The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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116                  THE SUSSEX COAST
with luxuriant forest trees, or exposing at in­tervals the wild and rugged surface of the rock; these with the stillness of the place, unbroken save by the voice of the coot, or the plash of the moor-hen returning to her haunt, present a scene with which the feelings of the heart will most readily unite — in whose presence the lapse of centuries will be easily forgotten and the mind, hasting back to the age of the Confessor, will muse on the lake and stream as they existed then, and fancy itself beside the mill which was at work nearly eight hundred years ago."
A little farther up the river, on the Downs overlooking the water-gap, where the stream is divided, is the village of Burpham, chiefly remark­able for the very strong promontory fort that was evidently made by some people whose com­munications were by water. Between the Arun and a little tributary stream is a long tongue of land whose sides have been scarped and across whose base from valley to valley is an agger about 25 feet high and 750 feet long. It is probably an ancient British work; in 1858 an oak canoe, 13 feet 9 inches long (now in Lewes Castle), was dug out of the river mud not very far off (in Burpham parish), having a wooden anchor that seemed to be yew and to all appearance of Celtic construction. Along the downside in the valley of the tributary stream is what looks like an old British trackway, now known as the Leper's Path, from its having led traditionally to a mediaeval lazar-house. The camp is undoubtedly referred to in the Burghal Hidage, which seems to set forth arrangements made early in the tenth century, during the reign of Edward the Elder, for the defence of Wessex against the Danes. It
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