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24*01 inches of rain. It may be said generally that
Sussex is wetter than the counties of the east coast, and
not so wet as the counties of the west and south-west.
The total rainfall for England and Wales in 1906 was
36*44 inches, while for Sussex it was about 32 inches.
Dr Mill, who has made a special study of rainfall
statistics, says that "the whole of the low coastal plain
up to the level of 100 feet has a rainfall under 30 inches
The southern slope of the Downs and the whole of the
valley north of the Downs have an average rainfall of
from 30 to 35 inches ; but the crest of the Downs and
the narrow belt immediately at the base of the escarpment
have a higher rainfall, closely approaching 40 inches."
The rainfall of the watering-places differs slightly, and
this is owing to the flatness or the hilliness of the coast.
Thus while Eastbourne in the neighbourhood of Beachy
Head had a rainfall in 1906 of 32 inches, Hastings and
Brighton had each about 28 inches. Taken altogether,



the driest months of 1906 in Sussex were April, July,
and September, while January, October, and November
were the months of greatest rain.


9. The Coast Gains and Losses.
Its Protection Sea Walls and
Groynes. Lighthouses and Light =

Sussex has a long seaboard stretching from Hampshire
to Kent, and measuring at least 77 miles. A glance at a
map will show that the sea coast is remarkably regular,
and without a single harbour of importance. In this
long extent of coast two points stand out and break the
monotony. Selsey Bill, marking the termination of Selsey


Peninsula, is in the west, and Beachy Head, which is the
extremity of some high land, is towards the east. Between
these two points it will be seen that the sea coast forms a
long and shallow curve, while beyond Beachy Head the
coast trends generally to the north-east.

As we shall find in a later chapter, the coast of Sussex
once had several important harbours and ports, and it has
perhaps been more altered in form, and more filled up in
the openings, than any other in England. This change
has been brought about by the constant action of the
winds and tides upon the materials within their reach,
and one cannot but observe masses of shingle and sand
lining the Sussex shore, which have been heaped up by
these agencies upon strata of a kind different from them-
selves. Hence we may conclude that these masses of
shingle and sand, swept along by wind and tide, together
with the deposits of rivers, are the agents that have closed
the harbours, choked the ports, and changed the form of
the coast.

Now let us look at the map again, and note in order
some of the features of the coast of our county. Leaving
Hayling Island in Hampshire behind us we find that
there is a shingle beach as far as Chichester Harbour.
On the east of the harbour is a spit of shingle, and behind
it a large bank known as East Pole Sand. Chichester
Harbour cannot be entered at all at low water, and at no
time without a pilot. Passing along to Selsey Bill, the
cliffs of sand are as low as 12 feet or less, and are subject
to erosion, wasting as much as from 6 to 8 feet in a year.
In parts the land is below sea-level and is protected from


the encroachments of the sea. The village of Selsey is
half-a-mile from the sea, and was once the centre of a
peninsula of which half has been washed away in 1000
years. Selsey Cathedral is beneath the sea ; and a deer-park
which belonged to the Bishop of Chichester as late as the
reign of Henry VIII is now an anchorage ground with
three fathoms of water, and marked on charts as "The

From Pagham (which once had a good harbour) to
Bognor the beach is backed by a low earth-bank, and
groynes are placed all along this coast. Indeed nothing
is more noticeable on the Sussex beach in all parts than
the numerous groynes, which are constructed to keep the
beach level, and so to prevent the erosion of the coast.
These groynes near Bognor are constructed of piles of fir,
eight inches square, and spaced four feet apart, carrying
thick planking to form a stout wooden wall, and running
into the sea for a distance of from 50 to 100 yards. These
are typical of groynes in other parts, although at Brighton
and Hastings there are more elaborate groynes of stone
and cement.

Between Bognor and Felpham a concrete sea-wall
has been constructed for the protection of the low land.
The coast continues low to Littlehampton, where the
harbour is formed between two piers, which extend out
across the beach for half a mile. From this place to
Worthing there are groynes of various heights and
sizes, placed at irregular intervals. When Shoreham is
reached, we find that the drift of shingle has caused the
Adur to be drawn out of its course. Shoreham Harbour



was formerly of considerable importance, but although it
is still busy in a small way, it has suffered from the
changes which we have noticed in the early portion of
this chapter.

