The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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BEACHY HEAD AND EASTBOURNE 279
Devoutly praying, with unlifted hands, That some well-laden ship may strike the sands ; To whose rich cargo they may make pretence, And fatten on the spoils of Providence."
His preference for spending his time in his hole rather than at his vicarage when the weather was bad was uncharitably attributed to Mrs. Darby's tongue, the suggestion being as the ballad expresses itó
"For a scolding wife simply bothers your life In a way that has no end ; It's better to be on the roughest sea, Where things at the worst may mend."
The Downs are dotted with ancient tumuli, there are some traces of old terraces for cultivation and at Belle Tout, which rises just east of Birling Gap, is a small camp at the edge of the sheer steep cliffs, within those limits the old lighthouse for Beachy Head was built in 1831. The new one stands up from the waters of the sea a little farther to the east. Belle Tout is but 284 feet above the sea, a gentle slope of Down grass for a little more than a mile leads to the top of Beachy Head itself, 575 feet above the waves and undoubtedly the finest part of the Sussex coast so far as impressive scenery is concerned. The name is a corruption of Beauchef, which form appears in a document of the second year of Edward I. about the fishing rights of the house of Braose. The chalk of the lower portion, without flints, is harder than that of the upper, whose strata are marked by lines of flints, and though exposed to the full force of the waves it does not weather so fast. Hence upon it rests a talus slope grass-
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