The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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SEAFORD                              263
man he was left in charge of the church when the priest had occasion to go away for a while. Instead of merely performing his devotions in that holy place, in defiance of all laws of hos­pitality and of common honesty he actually stole the precious relics, and sent them to Bergues, near Dunkirk, where they were long preserved. Drogo, far from professing his horror at this discreditable sacrilege, bids us believe that this unscrupulous scoundrel and common thief was " an ascetic and very religious man, and especially glowing with the zeal of happily dwelling with the saints." In quite other company we trust the spoiler of our Sussex shrine spends his time. The same account describes Sevordt, "in order to explain to the ignorant this same harbour is of so narrow an entrance that scarcely can two boats enter it side by side. On either hand two headlands raised to heaven slope down with a gradual hill by which every wave is broken when stormy winds arise. There neither anchor holds the ships, nor rope checks them when they roll, but securely remaining by themselves alone, they do not fear at all either the east, nor the north, nor the north-west-by-west winds." (This sounds rather like a reminiscence of the first few pages of Virgil's iEneid.) Speaking of the harbour, Horsfield quotes a document written by one Elliot about 1765: "The exit of the Lewes river till the time of Elizabeth was, as I have been credibly informed, a little beyond the town of Seaford to the east, where the cliff first begins its elevation above the level ground, and where the old fort stood to guard the entrance; and that in Elizabeth's reign the sea, in a storm, broke through the beach bank at Bean's Ware-
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