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BYGONE



SUSSEX



WILLIAM E. A. AXON




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES




OLD ROMAN GATE, W1NCHELSEA.



/I -



BYGONE SUSSEX



BY



WILLIAM E. A. AXON.



LONDON :
WILLIAM ANDREWS & Co., 5, FARRINGDON AVENUE, E.G.

1897.



U/q



TO
C. P. SCOTT, M.P.,

IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE
OF THE KINDNESS OF MANY YEARS,

THESE GLEANINGS

. IN THE BYWAYS OF HISTORY AND LITERATURE,
ARE DEDICATED.



Contents.



THE LAND OF THE SOUTH SAXONS - i

PARDON BRASSES - - 10

TRIAL OF HENRY ROBSON IN 1598 - 28

IN DENIS DUVAL'S COUNTRY - 36

THE LONG MAN OF WILMINGTON 72

THE TRUE MAID OF THE SOUTH - - 81

"OLD HUMPHREY'S" GRAVE - 89

A MEDIEVAL LEGEND OF WINCHELSEA - - 96

POEMS OF SUSSEX PLACES - 101

SPIRITS AT BRIGHTLING IN 1659 - - 129

THE MONSTROUS CHILD OF CHIC HESTER 133

A RUSKIN PILGRIMAGE - - 137

RYE IN THE SIXTEENTH AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES 144

THE MERCHANT OF CHICHESTER - - 151

DRAYTON'S SONG OF SUSSEX 154

A SUSSEX BOOK - - 165

THE MERCER'S SON OF MIDHURST - 182

THE DRUMMER OF HERSTMONCEUX - 184

SUSSEX SUN-DIALS 201

TUNBRIDGE WELLS EARLY IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 210

THE MILLER'S TOMB - 224

THE SUSSEX MUSE 236

INDEX. - . - 253



preface.

HT^HE following essays are selected from
material that has accumulated in the
years that Sussex with its picturesque scenery
and varied associations has had a special at-
traction for the writer, who, though not to the
manor born, feels as strongly as any of her
sons the charm of the seaboard and the down.
Perhaps some of the thousands of visitors who
throng the Sussex coast in quest of health or
amusement may find in these pages suggestions
of historic memories that may add to the interest
of their stay, and Sussex men themselves may
recognise that a strong and healthy local senti-
ment is no bad foundation for an enlightened
patriotism.

Of the illustrations several are from the facile
and graceful pencil of Mr. Raffles Davison, who
has also felt the charm of Sussex scenery
a charm that Mr. A. C. Swinburne has put into
the melodious lines, written between Lancing
and Shorham :

Fair and dear is the land's face here.

And fair man's work as a man's may be ;

Dear and fair as the sunbright air

Is here the record that speaks him free ;

Free by birth of a sacred earth, and regent ever of all the sea.



BYGONE SUSSEX.



%anfc of the Soutb Sajrons.

INTRODUCTION.

SUSSEX, the "land of the South Saxons,"
has had many chances and changes within
the historic period. The traces of the Roman
conquerors may still be seen in the relics of three
great military roads, and in the encampments on
its hills. The Saxon Aella pushed the Britons
eastward at the great battle of Mercredesbourne.
and founded the Sud-seax Kingdom, which was
the smallest of the Heptarchy, and at last was
merged in Wessex by Caedwalla. Saint Wilfrid
not only converted the people of what was then
the most savage part of the island, but taught
them the art of the fisherman, so that they could
secure other than eels as the harvest of the river
and sea. Thus the South Saxons found it profit-
able to abandon their " vain idols." King
Edilwach and his wife Ebba gave land at Selsey
for the endowment of the first bishopric for



