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ON THE BRIGHTON AND CHICHESTER RAILWAYS.
[From the Railway Chronicle.]
(This Excursion, if made with all brevity from Brighton, will not require more than three
hours. It may be pleasantly and profitably extended to a much longer time.]
All harbours, with their boats, ships, quays, cranes, docks, &c., have a picturesque want of order, and that of Shoreham is not at all deficient in this kind of interest to an artist; but it must be admitted that the chief attraction of the old port consists in its two churches, which certainly are entitled to rank foremost among Sussex churches as worthy of a visit.
No one staying at Brighton, who knows the difference between a romanesque or semicircular from a pointed arch, will neglect availing himself of the abundant facilities presented throughout the day, of reaching Shoreham and inspecting its two old Norman churches. If he have a genuine taste for ecclesiastical structures, he will make a whole day of it, and pay visits to Sompting and Broadwater churches in addition to those of Shoreham. The four are each, one and all, abundantly attractive in various ways-Sompting for its quaint tower, still retaining remnants of supposed Saxon mouldings, and Broadwater for its rich Norman work, and the possession of a magnificent monumental brass effigy. For the present, however, we shail limit our paper to the Shoreham churches, reserving Sompting and Broadwater for another occasion.
Alighting at the station, we recommend the visiter to proceed at once to the Old Shoreham church, about half a mile westward; he will not pass through the town, but take the road on the north of it, traversing, however, the churchyard of New Shoreham, which he will leave for examination on his return.
The church of Old Shoreham is an early cruciform Norman church, very small, but consisting of a chancel, nave and two short transepts, with a square tower over the intersection of the cross. For years it had been in a ruinous state, but has recently been restored, very substantially and with excellent feeling, by Mr. Ferrey. The completion of the chancel yet awaits sufficient subscriptions from pious
goes to Old Shoreham on the strength of our advice, to add his mite to the good work. The arches of the chancel, nave and transepts have extremely rich mouldings, so rich that we have preferred lines, rather than words to describe their beauty. We know of no other four Norman arches belonging to any country church more beautiful than these, and we say, having no fear of contradiction, that they alone, either to a professional or non-professional observer, are well worth a journey of fifty-six miles to examine-of course we mean fifty-six miles on a railway, for with all our admiration of them we could not conscientiously advise any amateur to spend a day and a half in or on a stage coach for the purpose of visiting them. Pews have been abolished, and oaken benches substituted in the recent restorations. As to the superior picturesqueness, not to say
Nave and Chancel Arches in Old Shoreham
Nov modest christian humility, of open benches over pews, we would, in the present instance, abide even by the judgment of Goldsmith's Madame Blaze herself. The pulpit, the font, indeed all the recent works, have been done with characteristic taste.
Architectural forms more modern than the Norman by two centuries prevail in the chancel. The old screen, probably a remnant of the rood Toft, is of the 13th century; the window at the east, with its flowing or flamboyant tracery in the head of the arch, is somewhat later. There is a recessed arch on the south, and there is likewise the piscina.
The tourist will not fail to walk round the outside of the church, and to observe on the south transept the little oblong window, with its peculiar zigzag bordering, of which we do not calì to mind another example employed under such circumstances. The adventurous will ascend the belfry on the north of the tower. The old sexton who keeps the keys of the church is usually hovering about the immediate neighbourhood; his whereabouts may be learnt at they little inn near the church looking towards the sea.
If the tide is flowing and the water high, it will be worth while walking to the foot of the old wooden bridge across the Adur for the view. The wooded height in the distance, with a rising tower, are the base and remaining fragment of Bramber Castle, of which we shall have something to say on a future occasion.
The return to the New Shoreham Church should be through the town, passing by the suspension bridge, to Worthing, not many years ago built by the Duke of Norfolk, but now rendered comparatively useless by the railway. The town with its shipping is not destitute of pictur
very obvious or remarkable antiquity; and it ought to have, for, “new”. as it is called, it has been a parliamentary borough since the time of Edward the First, five centuries and more ago. As for Old Shoreham, it has a history as far back as the earliest Saxon times, being the spot where king Ella, the first of the South Saxon kings, landed from Germany, whither he had gone for recruits to enable him to conquer this part of the coast.