From Shoreham to Hove the coast is low, and the
beach is covered with shingle for some distance. The
wasting of the cliffs at Brighton and Hove has been a

Worthing Sands

source of trouble and expense for three centuries, and
now there is a most elaborate system of groyning. Indeed
someone has remarked that " there are more groynes than
beach." For the protection of the road and promenade
in front of Hove and Brighton there is a line of sea-wall
extending from Aldrington on the west to Black Rock



on the east, a distance of four miles, and forming one of
the finest promenades in England. The erosion of the
cliffs has been very considerable, and the old road leading
to Rottingdean became so dangerous that it was thought
wise to stop it for passengers and open another further

Brighton from the West Pier

From Rottingdean to Newhaven the chalk cliffs are
from 80 to 100 feet in height, and at Newhaven and
Seaford two chalk cliffs, on the west and east respectively,
rise to 180 feet and 250 feet. Between these is the
valley through which the Ouse finds its way to the sea.
The coast now bends to the south-east, until Beachy Head
is reached, the finest headland on the south coast. Beachy


Head is the termination of the South Downs, and is a
precipice of chalk cliff over 500 feet high.

Passing Eastbourne, a fashionable and well laid-out

O '

watering-place, the coast gets lower, and a number of
Martello Towers are noticed along the shore. These
were built at the time when it was thought Napoleon
would invade England, and it was considered that this
portion of the coast was specially open to attack. Pevensey
Harbour is now entirely filled with shingle, and the place
is of no importance. St Leonards and Hastings are
continuous towns, and both are protected by a sea-wall
and promenade, three miles long, and by high groynes
of timber or of concrete. The picturesque coast of
Hastings gradually changes, and towards Rye it becomes
low and flat. Both Rye and Winchelsea have " suffered
a sea-change," and from being formerly important ports
they are now mainly of historical interest. Rye, it is
true, has some trade, both coasting and continental ; but
Winchelsea has fared badly. Old Winchelsea is beneath
the waves, and New Winchelsea is left stranded inland
one mile from the sea.

In bringing our survey of the Sussex coast to a close,
we may pause to glance at the work that is done by the
Elder Brethren of Trinity House to assist mariners in
navigating our coasts by placing lighthouses, lightships,
beacons, and buoys at various points. It is worth noting that
a hundred years ago there were only about 30 lighthouses
and lightships round the British coasts, and now there
are about 900, of which 24 are in Sussex. The Elder
Brethren of Trinity House derive an annual income of


300,000 from dues levied on shipping, and this is used
for the purpose of lighting our coasts.

The earliest reference to lighthouses in Sussex is in
1664, when a licence was granted to improve Newhaven
Harbour, and to set up lights there and at Beachy Head.
The present lighthouse at Beachy Head is the finest in
Sussex, and stands at a height of 285 feet. The tower
itself is 47 feet high and its white light, which is shown
every 20 seconds, may be seen at a distance of 16 miles
in clear weather. Besides the lighthouse, fog-explosives
are used when required, storm signals are shown by the
Coastguard on Beachy Head, and there is telephonic com-
munication between the lighthouse and the Coastguard.

Most of the sea-coast towns have lights on their piers
and jetties, and there is also one on the beach at Selsey
Bill. These are all lesser lights and are not comparable
with that at Beachy Mead. There are two lightships off
the Sussex coast. The Owen light vessel on the west is
in 1 6 fathoms of water and has a red hull, with its name
on both sides. Its white and red light revolves every
minute and may be seen 1 1 miles away. On the Owers
there is a powerful fog reed-horn which gives one blast of
4 seconds every 10 seconds in foggy weather. The
other lightship is the Royal Sovereign^ which is placed off
Pevensey Bay in 1 1 fathoms of water at a distance of
three-quarters of a mile from Southern Head. It has a
red hull, with its name on both sides, and carries a small
ball placed over a large one at the mast head. Its white
light, which revolves every 45 seconds, may be seen at a
distance of 1 1 miles in clear weather.


