The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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HASTINGS                             357
been if Freeman really said anything of the kind.
The inhabitants of the town that here as in other places grew up round the abbey were for a time permitted to pray in the great church of St. Martin itself. This, however, was soon found to be inconvenient, and the parish church of St. Mary was built close to the other, but separated by the precinct wall. A chaplain of the abbot there officiated; and although there was never any chapter, he became known after a time as the dean, simply it appears to enhance the dignity of the abbey. There was not much difficulty in finding a parish priest, the Chronicle has the following account of the way in which things were managed: " Upon this, other applicants likewise desisted from their entreaties, and the convent held the church without any further trouble, as long as it remained without an abbot, namely, up to the arrival of Abbot Odo, appropriating its revenues to the lights of the monastery, and principally to wax tapers, to be burnt continually before the high altar, and the host, and the relics of the saints there deposited; for, from the first foundation of the Abbey up to that time, lamps supplied with dirty and fcetid oil had been burnt before the host.
" Now, within a few days of Abbot Odo's recep­tion at Battle, Richard, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England and legate of the apostolic see, wrote to inform him that he was about to visit him in his legatine capacity. The abbot, therefore, knowing the cupidity of the archbishop's clerks, and fearing that he, finding the parish church vacant, might, at their earnest importunities, take it out of his hands, determined to anticipate
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