HERSTMONCEUX AND BEXHILL 325
Cathedral: the part in front of the portico has been removed, and a fragment is preserved at the entrance to Lewes Castle. It was not, however, for about a century that the industry finally came to an end, the last furnace having gone out at Ashburnham, the next parish to Ninfield, early in the nineteenth century. The so-called hammer-ponds, where the smelting and working went on, the simple machinery set in motion by water-power, are still to be seen among the woods of the iron district. The magnificent Elizabethan and Jacobean mansions of the owners are frequently quite close to the ponds, though available land was by no means restricted—a fact which shows that the near presence of the workings was not held to be a nuisance or even in the least inconvenient.
Only about three miles from Ninfield is Bexhill, and over the low hills to the west of the road that slope down to Pevensey Levels, spreads the very scattered village of Hooe, whose church has a small Early English chapel north of the chancel, square-headed windows of the fourteenth century and a diagonally buttressed Perpendicular tower with a stair extending to the top. Bexhill is now a borough whose limits comprise a wide stretch of country including rolling grass-lands called the Downs (though, as a rule, in Sussex the word has a quite different significance) and the modern village of Little Common whose character is indicated by its name. The old village from which the place has grown stands inland on high ground ; the manor of Bexelei, as it is called in Domesday, belonged in pre-Conquest times to the South Saxon See.
Elizabeth, in 1561, when the Bishopric was