The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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HERSTMONCEUX AND BEXHILL 315
of the castle towers used to keep the neighbour­hood in alarm by his nightly tattoo. Horace Walpole suggested that this was the inspiration of Addison's unsuccessful comedy The Drummer, but it is most unlikely; in all probability the drum and the ghostly legends were purely for the benefit of smugglers. A letter of Walpole's, written in 1752, gives an interesting description of his visit to the castle: " It does not seem to have been ever quite finished, or at least that age was not arrived at the luxury of white-washing, for almost all the walls, except in the principle chambers, are in their native brick-work. . . . One side has been sashed, and a drawing and dining room, and two or three other rooms wainscoted by the Earl of Sussex, who married a natural daughter of Charles II. Their arms, with delightful carvings by Gibbon, particularly two pheasants, hang over the chimney. Over the great drawing-room chimney is the coat armour of the first Lennard, Lord Dacre, with all his alliances. The chapel is small and mean; the Virgin and seven long, lean saints, ill done, remain in the windows; there have been four more which seem to have been removed for light; and we actually found S. Catherine, and another gentlewoman with a church in her hand, exiled into the buttery. . . . We walked up a brave old avenue to the church, with ships sailing on our left hand the whole way."
The sea is, however, nearly four miles off in a straight line. The church stands high up and rather lonely, no other buildings being very near; it was erected near the end of the twelfth century, and the octagonal pillars of the nave arcades have
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