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Brighton Fish Barrow Boys on the seafront

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Portslade old Village

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Brighton Seafront 1930s

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Brighton Station Frontal View

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Sussex Village Store

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West Pier at night

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High Street Portslade 1970s

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Original Brighton Station

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Building Brighton Marina

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Typical Sussex Railway Station 1900s

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Another View of Brighton Railway Station

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Portslade Old Village

Sussex Life

Under the Skin of Sussex.

Sussex is, like all others counties in England, diverse in many subjects and aspects.  

There are countless stories to read on all types of subjects that will be sure to thrill, amaze and entertain you whilst you browse these items.  More factual topics include the Wildlife of Sussex, the Flora and Fauna of this county, not forgetting it's rich historic past and the wonderous tales that came about because of it's placing, not just in history, but also in it's location, that plays a major part in it's development in the uniqueness of this place.

There will never be a definitive website on Sussex as there is far too much to record and display, far to many things have been lost forever in the mist's of time, and too many memories have been left to wither into lore to ever be resurected and put on display for the public to learn about.

I hope in these pages that we touch upon the richness of depth and feeling that can be portrayed to the casual observer and in turn help them understand the true Sussex that lies therein. 

In the Furze

It scuttled past me out of the undergrowth near the Devil's Dyke and lay hid in the grass the far side of the golf-green.
bunny pic

Four lusty men, tending that green, forming square, then drove it into a cup in the ground, where one of them siezed it. half trampling it first with his heavy hoof.

When I got close, I saw a tiny rabbit scarce bigger than a guinea-pig, trembling in the large palm of the trampler: its little ears laid back and bright beady eves, wide-staring with fear, but otherwise unhurt.

"Well," I asked its captor, " and now what are you going to do with it?"  I knew him well, for he often came for beer to my inn, where he drank and talked more than he ever listened; and I disliked, him intensely.

"Why, eat him of course," he rejoined, rudely, "what do you think? He'll make a juicy little pie."

I Iooked down at the future " juicy little pie." that exquisitely coloured and shaped ball of brown silk, took, it into my hand and, feeling its hammering heart, wondered however I was to save it.

I asked. " What do You want for it?"

Read more: In the Furze

Sussex Shepherds

Shepherds in those days (about 1850) were treated much more as friends than mere hired servants and were generally consulted by their masters as to what fields should be sown with this and that, without hurting the run of the flock: consequently there was a better understanding between master and man than we generally see these days, though some of the old conditions and traditions still exist in parts.

"Shepherd's Acres" are still to be found on many estates.  Frequently the shepherd held by inheritance a piece of land known as "Tenantry" which he let to his master.  His wages, true, were small, about fourteen pounds a year, but then he had some thirty or forty "yoes" of his own for which he had to pay when he took the situation.

shepherd 002

These "yoes" ran with his master's flock and fared just the same as the rest did, and when any sheep were sold the shepherd received a proportionate part of the money realised, and the same with the sale of the wool after sheep-shearing.  In those days the owner had little to do with the flock, leaving all to his shepherd.  This plan made the shepherds more painstaking and gave them a greater insight about things than they seem now to possess.

Yet, many of the existing shepherds of the South Downs, though they cannot now as of old reckon themselves men of property, are nevertheless still men of family who could easily prove by parish registers an unbroken line of pastoral progenitors for some hundreds of years back.

Edward Shoosmith 1932

My Ghost Story No.2

My second ghost story also happened in Southern Ireland.

After our stay at Castle Ross in County Meath ended on Friday morning we had the rest of the day to travel down to County Cork in the South West corner of Ireland.
castle townsend front
Castle Townsend - Our room was on the right top floor

We had booked a stay at Castle Townsend for 5 days arriving on the Friday and leaving on the Wednesday. Our bedroom was situated in the right tower overlooking the inlet.

Read more: My Ghost Story No.2

My First Ghost Story

This story is close to home because it was myself that experienced it first hand.

