reclines within this narrow space, Who ow'd his birth to Denmark's royal race, First Magnus call'd, a name devised right well The magnitude of such a stock to tell. This meeken'd warrior, for past deeds contrite Became at last a lowly anchorite."
The first clause ought, however, to mean " Here is shut in as an anchorite," and the original inscription was possibly cut in the lifetime of Magnus, who occupied the cell ; the present letters seem later, one or two stones are restored. A hermit lived alone in the woods or wherever he liked, but an anchorite resided in a cell attached to a church and had a hagioscope through which he could watch the services of the altar. He was shut into his cell with a special service taken by the bishop ; part of the Burial Office was used, for in future he would be dead to the world, though as we gather from the will of St. Richard he might receive small legacies. As anchorites had plenty of time for reflection their opinions were frequently treated with the greatest respect, and at times men came from far to consult them. It was an essentially Oriental idea, and never took much root among a restless people always more anxious to do something or other than to see visions or to dream dreams (p. 169).
Lewes was a place of some importance in Saxon days, and in the time of iEthelstan possessed two mints.
By William the Conqueror the Rape of Lewes was bestowed on his devoted follower William of
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