2 BYGONE SUSSEX.

Sussex. Earl Godwin's possessions at Bosham
became the home of his famous son, and it was
thence that Harold journeyed to Normandy.
The name of the last of the Saxon Kings is for
ever connected with that famous battle when
England was lost and won. Nor is William the
Conqueror less associated with Sussex on whose
coast he landed, and where he fought the decisive
battle that made the Normans masters of the
realm. Pevensey, that remarkable combination
of Roman fortress and Norman castle, was
besieged by the Red King. Arundel Castle was
the scene of the reception of the Empress Maud
by the Queen Dowager Adeliza. At Lewes was
fought the great battle in which Henry III.
sustained a crushing defeat by his barons. Peace
had her victories too, and Sussex was honoured
by royalty in stately progresses. Henry VIII.
received a royal welcome at Michelgrove,
Edward VI. at Petworth, "Good Queen Bess"
at Cowdray, and George I. at Stanstead. In
modern times Brighton grew up under the
patronage of George IV. and William IV. It
was from Brighton then the little fishing town
of Brighthelmstone that Charles II. escaped to
France, and it was at Newhaven that Louis



THE LAND OF THE SOUTH SAXONS. 3

Phillippe and his Queen, disguised as Mr. and
Mrs. Smith, landed on their escape from France.

We do not now think of Sussex as a seat of
manufacture, yet here was the earliest seat of the
iron industry. Roman coins have been found in
the old cinder beds, and in the Middle Ages the
iron- works flourished greatly. The tomb of
Henry III. was guarded by Sussex railings, and
the horses that went to the fatal field of Bannock-
burn were shod with Sussex horse-shoes. When
artillery came into use, the first cannon were cast
here. The great forests which covered nearly all
the county were destroyed in the process of
smelting. The savage animals that once roamed
in the sylvan glades were exterminated, though
the wild cat survived at Ashdown to the sixteenth
century. But by the beginning of the eighteenth
century, the Sussex iron industry was on the
wane, and the manufacture passed from the South
to the North of England. The manufacture of
glass, though perhaps never very extensive, was
another branch of the early trade of Sussex. The
shepherd and the fisherman are the characteristic
special types of the industry of the county. The
Southdown breed of sheep has attained great
fame. To the maritime industry we owe the



4 BYGONE SUSSEX.

Cinque Ports, of which Sussex claimed the Port of
Hastings, the ancient towns of Rye and Win-
chelsea, with those less noble members the towns
of Pevensey and Seaford, and the five villages of
Bulverhithe, Petit Shaw, Hidney, Beakesbourne,
and Grange. The " barons of the Cinque Ports "
were men of mark in the Middle Ages. They
found ships for the defence of the empire. They
had their own chancery, and at the coronation
they bore aloft the silken canopy. Smuggling,
the prohibited importation of brandy, tea, and
other articles, and "owling" the prohibited
exportation of wool or sheep were once great
activities on the Sussex coast, but they are now
happily as extinct as the Sussex iron-trade.

There are many names of interest associated
with the county. " Many shires have done
worthily," says Fuller, "but Sussex surmounteth
them all, having bred five Archbishops of Canter-
bury." These were John Peckham, Thomas
Bradwardine, Thomas Arundell, and William
Juxon. Sussex gave Percy Bysshe Shelley to
English poetry, and John Selden to learning.
The Howards, the Fiennes, the Sackvilles, the
Pelhams, the Ashburnhams, the Percys, and the
Montagues, are amongst its noble and gentle



THE LAND OF THE SOUTH SAXONS. 5

families who have won distinction. The three
Sherley brothers gained a remarkable position in
the seventeenth century. The three Palmer
brothers had also picturesque careers. The three
Smiths of Chichester have a humble niche in the
temple of fame for contributions to art and verse.
Jack Cade has been claimed as a Sussex man. The
gentle and unfortunate poet, William Collins, was
a native. Dr. Andrew Borde, " Merry Andrew,"
was born at Pevensey. The county claims four
saints, Richard de la Wych, the canonised Bishop
of Chichester, St. Wilfrid, St. Cuthman, and
Lewinna, the virgin martyr, slain by the Saxons
of the seventh century. The names of John
Fletcher and the unfortunate Thomas Otway are
illustrious in dramatic literature. Other Sussex
worthies are Pell, the mathematician, James
Hurdis, the gentle poet, Richard Cobden, the
apostle of free trade, the Hares, Dr. E. D. Clarke,
the traveller, Henry Morley, and M. A. Lower,
the antiquary. Gibbon, the historian, is buried at
Fletching ; and Cartwright, the inventor of the
power loom at Battle. Nor should we forget Henry
Burwash, Bishop of Lincoln, of whom Fuller says :
" Such as mind to be merry may read the pleasant
story of his apparition, being condemned after his