It happened back in 2007 when my wife and I went on holiday to Southern Ireland.  We booked a stay at Ross Castle in County Meath for 5 nights on the top floor of the keep.  The castle itself consists of the old square keep with an annexe to the side connected by a glass, stone and wood foyer.

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon to a deserted castle and parked the car just outside of the keep as you can see from the photo below.

Read more: My First Ghost Story

Subcategories

Tales of Folklore still survive, past down to young people and told with great relish and gusto

The 'stuff that legends are made from', is probably an apt description to describe many of the tales that are passed from generation to generation, some spanning many centuries. Around the world, stories are told about all manner of things and happenings. Some will be forever lost as time goes by, but others will go on and grow in stature as the tales are embellished by the story tellers.

Here then are some such stories, all from the Sussex area. The links on the left here will take you to some wonderful local Folklore stories and tales from yesteryear.

Below are some quaint customs and folklores that imbibed the Sussex folk with their own uniqueness. Some of these sayings and lore bridge county boundaries and are also used within other areas besides sussex. Where this is the case, the stories or lore usually have subtle differences which may be more pertinent to the local area.

But in all cases the lores still survive, at least until the present days. Perhaps this is the first century where these tales have been in danger of being lost forever in the mists of time. I amongst many other researchers will attempt to keep these lores from being lost by recording them again in the newest form of storage - the digital age............

'Red sky at night, shepherd's delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning.'

'Mackerrel sky, notlong dry. ' Not infrequently, Sussex folk score over the Meteorological Office with its satellites, spotter planes and advanced technical hardware.

George Attrill of Fittleworth. The shelves of his cottage held several home made cures, including an ointment made from Adder fat, which was good for ear-ache and several other complaints.

Many natural features are associated with the Devil and, in particular, his constant battle with local saints. Devil's Dyke. near Brighton, is said to be the unfinished attempt by the Devil to breach the Downs overnight and flood the Weald and all its churches. He was foiled in this enterprise by St. Cuthman, who made the cocks crow early, and an old lady who held up a candle behind a sieve to simulate the rising sun!

At Mayfield, Satan, disguised as a young woman, tried to tempt St.Dunstan, a blacksmith, who pinched the Devil's nose with red-hot tongs. With a mighty leap to Tunbridge Wells the devil cooled his nose in a spring which has tasted sulphurous ever since.

Sussex Smock showing the beautiful smocking which was worked on some of these garments.

Cuckoo Fair

In the days when simple folk were unaware of the migratory habits of birds, the people of East Sussex believed that all the cuckoos were collected by an old woman at the end of June and kept in a basket until the following April when a representative bird was released on the 14th. of that month at Heathfield's Cuckoo Fair, so signalling the arrival of spring.

The old ways are still adhered to in many of the truly rural communities, places untouched by the commercial world where the village fair is declared open by the squire's good lady, and there is not a Womble or telly personality in sight, where the village hall is reserved for jolly harvest suppers, jam and cake shows and country dancing, not for bingo and trendy barbecues. Long may it be so.

Several giants have lived in Sussex, including one at Brede who ate children. The Long Man of Wilmington is said by some to be the outline of a giant killed on this spot by a hammer thrown by another who lived at Firle, and the legendary Bevis of Hampton, the subject of a fourteenth-century poem, had connections with Sussex.

Ghosts are numerous. Many occur in relation to historical events such as King Harold at Battle. Others are more recent and were connected with the smuggling trade, for example the ghostly drummer at Herstmonceux Castle. Smugglers had a vested interest in keeping inquisitive eyes from certain places and many of the 'ghosts' were never seen again when the revenue men cleared up the smugglers.

Many of the old customs of the county are associated with religious holidays, or the agricultural year. When holidays were few and hours long, any excuse for a celebration was taken to relieve the monotony of everyday life.

