Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

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

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half-dreams of a devolution by which, when national amity shall have become mentionable besides personal pence, London shall attract to herself all the small vice, as she does already most of the great, from the country, all the thrusters after gain, the vulgar, heavy-fingered intellects, the Progressive spouters, the Bileses, the speculating brigandage, and shall give us back from the foggy world of clubs and cab-ranks and geniuses, the poets and painters, all the nice and witty and pretty people, to make towns such as this, conserved and purified, into country-side Athenses; to form distinct schools of letters and art, individual growths, not that universal Cockney mind, smoke-ingrained, stage-ridden, convention-throttled, which now masquerades under the forms of every clime and dialect within reach of a tourist ticket."
The customs of Lewes at the end of the Saxon rule and the beginning of the Norman, as recorded in the pages of the Domesday Book, show that residence in the town in those days was not unmixed delight, except, perhaps, for murderers, for whom much seems to have been done. Thus: " If the king wished to send an armament to guard the seas, without, his personal attendance, twenty shillings were collected from all the inhabitants, without exception or respect to particular tenure, and these were paid to the men-at-arms in the ships.
" The seller of a horse, within the borough, pays one penny to the mayor (sheriff?) and the purchaser another; of an ox, a half-penny; of a man, fourpence, in whatsoever place he may be brought within the rape.
" A murderer forfeits seven shillings and fourpence; a ravisher forfeits eight shillings and fourpence; an adulterer eight shillings and fourpence ; an adultress the same. The king has the adulterer, the bishop the adulteress."
With the Conquest new life came into the town, as into South Sussex generally. The rule of the de Braoses, who dominated so much of the country through which we have been passing, is here no more, the great lord of this district
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