The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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348                   THE SUSSEX COAST
The song of praise that to the heavens aspire,
And mingled with these formal litanies
The far-off murmur of the distant seas
And the sweet scent of wild rose and of briar."
The Battle of Hastings was fought on a ridge about five miles away, the road thither traverses sandrock country, undulating and well wooded. The origin of the word that Freeman rather pedantically wished, on the authority of Orderic, a monk who lived about 1075 to 1143, to substitute for the time-honoured name of the Battle of Hastings is thus explained by Camden: " In this town is a place called by a French name from the blood shed there Sangue Lac (Senlac), which from the nature of the soil looks red after a shower, whence William of Newburgh, without any authority, writes: ' The place where was the greatest slaughter of the English fighting for their country after a little shower sweats as it were fresh blood, as if to testify openly and by demonstration of fact that the voice of so much Christian blood yet cries out of the earth to the Lord.'" The real reason for the reddish tinge to so much of the water in this district is the presence of iron.
As to whether the English defended themselves on that hill by means of a palisade or only by a wall of their shields or by both there has been fighting on paper between J. H. Round and Professor Freeman's supporters as fierce as ever on the land: the question indeed has been argued more as if some present-day matter of religion or politics were at stake than merely the mode of combat in a battle long ago. On the whole the single wall of shields so valiantly defended by Mr. Round un­doubtedly holds the day. The battle scenes in the
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