io. People Race, Dialect, Settlements,

It is probable that the earliest inhabitants of Sussex
were immigrants from the Continent when the British
Isles were still part of Europe. We shall not be far
wrong in assigning primitive man in Sussex to the period
known as the Old Stone Age. It is generally agreed
that Picts and others associated with the dolmens and
other stone monuments succeeded the first inhabitants ;
and then came the tribes of Keltic speech, commonly
called Kelts, who lived in the Bronze Age. There are
few written records of these people till the invasion of the
Romans in 55 B.C., when Julius Caesar found the Britons,
or Kelts, belonging to various races, in different stages
of civilisation, and using various modes of speech. The
people of the part of England we now call Sussex were
the Regni, a branch of the Kelts. The Downs and the
Weald in the north, and the marshes about Chichester
and Romney at the west and east, formed the boundaries
of this tribe. There is every reason to believe that
the Romans allowed the native chief to rule over his
dominion, and so Sussex was left almost in its original

The Romans built two strong forts in Sussex one at
Regnum, on the site of the present city of Chichester,
and one at Anderida, where Pevensey now stands. The
population of Sussex was to some extent augmented by
the Romans and their legionaries. At the beginning
of the fifth century, however, the Romans left Britain,

Market Cross and Cathedral, Chichester


and then Sussex fell an easy prey to the Teutons from
the Continent. The Saxon conquest was so complete that,
the English Chronicle tells us, there was not one Briton
left. Be this as it may, we are certain that from that
time Sussex became settled under one overlordship, and
the Saxon settlers were very numerous.

The South Saxons were a people of Teutonic speech,
and taken as a whole Sussex is one of the most Teutonic
counties in England. From the fifth century onwards
the English speech became general, and nearly all the
places received new names, which have been retained to
this day. The results of the Saxon Conquest were seen
in the new language, in new laws, and in a conversion
to heathendom.

After the settlement of the Saxons there were arrivals
of Danes; and then in the tenth and eleventh centuries
Normans, mainly Norsemen having a Romanised speech,
came in considerable numbers. Since the Norman con-
quest, there have been frequent immigrations of foreigners
from Europe. The Flemings in the time of Edward III,
the French and Dutch protestants in the reign of Elizabeth
and in the time of the Stuarts, settled in various parts
of Sussex and intermingled with the native population.
French influence was noticeable in Sussex in the Middle
Ages, and such ports as Winchelsea and Rye had a
constant influx of French people. The latter portion
of the nineteenth century witnessed a steady arrival of
foreigners from various European countries, and when
the census of 1901 was taken, it was found that upwards
of 6000 people in the county were of foreign origin.



From the foregoing remarks it will be gathered that
the people of Sussex are mainly of Teutonic stock, and of
English speech. There are traces of Keltic, Norse, and
French in the dialect. For example the Hastings fisher-
men often say boco for plenty, and frap^ to strike. In the
neighbourhood of Rye, where the Huguenots settled, such

Strand Gate, Winchelsea

words as dishabil, meaning untidy, undressed, and peter
grievous (from petit-grief}^ meaning fretful, are still used.
But, of course, the body of the Sussex dialect is of Saxon
origin, and Saxon words meet us at every turn. A cold
wind is a bleat wind, a pig-stye is a hog-pound, and
superior is bettermost.

We will now turn to some interesting facts relating


to the people of Sussex as we find them to-day. There
is no exact information with regard to the population of
our county till 1801, the year of the Union of Great
Britain and Ireland. Then the first census was taken,
and from that date onwards there has been a numbering
of the people every ten years.

When the first census of Sussex was taken in 1801,
the population was 159,471, and in 1901 it was 605,202.
This means that the increase has been nearly fourfold in
the century. During the last ten years the increase has
been upwards of 55j> r about 10 per cent, on the
population of the previous decade. It thus appears that
the high rate of increase from 1871 to 1891 is not being
maintained. It is worth noting that considerably more
than half the increase during the century is due to
the growth of the watering-places, especially Brighton,
Hastings, and Eastbourne. The density of population to
a square mile in Sussex is 415, against 558 for the whole
of England and Wales.

