Page:Highways and Byways in Sussex.djvu/374

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346
CHAP.
THE LOVER'S SEAT

portmanteau, and I will plant it in my garden. It must have been erected in the very infancy of British Christianity, for the two or three first converts; yet hath it all the appertances of a church of the first magnitude, its pulpit, its pews, its baptismal font; a cathedral in a nutshell. Seven people would crowd it like a Caledonian Chapel. The minister that divides the word there, must give lumping pennyworths. It is built to the text of two or three assembled in my name. It reminds me of the grain of mustard seed. If the glebe land is proportionate, it may yield two potatoes. Tythes out of it could be no more split than a hair. Its First fruits must be its Last, for 'twould never produce a couple. It is truly the strait and narrow way, and few there be (of London visitants) that find it. The still small voice is surely to be found there, if any where. A sounding board is merely there for ceremony. It is secure from earthquakes, not more from sanctity than size, for 'twould feel a mountain thrown upon it no more than a taper-worm would. Go and see, but not without your spectacles."

The Lover's Seat, mentioned in the first sentence of the above passage, is at Fairlight, about two miles east of Hastings. The seat is very prettily situated high in a ledge in Fairlight Glen. Horsfield shall tell the story that gave the spot its fascinating name:—

"A beautiful girl at Rye gained the affections of Captain ——, then in command of a cutter in that station. Her parents disapproved the connection and removed her to a farm house near the Lover's Seat, called the Warren-house. Hence she contrived to absent herself night after night, when she sought this spot, and by means of a light made known her presence to her lover, who was cruising off in expectation of her arrival. The difficulties thus thrown in their way increased the ardour of their attachment and marriage was determined upon at all hazards. Hollington Church was and is the place most sought for on these occasions in this part of the country; it has a romantic air about it which is doubtless peculiarly impressive.