Since the Second World War once widespread customs have disappeared, or occur only locally. A number have survived and continue to flourish and the revival of interest in past customs has resulted in some becoming re-established. Besides these traditional events, many more recently established ones have been added to the Sussex calendar. Many villages and towns have fetes and fairs, norris dancers, and so on.

'All folks as come to Sussex
Must follow Sussex wyas,
And when they've larned
to know us well
There's no place else
they'd wish to dwell
In all their blessed days.
There ant no place like Sussex
Until you goes Above,
But Sussex will be Sussex,
And Sussex won't be druv!
(traditional)

Cissbury was the scene of an elaborate story which circulated during the 1860s. It was said that a blocked-up tunnel ran underground from Offington Hall to Cissbury Ring (which is some 2 miles distant), and that at the far end of the tunnel there lay a treasure. The owner of the Hall 'had offered half the money to anyone who would clear out the subterranean passage, and several persons had begun digging, but all had been driven back by large snakes springing at them with open mouths and angry hisses'

The alleged existence of the tunnel is still remembered in Worthing, though Offington Hall has been demolished and the treasure and its guardians have slipped into the mists of time.

Goodening

On St. Thomas's Day, December 21st. it was once the custom for the poorer women of the community to go out Goodening, that is to visit the better-heeled to gossip about the past over hot elderberry wine and plum cake, and to receive 'doles' either in money or materials to furnish home comforts for the celebration of Christmas festivities.

Fairies were said to reward hard-working girls by slipping a small silver coin into their shoes while they were asleep! Presumably it was their mistress who saw to it that this belief was kept up!


The Sugar Loaf Folly

This section of the website will hold the odd things about Sussex - whatever they are. When I say Oddities, I mean unusual or strange things, or just things out of the ordinary. If you know where I can find any more oddities of Sussex which are not listed here, please E-mail me and I shall go and look, inspect and photograph it for the site.

The Mystery Towers
Towards the end of the Great War, (1914-18), the construction of two huge circular towers of reinforced concrete and steel, was started near the harbour mouth at Southwick (Shoreham harbour). The air photo's (pics 8 & 9) shows their exact location in the harbour. To the people who marvelled at their size as they grew on the south bank of the harbour they became known as the 'Mystery Towers'.

Whilst they have faded into memory, the Mystery Towers are no longer a mystery! These were to be the first of twelve towers and they were intended for defense purposes, across the straits of Dover, for instance, where perhaps, a narrow entrance for shipping with a submarine boom could have been effected. The fact was that the war ended before they were ready and they were never used in anger or defense!

Around 1920 it was decided that one should be floated to a position south east of the Isle of Wight, then sunk and grounded to form a light tower to replace the existing Nab lightship, and so the Nab tower was born. No use could be found for the other tower and by 1924 it had been ignominiously dismantled.

The size of the project can be gauged by comparing the height of the workmen and their huts with the concrete bases. With upto 5,000 men engaged in the project as builders and security personel, and the immense amount of steel to be used in the making of these towers, it placed them as a major project during the First World War. The intended future location of the towers was presumably known by the Defense Ministry.

It was however, not the first time this idea had been thought of and a similar structure was made in 1785 and was to be sunk in the Channel on the road to Cherbourg.


For more information goto this Website; http://mystery.adur.org.uk

Foreword

What do you think of when someone says the word ' Smugglers' to you!

Does it conjure up romantic and adventurous scenes of Sussex men bringing their illicit cargo's to land upon the quiet and deserted havens of Sussex!

Or perhaps the picture is of swarthy, furtive figures dashing like elusive fairies between the rays of the full moon into the shadowy safety of the trees!

However your perception of the men who plied this trade in days gone by there can be no doubt the trade was carried out in Sussex with much gusto by persons from all walks of life and looked upon as a respectable way of earning a living.

The height of the smuggling days were in the 1500 to 1800's but began much earlier in the 1200's, not with the importation of goods into England, but with taking them out.

Further to this, the type of goods being smuggled out of England at that time had nothing to do with fine cloth, spirits, or such, but with sheep's wool! You can read the full story in the contraband story link.

