384 THE SUSSEX COAST
had become a foreign monastery, everything that went on in them was known to the French king. In 1247 Henry III. accordingly resumed the grant and compensated the abbey with safely inland and rather remote estates at Cheltenham, But the decay of the Ports was soon to begin, and its causes were purely physical; the sea kept breaking in where it was not wanted and depositing shingle where salt water was desired, and very slowly but terribly surely the centre of sea power in the kingdom was to shift to the magnificent rock-enclosed harbours of the west.
Rye Harbour had been kept scoured by the three rivers that now uniting their waters at the foot of her hill flow in a common channel through wastes of shingle to the sea: the Rother and the Brede are the more important, the Tillingham flows between them. The inning of shallow waters had been going on from immemorial days, the whole area of Romney Marsh was reclaimed by the Romans (or possibly even before their time), and the process of inning was constantly proceeding. By the sixteenth century Rye had suffered so much that in 1562 an Inquisition was taken before the Lord High Admiral of England in which " the Jurors present and say (of the haven of Camber) that the inning of marshes is the cause of the decay of the said haven and hath been begun since 1532. Item they present Sir John Guldeford, Knt. hath inned, since 1542, in Guldeford marsh, in his second inning, three great and huge creeks, which have been and are an utter decay of the haven of Camber. . . ."
" But instead of opening the said creeks and laying forth the low marsh lands again, Sir John Guldeford not only kept what he had inned off