The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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LEWES                                 237
massive round pillars, each built of many stones, of early Norman date; the rest of the arcade is in striking contrast, late Perpendicular work with slim clustered pillars and very flat arches. Much of the building, including the aisle, windows, and tower door, is similar, dating probably from shortly after 1500. The battlemented brick tower sur­mounted by a fish vane is dated 1714, when it was rebuilt, curiously utilising older buttresses; it is an excellent piece of work, much more in harmony with the church than would be expected at the period. The chancel is modern Decorated.
In the Priory were accommodated the night before the great battle of May 14, 1264, the royal army. The behaviour of the soldiers was of the beastliest, and had no point of advantage over the conduct of the much-abused Puritans, while in pro­faning the very altars of Holy Church, thirteenth-century Englishmen could not claim the miserable excuse that they must help the Lord to root out the abomination of idolatry from the land. The baronial army under Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, had meanwhile been advancing through the woods of the Weald by Fletching, and on the top of the Downs north of Lewes, called Mount Harry, the momentous action was fought. The young Edward had little difficulty in inflicting defeat on the Londoners; but, failing to observe the progress of the battle as a whole, he gave no support to the two Kings, his father and uncle, the former of whom, Henry III., got back to the Priory, while Richard, Earl of Cornwall, King of the Romans, was compelled to make a windmill his castle. It was a hard hap to befall the holder of the highest place on earth, and his ruffled temper was not improved by the jeering yells of the
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