Through the years, the nature of smuggling changed and adapted according to the laws at the time and the taxes payable on the goods concerned along with the scarcity of the items. Smuggling, far from being a trade for heinous villains was looked upon by most of the population as being a fair and honest way of making ones way in the world.

Even in modern times smuggling has survived and today an illicit trade in spirits, beers, wines, tobacco and even humans operates every day. 

The days of smuggling being a respectable trade have long since ceased to be!

Hastings Street
Hastings Street Sussex

Hastings Along with most other small towns on the Sussex coast was rife with smugglers and smuggling.  The narrow streets and lack of communal lighting made it much easier for the furtive figures of smugglers to ply their trade and yet remain anonymous to the local population.

It also made it very difficult for excise men or soldiers to pin-point their whereabouts to be in with a chance to apprehend them whilst running their goods between the vessels and the destination of the contraband.

Smuggling Days: Page 1

One thinks of the old-time smuggler with a feeling of sympathy which could never be bestowed upon any such modern adventurer. One thinks of him as a person delighting in life, who found the contraband a cold thing compared to the fun and adventure of running it by land and sea.

He loved his drop of " moonshine " (smuggled brandy) did the smuggler, but he loved life and humour more. Better than anything he loved his comrades, and in the whole history of smuggling his desertion of a wounded comrade is unknown. The pure-bred smuggler was often a popular figure in his native village and no one would willingly see him taken by the preventive agents. In former times nearly everyone in the district of Sussex within reach of the coast looked upon smuggling as a kind of dashing diversion, or sport, which gave a spice of interest to the otherwise monotonous calendar of rural events.

Even our old friend the Rev. W. D. Parish, as he sat in his great dim library at Selmeston writing his Sussex dictionary could not help slipping a kindly word here and there for the smugglers, and (oh! tut-tut!) he even goes so far as to admit that he allowed his church to be used as a storehouse for contraband tea, tubs, and silk stockings.

" Darks " is a word used by sailors and smugglers to indicate moonless nights, and at those times when the moon did not shine, the " boys " were out, all up and down the coast, to receive and run any cargoes which were being landed. The Rev. W. D. Parish says :

"The labourer was always ready to help whenever the darks favour ' a run ' ; the farmer allowed his horses to be borrowed from his stable; the parson (certainly at Selmeston) expressed no surprise at finding tea and tubs buried in the churchyard vaults ; the squire asked no questions ; the excisemen compounded with the smugglers, and when a difficulty arose as to price, and hard blows were struck, the doctor bound up the wounds for nothing, and made no inquiry, as to the dallops of tea or kegs of French brandy, which from time to time were found mysteriously deposited on his doorstep at day-break."

Even the village dogs were well disposed towards the smugglers, refusing to bark when they made their nocturnal visits to inland farms, and children were put to bed with a strict injunction, " Now, mind if you hear the ' gentlemen ' riding along the lane, don't you go a-peeping out of the window , . . just you watch the wall and say nothing. "

Peeping at the smugglers might lead to their identification and arrest and so it was looked upon as a heinous offence.
The unwritten law of the village in regard to smugglers was to always " disremember " them, or rather to deny their existence.

Even the word " smuggler " was taboo ; an unlucky word to speak aloud, and old Sussexians, if they admitted to some evidence of a force or energy which caused dallops of tea to gravitate to the village grocer and tubs of contraband brandy to assemble in churchyard vaults, referred vaguely to the " gentlemen," shrugged their shoulders, and then became remarkably silent. It was the old principle of " no name, no pack drill."

Kipling, in 'A Smuggler's Song', as usual sums up the whole situation in a few vigorous lines :

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by !

Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark,
Brandy for the Parson,
'Baccy for the Clerk ;

Laces for a lady; letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!
Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine ;
Don't you shout to come and look, or take 'em for your play;
Put the brushwood back again - and they'll be gone next day!