The junior Shoreham church-it seems paradoxical to call it “new," when it is at least six centuries old—was the conventual church of a monastery of Carmelites, or White Friars, founded by one of the ancient family of Mowbrays ;-when, however, Tanner and the monastic authorities do not tell us. Originally it was far more extensive than it now is. The whole of the nave has been suffered to vanish in ruins, but indications of its extent and form may be clearly traced towards the west. The doorway at the west end, though of ancient materials, is clearly not in its ancient position. The church, in its early state, was cruciform, the square tower, as in Old Shoreham, and other Sussex churches, standing over the intersection of the cross. The spacious choir, its aisles and the transepts, are now the principal remains. Essentially, however, the church still retains its Norman features, though windows of a later date have been pierced, as was very constantly the practice, and intermixed with the original design. Thus on the south transept, below the two upper semicircular windows, there has been inserted a larger window, of a different era—that which is now called the perpendicular,” the lines of the pointed head being placed perpendicularly. Other similar windows have been placed on the south aisle. Others are square headed, marking a still later architectural date than those which have pointed heads. Others have been blocked up, and the tracery taken out. The general outline of the gable of the east end, with its circular, recessed, lancet-headed, and lower semicircular windows, is shown by the sketch at the conclusion of this paper.
The upper part of the tower appears to have remained untouched, but there are marks visible on the transepts which show that the pitch of the roofs has been changed. It is however the interior of the church which presents so rich and varied an object for study. It has a great diversity; the north and south sides of the choir materially differing from one another. On the north, massive round and octagonal columns support the triforium, the range below the clerestory or upper tier of windows, whilst on the south the pillars are of many clustered shafts. The triforium on both sides presents an interesting arrangement of forms, cunning and very fanciful : on the north the arches are in pairs, with rich mouldings; on the south they are single. The north side is most interesting, especially on account of the pendants We know no other instance than the neighbouring Broadwater church, where such like corbels exist. Here they are far more numerous than at Broadwater. The roof, too, is supported differently on both sides, by light clustered shafts on the south, by corbels below the stringcourse on the north. At the west arch, the pitch of the ancient roof is here shown, curiously enough, to have been below the present roof, the reverse being generally the practice. The mouldings throughout are well worth attentive study, particularly in the transepts. A piscina remains in the north transept, showing that an altar must have been erected in this part; slight remnants of paintings are visible in parts.
Whether for its general architectural features as a specimen of later Norman work, at the period when the semicircular arch seems at once to have taken the very opposite form of an acutely pointed one, by a metamorphosis which is extremely puzzling to antiquarian controversialists, or as a specimen of very rich and curious details, we know of no church more interesting and so easily visited as this of New Shoreham.
In point of date, the church is the latest of three churches in this neighbourhood, which should be studied together; first Old Shoreham, then Steyning, and lastly the present church. The three form as it were exemplars of an unbroken series :—Steyning Church we reserve for our Bramber excursion. It should be known that the keys of the church are kept by the sexton, who lives close to a gingerbread day-Vauxhall called the Swiss Gardens, nearer the Old Shoreham church than the present one, so that when the visiter is in the neighbourhood of the latter, he should hunt up the grey-headed warden for them. As a last word, let us remark that the church is sadly in want of restoration, though this has been begun in parts. It is worthy of the utmost care, for it is really the great glory of these parts, and the Brightonians who flock to see the church, even as mere sight-seers, ought to contribute liberally to the work of preservation. How far the railway has helped them to visit the church may be inferred from the fact that ten times the number of persons now come to Shoreham than formerly did so in the age of coaches.
LONDON: PUBLISHED AT THE RAILWAY CHRONICLE OFFICE,
14, Wellington-street North, Strand.-Price 1d.
WALTON AND WEYBRIDGE,
ON THE SOUTH-WESTERN RAILWAY.
[From the Railway Chronicle.]
The present excursion cannot be fully enjoyed in less time than a long summer's day. But an afternoon of five hours will suffice for seeing the sunset on St. George's Hill or on the Thames at Walton Bridge.
WEYBRIDGE and WALTON are spots which may be enjoyed at all seasons. The former, owing to the abundance of evergreens and its dry sandy soil even in winter. But the best time for an excursion is in the latter end of July and month of August, when the purple heather
is in full bloom. A ride of three quarters of an hour takes the smokedried inhabitant of the metropolis to a scene luxuriantly mantled with this lovely flower,—one almost as extensive and as wild as he will find on any moors at hundreds of miles distant, west or north of London. The whole of the sandy hills and plains which extend along the northern part of Surrey, and into Hampshire, from Esher to Hindhead, are coloured with all shades of purple flowers.
The South-Western is the only railway out of London whose embankments are fringed by the heather. It is a flower always accompanying a certain wildness of character, which is ever present on these sandhills and plains. They extend along the line from Walton to Winchfield, a distance of some 23 miles, and remind one of Wales and Scotland, making a most welcome variety in the scenery of this railway. Indeed, passing Fleet Pond, between Farnborough and Winchfield, and looking southward, we may almost imagine ourselves in Cumberland.
One of the very choicest spots among this comparative wilderness