The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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312                   THE SUSSEX COAST
time of the Confessor it had been held by Edmer, a priest "who could change his residence and transfer his lands at pleasure" (the precise significance of this is explained at length in Maitland's monumental Domesday Book and Beyond). In 1199,* the place was held by one Waleran de Herst, who took the additional name of Monceux from a little place in the Diocese of Bayeux with which his family were connected in Normandy. A later namesake supported Simon de Montfort. By marriage the place passed to the family of Fienes, and one of them, Sir William, who died in 1402, has a fine large brass in the chancel of the church, armour with sword and dagger, the feet on an alaune, or wolf-dog, the "supporter" of the house, inscription in Norman French. By his son Roger, who had fought at Agincourt, the existing castle was built about 1440, remarkable as one of the earliest large brick structures erected in England after Roman days. Stone for the dressings are most sparingly used, which is the more remarkable as the bricks were probably brought from Flanders. A few black bricks form simple patterns among the red ones of which the walls consist.
The castle is very regular and nearly square, a little over 200 feet each way ; at the four corners rise four great octagonal towers; each side has three other towers, mostly semi-octagonal and not rising above the walls. The central one on the south takes the form of a magnificent gateway rising above all the rest; two octagonal turrets are connected by a rather thin arch enclosing the actual gateway and the window over it; there are very ornate projecting machicolations at the
*fcAppears for that year on Rot. Cur. Regis.
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