Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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five, then a nunch and a quart of ale. Nunch was cheese, 'twas skimmed cheese though. Then work till sunset, then home and have supper and a pint of ale. I never knew a man drunk in the harvest field in my life. Could drink six quarts, and believe that a man might drink two gallons in a day. All of us were in the house [i.e., the usual hired servants, and those specially engaged for the harvest]: the yearly servants used to go with the monthly ones.
"There were two thrashers, and the head thrasher used always to go before the reapers A man could cut according to the goodness of the job, half-an-acre a day. The terms of wages were £3 10s. to 50s. for the month.
" When the hay was in cock or the wheat in shock, then the Titheman come; you didn't dare take up a field without you let him know. If the Titheman didn't come at the time, you tithed yourself. He marked his sheaves with a bough or bush. You couldn't get over the Titheman. If you began at a hedge and made the tenth cock smaller than the rest, the Titheman might begin in the middle just where he liked. The Titheman at Harting, old John Blackmore, lived at Mundy's [South Harting Street]. His grandson is blacksmith at Harting now. All the tithing was quiet. You didn't dare even set your eggs till the Titheman had been and ta'en his tithe. The usual day's work was from 7 to 5."
Like all Sussex villages, Harting has had its witches and pos­sessors of the evil eye. Most curious of these was old Mother Digby {nee Mollen), who, in Mr. Gordon's words, lived at a house in Hog's Lane, East Harting, and had the power of witching herself into a hare, and was continually, like Hecate, attended by dogs. Squire Russell, of Tye Oak, always lost his hare at the sink-hole of a drain near by the old lady's house* One day the dogs caught hold of the hare by its hind quarters, but it escaped down the drain, and Squire Russell, instantly opening the old beldame's door, found her rubbing the part of her body corresponding to that by which the hound had seized
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