If the sport of smuggling was lucrative, it was also extremely hazardous, and tombstone inscriptions in the Sussex churchyards tell many tales of desperate encounters between the gentlemen and the preventive men. One smuggler shot at sea by a revenue officer, both of them following their vocations at the time, was buried in the churchyard of All Saints, Hastings, in 1783. The defunct smuggler, removed from all worldly hatred, thus speaks from his gravestone:

May it be known, tho' I am clay,
A base man took my life away ;
But freely him I do forgive
And hope in heaven we shall live,

Patcham churchyard also contains a grave to a smuggler, Daniel Scales, who was unfortunately shot, November 7th, 1796 This is a polite version of the affair, for this worthy smuggler was killed in fair fight by a revenue officer ! I do not know if the tombstone is now recognizable, but the following inscription was once to be seen on it :

Alas! swift flew the fatal lead Which pierced through the young man's head,
He instant fell, resigned his breath,
And closed his languid eyes in death.
All ye who do this stone draw near,
Oh! pray let fall the pitying tear,
From the sad instance may we all
Prepare to meet Jehovah's call.

About the year 1720, Brighton was very heavily engaged in the smuggling industry, indeed fish and contraband were the only staples of the town at that time. The sea had continuously battered the houses on the shore, and most of the important residents had moved to other towns, leaving property to crumble and go to ruin. The deserted houses soon become infested with smugglers, who welcomed the solitary and ruinous state of the whole seashore and the absence of law and authority.

The old inhabitants were a very tough lot if we may credit John Burton writing in 1751 :

A village on the sea coast, lying in a valley gradually sloping and yet deep. It is not indeed contemptible as to size, for it is thronged with people, though the inhabitants are mostly very needy and wretched in their mode of living, occupied in the employment of fishing, robust in their bodies, laborious, skilled in all nautical crafts, and, as it is said, terrible cheats of the custom-house officers.

Departing therefore to the inn, like the heroes of Homer after a battle, so did we perform our part most manfully, and then turned to bed, intending to sleep ; but this sweet lulling of the senses was begrudged us by some sailors arriving all night long, and in the middle of their drink, singing out with their barbarous voices, clapping and making all manner of noises. The women also disturbed us, quarrelling and fighting about their fish.

" Nor lacked there in the house Mud-footed Thetis with her briny friends."

An earlier account of the town shows it as a ruinous no-man's-land. This peep at the condition of Brighton in 1720 is from the pen of John Warburton :

" I passed through a ruinous village called Hove, which the sea is daily eating up. It is in a fair way of being quite deserted ; but the church being large, and a good distance from the shore, may perhaps escape. A good mile farther, going along the beach, I arrived at Brighthelmstead, a large, ill-built, irregular market town, mostly inhabited by seafaring men, who choose their residence here, as being situated on the main, and convenient for their going on shore, on their passing and re-passing in the coasting grade.

The town is likely to share the same fate with the last, the sea having washed away the half of it ; whole streets being now deserted, and the beach almost covered with walls of houses being almost entire, the lime or cement being strong enough, when thrown down, to resist the violence of the waves. The church is situated on the downs, at a furlong
distance from the town; it is large, but nothing about it worthy of remark; or in the town; there not being any person of fortune in the town but one Masters (or Morley ?) a gentleman of good birth."

Smuggling Days: Page 2

For fifty years the Brighton smugglers employed the ruinous old houses by the shore as " bolt holes " and " smouting places," but in 1747 Dr. Russell, the celebrated physician, moved to the fisher village and attracted to it a considerable measure of prosperity by his zealous championship of sea-bathing for diseases of the glands.

With the influx of visitors and residents into Brighton the smuggling fraternity were considerably hampered in their traffic. New houses were erected; old ones were demolished, and the sea-frontage improved with breakwaters and provided, in parts, with a banked up carriage-road illuminated with oil lamps. Those swinging oil-lamps broke up the shadows of the night and the new houses attracted inquisitive " foreigners " who poked their noses into the business of any poor honest fellow whose duty took him along the sea shore or over the Downland tracks with a keg or two of brandy.