The census returns of 1901 show that 399,182 people
live in urban districts, and 203,073 in rural districts; and
that the females exceed the males by 55,394. The Ad-
ministrative County of East Sussex had a population of
450,702, or three times that of West Sussex. The bulk
of the people live in houses, or tenements, of which
94,649 contained five or more rooms, and 38,669 had
less than five rooms.

From the census returns we are able to gather par-
ticulars of the ages and occupations of the people. Thus in
1901, there were 37,850 people over 65 years of age; and

B. s. 4


more than 7000 people were living in workhouses, asylums,
and other public institutions. With regard to the occu-
pations of the people, the men were chiefly engaged in
agriculture, in house-building, as coachmen or servants,
or as commercial men and clerks ; while the women
were mainly domestic servants, dressmakers, milliners, and

There is a very interesting table in the Sussex census
that gives the place of birth of the people., Of the
605,202 persons, 389,147 were born within the county;
54,279 were born in London; 11,248 in Scotland,
Ireland, and Wales; and 5414 in other parts of the
British Empire. Persons of foreign birth numbered 6330,
and were mainly natives of Germany, France, Italy, and

ii. Agriculture. Main Cultivations,
Woodlands, Stock.

Sussex is essentially an agricultural county and, as we
shall find presently, more than two-thirds of the county
are under crops and grass. In common with other agri-
cultural counties, it has had its periods of depression, and
since 1878 farmers have had uphill work to hold their
position. In many parts of the county attention is now
being directed to poultry-rearing and the cultivation of
fruit on a large scale and according to scientific methods.
This has been attended with the most satisfactory results,
and to some extent has balanced the loss that has followed
owing to the fall in the price of corn.


Arthur Young, a competent observer on agriculture,
made a tour of some English counties at the close of the
eighteenth century, and he has some very forcible remarks
on the backwardness of cultivation in Sussex. He attri-
butes this to the bad roads, and the small fields that were
undrained and surrounded by woods and plantations.
Since Young's day, however, a great change has taken
place, for the roads have been improved, the land has
been drained and limed, and good fences have been

Probably the best time for farmers was from 1855 to
1877, when wheat, oats, beans, peas, and clover were the
staple crops, and cattle and sheep were bred in large
numbers. Wheat was sold at 505. or more per quarter,
whereas now it sells for 30;. or less.

Let us now consider the position of agriculture in
Sussex at the present time, and to do this we will turn
to the Report of the Board of Agriculture, which annually
gives information as to the acreage and produce of crops,
and the number of live stock in each county.

In 1905, there were 666,697 aeres > or more than
two-thirds of Sussex, under crops and grass. The " corn "
crops were wheat, barley, oats, rye, beans, and peas, which
were cultivated on 125,567 acres, or more than one-
seventh of the entire area. Oats and wheat were the
most important crops, the former accounting for 57,030
acres, and the latter for 50,440 acres.

The green crops comprise, among others, turnips and
swedes, mangolds, cabbages, vetches or tares, and potatoes,
and grow on 54,610 acres. Turnips, swedes and mangolds



are the most important and occupy three-fifths of this
acreage. About one-twentieth of the area of the county
is devoted to the growth of clover, sainfoin, and grasses
under rotation; and no less than 416,753 acres are under
permanent pasture. This is by far the largest acreage,
being four-ninths of the whole county.

The growing of hops has steadily declined in Sussex
from 9989 acres in 1867 to 4647 acres in 1905. This
decline is owing to a variety of causes, the chief being
the superior character of Kentish hops, and the con-
sequently lower price offered for Sussex hops, as well as
the great increase in the imported article. The oast
houses for drying the hops remain, but the land once
devoted to this cultivation is now given over to other crops.

The cultivation of small fruit is much increasing, and
at Worthing is a very important industry. In the neigh-
bourhood of this town it is calculated that the green-
houses if placed end to end would stretch in a line for
upwards of 40 miles. Grapes, cucumbers, tomatos, and
strawberries are the chief crops, and fetch good prices in
the markets to which they are sent, especially in London,
Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham.