6 BYGONE SUSSEX.

death to be viridis viridarius, 'a green forester,'
because in his lifetime he had violently enclosed
other men's grounds into his park." William
Barlow, Bishop of Chichester, had a prosperous
career, in spite of an enforced exile in the days of
Queen Mary. His wife's epitaph is rendered by
Fuller :-

" Barlow's wife Agathe, doth here remain,
Bishop, then exile, Bishop then again.
So long she lived, so well his children sped,
She saw five Bishops her five daughters wed."

Less fortunate, in a worldly sense, were the ten
Protestants, burned in one fire at Lewes, or the
other sufferers in that time of persecution. But
Sussex has had worthies of all creeds Gregory
Martin, the Roman Catholic exile, who had the
principal hand in what is called the Douay Bible ;
Matthew Caffyn, the controversial " Battle-axe of
Sussex ;" Richard Challoner, the learned titular
Bishop of Debra ; and Colonel John Michelborne,
who was Governor of Londonderry, and held that
city for William III. in the famous siege in which
he lost his wife and seven children by famine and
disease.

Sussex, whilst not claiming the first place for
the grandeur of its churches, has many that are of



THE LAND OF THE SOUTH SAXONS. 7

great beauty and interest, though it must be
sorrowfully admitted that the " restorer " has been
abroad, and, seeking what he could devour, has
destroyed much. Yet there are still relics of
Saxon architecture as at Sompting, Bosham, and
Worth, whilst the Norman builder can be traced
at the Shorehams, Bramber, Steyning, Shipley,
and elsewhere. Chichester, Rye, and East-
bourne are amongst the transitional structures.
Early English and Decorated may be seen at
Arundel, Poynings, and Mayfield, whilst Winchel-
sea, Alfriston, and Etchingham supply instances
of later Decorated. There are round towers at
Southease and Piddinghoe. The Sussex churches
contain some fine specimens of monumental art,
noble tombs like those of the Fitzalans at Arundel,
and the Fiennes at Herstmonceux, and brasses
such as those at Battle and Etchingham.

The antiquary and the lover of the picturesque
cannot fail to be delighted with the ruined castles
of Bodiam, Pevensey, Herstmonceux, Hastings,
Bramber, Amberley, Arundel, Halnaker, Lewes,
Scotway, Camber, and the Ypres Tower at Rye.
The religious orders have left their mark in the
ruined abbeys and monasteries of Battle, Boxgrove,
Tortington, Hardham, Shulbrede, Lewes, Wil-



8 BYGONE SUSSEX.

mington, Mayfield, Robertsbridge, and Win-
chelsea.

It is an old complaint against Sussex that its
roads are so miry and muddy as to be a terror to
the traveller, whether he be on horseback, in a
vehicle, or a plain wayfaring man. Defoe saw,
not far from Lewes, "an ancient lady, and a lady
of very good quality," riding to the village church
in a coach drawn by six oxen, whose united
strength was necessary to cope with the difficulties
of the road. And when Prince George of Den-
mark journeyed to Petworth to meet Charles VI.
of Spain, the last nine miles of the journey
occupied six hours. Matters have greatly im-
proved since then, and there is no special difficulty
in visiting any part. The geologist and the
botanist will find ample reward in his excursions,
and the woodlands are not silent of song, though
the ornithologist must lament the disappearance
of some that were formerly denizens. The
student of folk-lore may pick up curious items
about the " pharisees," and learn how magpies
were shoed at Piddinghoe, and see at Mayfield
the very tongs with which St. Dunstan pulled
the devil's nose.

Sussex is notable for the variety of its interest.



