Page:Highways and Byways in Sussex.djvu/102

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74
CH. VII
NEWLAND, NYREN, AND SILVER BILLY

If I ever become a rich man,
  Or if ever I grow to be old,
I will build a house with deep thatch
  To shelter me from the cold,
And there shall the Sussex songs be sung
  And the story of Sussex told.

I will hold my house in the high wood
  Within a walk of the sea,
And the men who were boys when I was a boy
  Shall sit and drink with me.

Richard Newland, the father of serious cricket, came from this parish. He was born in 1718, or thereabouts, and in 1745 he made 88 for England against Kent. He was left-handed, and the finest bat ever seen in those days. He taught Richard Nyren, of Hambledon, all the skill and judgment that that noble general possessed; Nyren communicated his knowledge to the Hambledon eleven, and the game was made. An interest in historical veracity compels me to add that William Beldham—Silver Billy—talking to Mr. Pycroft, discounted some of Nyren's praise. "Cricket," he said, "was played in Sussex very early, before my day at least [he was born in 1766]; but that there was no good play I know by this, that Richard Newland, of Slindon in Sussex, as you say, sir, taught old Richard Nyren, and that no Sussex man could be found to play Newland. Now a second-rate man of our parish beat Newland easily; so you may judge what the rest of Sussex then were." But this is disregarding the characteristic uncertainty of the game.

If one would spend a day far from mankind, on high ground, there is no better way than to walk from Arundel through Houghton Forest (where, as we have seen, Charles II. avoided the Governor) to Cocking.