Much of the Sussex land once under cultivation is
now laid down as pasture to produce milk for the large
centres of population, such as Brighton, Hastings, and
Eastbourne. The remainder of the area that is not under
cultivation may be classed as bare fallow, mountain, and
heath land, and forests, woods, coppices, and plantations,
and these altogether account for at least one-sixth of the
county. Sussex has from the earliest period been celebrated



for its fine growth of timber, especially oak, which was
long preferred by the naval authorities to that of any
other district. In Saxon times the forest land of Sussex
was part of the great Andredsweald which stretched
from Hampshire into Kent. The most extensive forests
are now St Leonard's, Ashdown, Waterdown, and Tilgate,
and the chief trees are oak, ash, beech, Spanish chestnut,
and birch. gai -

Oxen at Work on a Sussex Farm

We will conclude our study of the Agricultural
Report by considering the different classes of the domestic
animals that are used for various purposes. The live
stock of Sussex are classified as horses, cows and other
cattle, sheep, and pigs, and of these sheep are the most
numerous, accounting for 400,715 out of the total of,
593,204 animals. Cows and cattle number 127,041,
horses 24,346, and pigs 41,102.


The cattle are chiefly of the Sussex breed, and are
unequalled for hardiness and beef production. Short-
horns are bred largely for milk, and Jerseys for butter.
The milk industry is most important, and there are large
dairy farms and factories at Glynde and Sheffield Park.
Pevensey Marsh is very fertile pasture land and is grazed
by large numbers of cattle and sheep. The pasture land
near Lewes, Newhaven, Rye, and Winchelsea, and by
the Arun, also serves a similar purpose.

Oxen were once used for ploughing and were kept in
large open yards. Teams of six bullocks used to draw
the old wheel plough, and teams of eight oxen drew large
wagons into the towns. Working oxen are now, how-
ever, practically things of the past, and there are only
about five or six farmers who use them for ploughing in
the neighbourhood of the South Downs.

The Sussex sheep are among the best in the world,
and the Southdown breed is unequalled for hardiness,
good wool, and excellence of mutton. Although the
number of sheep has somewhat decreased of late years,
the price has improved, so that sheep-farming is very

Chicken-rearing is another profitable and improving
agricultural industry, of which Heathfield is the centre.
The fowls are known as " Surrey " fowls in London,
where they fetch good prices, and in one week as many
as 80 tons are sent to the metropolis. Bee-keeping is a
cottage industry, and in the neighbourhood of the Downs
an abundance of honey is produced.


12. Industries and Manufactures.

Sussex has no claim to rank either as an industrial or
as a manufacturing county. It is essentially an agricultural
county, and most of its industries are those connected, in
one way or another, with agriculture. Most of our great
industries are now carried on in the midlands, or the
northern counties, and this is largely due to the fact that
iron and coal are there found in great abundance. In
Norman times, however, there was a very different con-
dition of affairs, for neither coal nor iron formed an
important item in English industry or trade, and the
weaving trade was but little developed. Tin and lead
were the chief mineral wealth, and raw wool and hides
the principal articles of trade.

In this chapter we shall find that, on a smaller scale,
a great change has also taken place in Sussex. Industries
that were once important have ceased to be carried on,
and other industries have succeeded them. The cloth
industry, which was once widespread through the county,
is now practically extinct. Broadcloth and kersey were
made in many of the towns, and Chichester was an early
seat of this trade. In the sixteenth century, weavers
were to be found in almost every parish, and fullers and
dyers are frequently mentioned. Not only was Chichester
a centre of the cloth industry, but we find that, in the
early eighteenth century, the spinning of linen employed
many people there. Cambric goods were made at
Winchelsea in the Middle Ages, and there is no doubt



that this industry was introduced ' by the French, who
settled at Winchelsea and Rye.

The timber industry has always been of considerable
importance in Sussex, and this, of course, is owing to the
extensive forests. Sussex oak has long been in demand,
and in the Norman period it was used in the construction
of the Tower and of Westminster Hall. It was also
used at Portsmouth for the Royal Navy, and is now in

Shoreham and the River Adur

demand for plank-fencing and palings, and for the manu-
facture of wattles for sheep-farms. Before the seventeenth
century, timber was exported from Shoreham and Rye
in the form of billets for fuel, but in 1628 this was
prohibited owing to the need of supplying the numerous
iron-furnaces in the county. In 1901, there were 238
timber-merchants in Sussex, and 503 sawyers.

Ship-building was carried on at Hastings, Rye,

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