But the fish-market on the beach still remained a haunt of the old breed, and here, even up to 1810, a little colony of muggier-fisher-folk lived in the ancient buildings which adjoined it. One can well imagine how thinly settled Brighton was in 1700 when she could only boast of 600 houses in 1770 ; and one can well picture the waste of shingle-beach extending to Shoreham, a shy, secretive place, running up to solitary pasture-lands that gave way to some of the wildest and roughest Downland tracks in Sussex.

The respectable inhabitants of Hove knew those Downland tracks very well and used them for less innocent purposes in 1750 than they would today care to speak about. As a matter of fact Hove was a notorious smugglers' sanctuary, and even up to 1835 she was dabbling in this prohibited traffic. Bishop's Brighton in the Olden Times contains the following cases of smuggling at Hove:

" Hove and Preston were formerly ecclesiastically conjoined: the Service being conducted at each Parish Church on alternate Sundays. One Hove Sunday, the worthy Vicar, in full canonicals, went to the Church to ' do duty.' To his astonishment, the bell was not going ; and, on inquiring the reason of the Sexton, that individual coolly informed him that he had made a mistake - that, in fact, it was Preston Sunday!

The Vicar felt certain he was right ; the Sexton as stoutly asserted he was wrong. But the Vicar would not give in, and ordered the bell to be rung forthwith. The Sexton said, ' It's no use, Sir, you can't preach today.' ' Why not ? ' exclaimed the Vicar indignantly. ' Because,' rejoined the Sexton, ' the Church is full of tubs, and the pulpit's full of tea.' "

This incident must have occurred under an improved state of ecclesiastical affairs in Hove; by the Rev. J. Mossop, published in The Gentleman's Magazine, in February, 1792, It is stated " Divine Service is only performed in the Church once in six weeks," the writer adding, " and, by the appearance of the ruinous state in. which it at present is, that will soon be entirely neglected."

Possibly a more daring act was never perpetrated than that which took place on Sunday morning, October 10th, 1810. A suspected " smuggling boat " being seen off Hove by some of the Custom House officers, they, with two of the crew of The Hound revenue cutter, gave chase in a galley. On coming up with the boat their suspicions were confirmed. They at once " boarded " her; but, while intent on securing their prize, nine of the smugglers leapt into the Hound's galley, and, thus escaping, " rowed off rejoicing "!

They, however, " halloed before they were out of the wood," for, landing at Hove, seven only escaped, two being taken prisoners by some other officers who were in waiting for them. This fact becoming known through the village, the cry was - " To the rescue." Upon which a large company of smugglers assembled, and, according to the advertisement respecting the affair issued by the Custom House authorities,

"commenced a desperate attack upon the officers, and, having overpowered them, assaulted them with stones and large sticks, knocked them down and cut the belts of the Chief Officer's arms, which they took away, and thereby enabled the two prisoners to escape. "

With a view of bringing the offenders to justice, the Commissioners of His Majesty's Customs, were " pleased to offer a reward of £200 "; but, as a matter of course, without effect. The cargo of the " smuggling boat " consisted of 225 tubs of gin, 52 tubs of brandy, and 1 bag of tobacco.

On October 20th, 1827, a smuggling boat succeeded in running 500 tubs opposite Brunswick Terrace. The blockade were overpowered, disarmed, and several of them severely wounded, whilst it is supposed that two or three of the smugglers were either severely wounded or killed. So recently as 1835, there was an attempt made to run " a crop of goods " near Hove turnpike gate, as many as between 40 and 50 men waiting there with bats ready to carry off the tubs when landed. The attempt was defeated by the vigilance of the Coast Guard, and a large number of the tubs secured, which were landed on the Chain Pier.

