The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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170                   THE SUSSEX COAST
sustained a parapet is an octagonal shingled spire. The effect of this venerable steeple is greatly im­proved by the wallflowers that are rooted in its mortar. Between the chancel and the south chapel are Norman arches, largely rebuilt, whose caps have Ionic volutes. The original nave seems to have been without aisles if one may judge by a narrow passage through the wall from its south­east corner into the chapel. The present nave is modern and extremely bad.
These villages are on the plain. They have neighbours on the lower slopes of the Downs which here are getting closer and closer to the sea as one proceeds towards the east. Portslade, approached by the steepest of roads, is a restful village that has grown an ugly suburb on the sea. Just north of the churchyard are the scanty ivied ruins of the old manor-house of Norman date, which retains a perfect double window and other details ; there was evidently a small tower. Sussex is rich in examples of mediaeval manor-house and church standing side by side, in every case the former has been completely transformed. Usually the villeins' huts that grew into the village were close by, sometimes they were some distance off, and the church and house stand alone in the old demesne, which later became the park, as at Wiston, Shermanbury, Findon, Parham, and else­where. The church at Portslade has a south arcade of Transition Norman-Early English date, round pillars with little foot ornaments and scallop caps, the arches pointed. Tower, chancel, and other parts are Early English ; two lancets in the eastern wall. A modern aisle terminates in a modern chapel with vaulted roof for the old family of Brackenbury, now extinct.
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