The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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248                    THE SUSSEX COAST
little expense as was possible, it joins the older wall and rests on the gable; its windows are little lancets, and it seems to date from about 1200; the shingled spire is later.
In days before Birmingham had taught England to think imperially it was very common for people to confine their thoughts to the village, and relations with the next village were frequently anything but cordial. In some parts of the country, particularly where neighbouring villages were once in different Saxon kingdoms, mutual dislike sometimes led to serious fighting, but in Sussex, as a rule, there was merely a warfare of words. The people of Piddinghoe were in those days accused of being in the habit of shoeing their magpies, but the precise point of this local witticism, if it had any, would appear to have been lost. Their church stands on the bank of the tidal river, and there are prettily overgrown cuttings in the chalk of the Downs on the other side of the road. The original Norman nave seems coeval with the round tower, which is earlier than that at Southease, and opens by a massive arch. That of St. Michael at Lewes is the only other round church tower in Sussex; the reason for building them was evidently the scarcity of stone suitable for quoins while flints were abundant. An octagonal shingled spire supports the fish vane that Kipling has made famous. Four round arches on the north and four pointed ones on the south were evidently pierced through the walls when aisles were required. A little Perpendicular window in the south wall beyond the arches seems to have been made when the aisle was in ruins. The chancel and its aisles are later than the nave, and the
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