The development of Brighton after Doctor Russell arrived as its champion will be seen if the reader refers to Cobby's Brighthelmston Directory, printed in 1800, which gives the following details of the rapid growth of the town:
Previous to the year 1770, the town consisted of only Seven principal Streets, and of less than 600 houses. The number of inhabitants was then about 2,5OO.

In 1794 there were fifteen streets, the number of Houses was upwards of 1,200, and the number of inhabitants 5,600 (The actual number was 5,699.) The present Town (in 1800) consists of eighteen streets, containing about 1,500 houses, and the number of inhabitants is estimated at 7,000 and upwards. (The Census of 1801 gives it 7,339)

Boats were secretly built in many a barn in Hove Street and you may still see some of the old workshops and tackle sheds there. Everywhere in Hove was understood the smuggler's proverb ; " Moonshine under the hearth ; moonshine under the horse's belly. " that is to say, the smuggled spirits were concealed either near the fireplace or in the stable where the horses stood. The Ship Inn at Hove Street was a favourite meeting place of the Brighton and Hove smugglers. Some years ago it was pulled down and rebuilt, but it still retains its old name and position.

Smuggling was much in vogue at Hastings. Lawlessness was the rule in the " Old Town " for nearly two hundred years, and the history of its fishing luggers carries with it an amazing calendar of contraband performances both tragic and
amusing. Every variety of smuggling was followed by the Hastingers - they shipped the Sussex wool to Calais in their own illicit manner; they carried guineas to the Continent to pay the troops who were fighting against us in the Peninsular War; they worked for spies and carried their reports; and they fished, some times ; but ceaselessly they imported silks, teas, spirits, and tobacco without remembering to pay duty.

The guide books all tell you that the people of Hastings are called " chop-backs " because their breed could be traced back to Danes and Norsemen of old who were famous for an axe stroke which cleaved their enemies from skull to backbone. Alas ! For guide-book history this is only a tale to tell to the beanfeasters and chars-a-bancers, but a tale to tell to true Hastingers it decidedly is not. The association of " chop-backs " with the sturdy gallants of Hastings is much more recent and definite than the days of the Norse rovers. It is in fact so recent as the year 1768.

The true details of the " chop-back " affair will be found in the story, or rather the admiralty Court report on thirteen men of Hastings who were indicted on October 30th, 1760, for piracy and murder on the high seas.

These turbulent seafaring cut-throats were members of the notorious Ruxley gang who hailed a Dutch hoy off the Hastings Coast on the pretence of bartering goods, and having boarded her fell upon the master, Peter Bootes, and chopped him from the crown of his head to his chine. The ruffians afterwards boasted about their frightful deed.

The Stories of Sussex Category will hold stories in and about Sussex of a general nature.

They will be a mixture of funny, astounding or even forgotten tales that at least deserve to be remembered through constant airing - at least on this site.  As with many of the other section I shall add to this list when I come across a worthy tale to be told.
Brighton Unemployed 

After spending many years on this planet earth, I have come to accept that things are not always as they seem.  From an early age I saw things that I could not understand and my parents told me it was just my imagination running away with me and that there was nothing there.

Well, maybe they were right, perhaps my imagination was over active, and perhaps the things I thought I saw were only figments of a fertile mind. Perhaps the experiences that happened to me through my teenage years were no more than hormones and fancies.  Could be that the apparitions that I saw and the very odd occurences that seemed to go on around me were little more than, in the words of one writer, 'a piece of undigested food'.

I never for one moment connected any of the sightings, events and happenings, to anything more than just coincidences. That was, until recently.

Since buying our health food shop I have come into contact with many compelling characters.  They were perhaps the catalyst for focusing my mind and opening my reasoning to the possiblities of things I had not considered before.

This I ask of you.  Keep an open mind.  See through eyes uncumbered by physical restraints and prejudices and seek only one thing - the truth........

On these pages in the Spooky Things section, you will find true stories, some of my experiences, photographs - some my own, others from visitors to the site, reputedly haunted places, and any other related items I come across which I feel worthy of this section.


So happy browsing.......

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