THE LAND OF THE SOUTH SAXONS. 9

The breezy South Downs, the bold hill of
Chanctonbury, the great rift of the Devil's Dyke,
the wide extending Weald, the quaint old-world
villages nestling amid the trees, the busy modern
towns of Brighton and St. Leonards, the stately
mansions of Goodwood, Petworth, and Norman-
hurst, the ruined castles and monasteries
eloquent of bygone ages, and the mighty waters
of the ocean for ever washing its shores, all
combine to make Sussex a land of enchantment
for those who have the salt of the sea in their
blood, who delight in the beauty of hill and
woodland, or who care to muse upon the intricate
movements of those forces that have made
the nation. For Sussex was the scene of
the most decisive incident in the whole
of England's history, that great victory of William
the Conqueror, when the Norman was grafted
upon the Saxon stock, producing in due season that
strongest and most conglomerate of races, the
" true born Englishmen," who, scorning the narrow
limits of their island home, have since gone forth
to the ends of the earth, and taken possession of
no small portion of the globe, and have founded
an empire which is the largest and most populous
in the world.



jparfcon Brasses.

A PARDON brass is one which promises to
the bystander, who shall offer up a certain
number of prayers for the repose of those whose
grave he beholds, a remission of a portion of the
punishment due to his own sins and to be
endured in a future life. There are three
remarkable instances of this monumental form
of " indulgence " in connection with Sussex.

In the great church of Winchelsea is the
gravestone of Reginald Allard. The brass
which once decorated it is gone, but round the
edges of the tombstone the inscription can still
be partially made out. In its complete form it
read : " Reginald allard q'i morout le xv jour de
avrill 1' an m ccc viii gist icy. Dieu de s' Alme
ait merci. Q'i pur s' alme priera 1 jour de
pardon auera." Here it will be seen the
promise is given of fifty days' remission of punish-
ment in return for a single prayer for the soul of
the dead man.

* Sussex Archaological Collections, xxiii., 190.



PARDON BRASSES. n

John, the seventh Earl Warren, was buried in
1305, at Lewes Priory, with an inscription, which
Dugdale has preserved :

" Vous qe passer ou bouche close,
Prier pour cely ke cy repose :
En vie come vous esti jadis fu,
Et vous tiel serretz comme je su ;
Sir Johon Count de Garenne gist icy ;
Dieu de sa alme eit mercy,
Ky pur sa alme priera
Trois mill jours de pardon avera."

In the fine church of Herstmonceux, sacred in
our own time by its many memories of Julius
Hare, his brother and his friends, is a brass to
the memory of Sir William Fiennes, an ancestor
of the powerful Lords Dacre of the south. The
inscription is : " William Ffienles Chiualer, qy
morust le xviii jour de Janever 1' an del
Incarnacon nre [Seigneur] Jh' u Cryst m cccc
v gist ycy [Dieu de sa alme eyt mercie] qy pur
sa alme devostement Pater noster et Ave priera
vj xx jours de pardon en auera." * Here it will
be noticed that the precise prayers to be said
are named, and instead of fifty days, one hundred
and twenty days of pardon are promised.

The subject is one of great curiosity and

* Sussex Arckceologiced Collections , xxiii., 167.



12 BYGONE SUSSEX.

interest. The Sussex brasses can only be explain-
ed by reference to those existing elsewhere, and
to the custom of the Middle Ages in relation to
" indulgences." Dr. Fairbank has called attention
to indulgences granted by the Archbishop of York
at the close of the thirteenth and beginning of the
fourteenth century. Thus, in 1286, there is one of
ten days for the soul of a man buried at Dover,
one of an unmentioned term for a man buried at
Kirkstall, one for a lady whose body is buried at
" Bysse-mede " and whose heart is buried at Cam-
bridge., and for another lady buried at Lincoln.
There is also one of ten days for a man and wife
who are buried at Stapleford. Although it is not
expressly stated, these indulgences were probably
granted to those who prayed for the well-being of
these departed persons. There can be no doubt
in the historic instance of Eleanor, the well-
beloved wife of Edward I. The King wrote to
Archbishop Romano desiring the prayers of the
faithful for the dead Queen, and the Archbishop
granted a forty days' indulgence to those who
should offer prayer on behalf of Queen Eleanor's
soul. This was granted 28th November, and
again 8th December, 1290. Again, in 1319,
Archbishop Melton gave an indulgence of thirty



