Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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never see a Sussex hill crowned by a camp, as at Wolstonbury, without seeing also in imagination a flash of steel. Perhaps one never realises the new terror which the Romans must have brought into the life of the Sussex peasant--a terror which utterly changed the Downs from ramparts of peace into coigns of minatory advantage, and transformed the gaze of security, with which their grassy contours had once been contemplated, into anxious glances of dismay and trepidation—one never so realises this terror as when one descends Ditchling Beacon by the sunken path which the Romans dug to allow a string of soldiers to drop unperceived into the Weald below. That semi-subterranean passage and the Bignor pavements are to me the most vivid tokens of the Roman rule that England possesses.
Charlotte Smith, the sonneteer and novelist, was the daughter of Nicholas Turner, of Bignor Park, which contains, I think, the plainest house I ever saw in the country. Charlotte Smith, who was all her life very true to Sussex both in her work and in her homes—she was at school at Chichester, and lived at Woolbeding and Brighton—was born in 1749. A century ago her name was as well known as that of Mrs Hemans was later. To-day it is unknown, and her poems and novels are unread, nor will they, I fear, be re-discovered. Her sister, Catherine Turner, afterwards Mrs. Dorset, was the author of The Peacock at Home, a very popular book for children at the beginning of the last century, suggested by Roscoe's Butterfly's Ball Mrs. Dorset, by the way, married a son of the vicar of Wal-berton and Burlington, whose curious head-dress gave to an odd-looking tree on Bury hill the name of Parson Dorset's wig—for the parson was known by his eccentricities far from home. The old story of advice to a flock : " Do as I say, not as I do," is told also of him.
The little village of West Burton, east of Bignor, is associated in my mind with an expression of the truest humility. A kindly villager had given me a glass of water, and I unfolded
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