The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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336                   THE SUSSEX COAST
castle court one looks down on the extensive roofs of the new St. Mary-sub-Castro and from its Ionic portico one looks out to sea.
The curtain wall on the east is early thirteenth-century work; a gateway is flanked by two large round turrets, portcullis groove and bar opening still remain, a mural passage leads to another round tower, whose interior chamber is straight-sided. Only the lower part of these buildings remain.
Cut out in the sandrock, entered from the ruins of the north gate, are two passages, one extending for about 40 feet, the other for considerably less than half that distance; in each case a descent is made by means of worn steps, and irregular little chambers are passed through or entered. The rounded forms of the roofs seem to indicate a Norman date, the peculiar plan of the excavation is to be accounted for by the necessity of keeping in the hard and compact part of the rock; there can be little doubt that the purpose of the rock-hewn chambers was to serve as dungeons ; in one of them are rough little fireplaces round the sides with no chimney, perhaps to suffocate wretched prisoners by burning charcoal.
One seems to look into two different ages of the world from the Castle hill. To the east in a restricted valley are the crowded roofs and narrow lanes of what is left of the old Cinque Port, fishing-boats along the shore, everything redolent of the past; a great modern watering place with its piers and promenades and bandstand and motor-cars spreads out towards the west.
The Rape of Hastings was granted by the Conqueror to his kinsman, Robert, Count of Eu,
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