PARDON BRASSES. 13

days to all who would hear the mass of Robert
de Bardleby, Canon of York and the King's
clerk, on Easter day, and pray for the good estate
of the said Robert and his father and mother.
In these York grants it is noticeable they are not
made merely within the limits of the diocese, but
apparently were granted for any locality.*

Mr. J. G. Waller observes : " The announce-
ment of pardon for saying prayers for the
deceased is very commonly found on monumental
brasses, but never before has the promised
reward been of so liberal a character [as in that
of the Macclesfield monument, to be mentioned
presently]. In the earlier examples, those of the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, a very
common form of inscription appears, in which
forty days of pardon is promised to those
praying at the tomb. This occurs so frequently
that it seems to have been the most usual term.
About this period very many similar ones occur,
but the largest amount of ' pardon ' vouchsafed
appears on a small brass, having two demi figures,
in Heylesdon Church, Norfolk, where ten years
and forty days are granted. This is an unusual

* Transactions of the Cambridge University Association of Brass
Collectors, No. xi. , vol. ii. , p. 9. Several instances in this paper are given
by Dr. Fairbank. See also No. x., p. 19.



14 BYGONE SUSSEX.

instance, and the date of the monument is about
the close of the fourteenth century."* What-
ever the multitude of pardon brasses may have
been, comparatively few are recorded, and the
extent of the remission promised by them varies
very considerably, and is sometimes greatly in
excess of the limit mentioned by Mr. Waller.

At Cobham, in Kent, is the tomb of Dame
Joan de Cobham, who died in 1298. The
inscription is : " Dame Jone de Kobeham gist
isi Deus de sa alme eit merci ki ke pur le alme
priera, quarante jours de pardon avera."

At Hellesdon, Norfolk, is a brass assigned to
the year 1370, and the inscription, after giving
the names of Richard de Heylesdone, and Beat-
rice, his wife, says: "qi p lour almes p' era x.
aans & xl. jours de pardoun auera."

William, Marquis of Berkeley, who died in
1491, and was buried in the Friars Augustin,
London [now " Austinfriars," Old Broad Street],
left a testament in which he says : " Also I will
that my exors shall purchase a pardon from
Rome, as large as might be, for plein remission
of the sins of all those who shall be confessed
and contrite at Longbrigge from evensong to

* Journal British Arctueological Association, v. , 259.



PARDON BRASSES. 15

evensong in the feast of the Trinity, and there
say Paternosters and 3 aves for my soul and the
soul aforesaid."

In the middle aisle of York Cathedral there
was buried John Albain, painter, and his wife
Alice, for praying for whom eighty days' pardon
is granted ; there is no date. An undated tomb,
once in St. Neots, Huntingdonshire, gives one
hundred days. That of William de Basynge,
prior of Winchester, promised three years one
hundred and forty-five days of pardon. Dr.
Rock explains it as a pardon of forty days multi-
plied by the number of bishops, thirty-one, who
had concurred in the grant. * This he regards as
an abuse.

At Great Coates, Lincolnshire, on the brass of
Sir Thomas Barnardiston and his lady, 1503, is a
similar grant of pardon :

" Of yo charite say a pr noster aue & creed,
& ye schall haue a C days of p'don to yo r med."

The epitaph formerly on the brass of John
Marsham and wife, St. John's, Maddermarket,
Norwich, 1525, illustrates the change of religious
opinion at this period. The original inscription
was in ten English lines, and concluded :

* Church of our Fathers, vol. Hi., p. 74.



1 6 BYGONE SUSSEX.

" Ye shall not lose your charitable devocion
XII Cardinals have granted you xii dayes of Pardon."

