The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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124                   THE SUSSEX COAST
examples, rests on a low pillar and corner shafts. The roof is covered chiefly with slabs of a cal-ciferous sandstone resembling slate that is found near Horsham, and was once largely used for the purpose. It is a very heavy material, and needs stout timbers underneath, but its greyish colour is of the prettiest, and it likes to be overgrown with lichen and moss. In 1902, during a restora­tion, was discovered on the roof of the nave the skeleton of a kestrel hawk with that of a water-rat in its mouth. The hawk had captured in the marshes a bigger rat than he could manipulate, and each had suffocated the other. The writer has been assured by a person resident in Chichester at the time, that when the spire of the Cathedral fell there came down with the ruins skeletons of a cat and a rat, the latter in the jaws of the former. By the Arun, quite as likely as by any other of the noble rivers of Sussex, may have hap­pened the stirring events related in the following Sussex ballad, preserved by James Howell. It is peculiarly gratifying as recording at least one authentic instance of the sluggish South getting the better of the hustling North:—
"A Northern knight from the Northern Lands, He came a-wooing to me;
He said he would take me to the Northern Lands And there he would marry me.
* Go fetch me some of your father's gold, And some of your mother's fee, And two of the best nags out of the stable, Where there stand thirty and three.'
She fetched him some of her father's gold, And some of her mother's fee, And two of the best nags out of the stable, Where there stood thirty and three.
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