We now started for Cuckfield, nine miles, where we changed horse - and then prosecuted our final stage to Brighton. The Downs began to appear on either side with their undulating surfaces, constituting an interesting variety. Passing through one valley encircled by hills, I was reminded of the romantic scenes of my native principality.
Cuckfield is forty miles from London, and fourteen from Brighton. It contains about 300 houses, and near 2000 inhabitants. Situated healthily upon a rising ground, it is an inviting spot, and may boast of a few good buildings. It has a free grammar-school - an institution which, when properly conducted, renders no mean service to the rising generation. Here is a handsome church, with improvements. It is a vicarage, in the gift of the Bishop of Chichester. Amongst other monuments by which it is adorned, are those belonging to the Sergison and Burrell families.
It was usual in former times to enter Brighton by passing over a steep hill, down by the church, into the town. This was the case when I first visited the place, upwards of five-and-twenty years ago. On this eminence, at that period, the bodies of two mail robbers were seen suspended on the ignominious gibbet - buffeted about by the four winds of Heaven! These disgusting objects were soon removed -indeed such punishments are the reproach of our nature, and the disgrace of society. By the New Road we avoid this hill altogether; and after winding through the romantic valley of Preston, we, about five o’clock in the afternoon,
"Ere the sun, with parting ray,
Had heightened the last blush of day!"
… approach Brighton near Lewes Road, and fronting the northern end of The Pavilion - the favourite abode of royalty.
Source: Recreation for the young and the old. An excursion to Brighton, with an account of the Royal Pavilion, by John Evans, 1821. The book may be viewed here.
Engraving from the book frontispiece 'The Royal Pavilion with the Cupola of the Stables, Brighton from the North Steyne Inclosure, 1 November 1821. by Mr H Adlard - a young promising artist with neatness and fidelity'
Contributed by Malcolm Davison.