The plate was afterwards reversed, and the new
inscription engraved on the back, " Of your
Charyte," etc., and it concluded, " on whose
soulles," etc.

Richard Hollinworth, in describing the Strange-
ways Chantry in Manchester Church, observes
"In it there is a pardon under the picture of the
Resurrection of Christ from the Sepulchre. The
pardon for V. Pater nr. V aves and a crede, is
xxvi thousand and xxvi dayes of pardon." This
brass has long since disappeared, nor is there
anything to show with what particular tomb it
was connected.

The promise contained in the Manchester
pardon is identical as to the term with the inscrip-
tion on a brass which still remains at Macclesfield,
although it is now in an imperfect state. The
picture in the last-named represents the miracul-
ous mass of Saint Gregory the Great, and shows
Christ as appearing to him in answer to his
prayer for a manifestation of the reality of the
presence in the sacrament. The " Mass of St.
Gregory " was not infrequently chosen by artists,
but Mr. Earwaker has pointed out that this is the



PARDON BRASSES. 17

only known brass dealing with it. Hollin worth
was probably not well posted in matters of
Catholic art, but he can scarcely have confused
subjects so different as the mass of St. Gregory
and Christ rising from the sepulchre, or we might
be tempted to think that the Manchester and
Macclesfield brasses were replicas of each other.
The suggestion has indeed been made that the
brass formerly at Manchester is now at Maccles-
field, but a picture of the latter, taken before the
time of Hollinworth, is in existence. If, how-
ever, the Manchester brass was mutilated so as to
make the figure of the saint less striking, the
picture might then easily be taken to represent
the resurrection of Christ. The Macclesfield
pardon is part of the memorial brass of Roger
Legh and Elizabeth, his wife. She died in 1489,
and he in 1506, so that the monument may be
referred to the early years of the sixteenth
century. It is noteworthy that whilst the inscrip-
tion which records the deaths is in Latin, the
pardon, which occupies a distinct position in the
design, is in English, and reads : " The p'don for
saying of v. pater nost r & v aves and a cred is
xxvi thousand yeres and xxvi dayes of pardon."
It is engraved in Mr. J. P. Earwaker's East



i8 BYGONE SUSSEX.

Cheshire. These enormous grants of indulgence
are stigmatised by Dr. Rock as "spurious and
imaginary." *

It is greatly to be regretted that there is no
known sketch of the Manchester brass, nor a
description sufficiently detailed to show whether
it was a " Mass of St. Gregory " or some form of
the " Image of Pity." Indulgences in the form
of broadsides, printed from wooden blocks, were
very popular at the close of the fifteenth century
and early part of the sixteenth. These curious
relics of Christian art have been described by the
late Henry Bradshaw, who says : "In the cuts
found in Holland, Belgium, France, and Germany,
there is a certain amount of similarity. St.
Gregory is kneeling before the altar ; our Lord
appears on the altar ; and all around the back-
ground is filled with the symbols of the
passion scattered around. In many copies
of the Primer, or Book of Horce, written
in England, a picture of the 'Imago Pietatis '
or ' Arma Crucifixi ' is prefixed to the Psalms
of the Passion. St. Gregory does not appear,
but a half-length figure of our Lord appearing
above a tomb or altar, with the symbols

* Church of our Fathers, p. 77.



PARDON BRASSES. 19

grouped round him."* These symbols were
about the year 1487, formed into a border
for the central figure. In Caxton's Primer
issued about that year, there is a figure of
Christ standing half out of a tomb or altar.
The inscription promises three thousand two
hundred and fifty-seven years of pardon for the
devout saying of five paternosters, five aves, and
a creed. This is repeated in an edition of the
Horce believed to have been printed in 1494 by
Wynkyn de Worde in the house of Caxton. A
broadside indulgence printed by Caxton about
1490 represented Christ wounded and rising from
a tomb. The inscription likewise grants three
thousand two hundred and fifty-seven years of
pardon. The " Ecce Homo" indulgence dis-
covered by Mr. W. Y. Ottley, is now in the


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