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1876: Fireside Studies - reflections on the special beauty of Cuckfield




"Coming to the summit of the steep little street on the old London-road, the traveller sees the rather steep little street drop suddenly below him, and in the distance, over the tops of the houses, the pearl-grey wall of the Downs between him and the sea, cut almost to the zenith by the tall spire of the church.

Reaching the churchyard, he finds that he is at the edge of a vast, thickly-wooded valley, about nine miles broad, bounded on the farther side by the long, high mass of the Downs, rising to heights of over eight hundred feet; far to the left is the back of Beachy Head, far to the right the hills beyond Chichester.

Cuckfield Park Avenue c1907

The Church is one of the most beautiful in England, cared for like a jewel, and the wondrous old houses abutting into it would be highly remarkable elsewhere. In short, there are few places like Cuckfield Churchyard; but still more remarkable than church or churchyard is Cuckfield Place, close by, with the finest lime avenue of its length in England, its Tudor house, and its deer park, most artistically broken into glade and lawn; the dearly loved haunt of Shelley, and the original of the 'Rookwood' of Harrison Ainsworth.

Even more interesting than even Cuckfield Place, however, is Ockenden, also a beautiful Tudor house, the back premises of which are actually in the town, but whose south front, fenced by a great terraced garden of flowers of great length, gives upon the park of Cuckfield Place”. Fireside Studies. Henry Kingsley.


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