Dr. Johnson's remark that one green field is like another green field, might, one sees, be extended to rivers, for Cowper was, of course, describing the Ouse at Olney.
The first village out of Lewes on the Newhaven road is Kingston (one of three Sussex villages of this name), on the side of the hill, once the property of Sir Philip Sidney. Next is Iford, with straw blowing free and cows in its meadows; next Rodmell, whence Whiteway Bottom and Breaky Bottom lead to the highlands above: next Southease, where the only bridge over the Ouse between Lewes and Newhaven is to be crossed: a little village famous for a round church tower, of which Sussex knows but three, one other at St. Michael's, Lewes, and one at Piddinghoe, the next village.
The Southease rustics were once of independent mind, as may be gathered from the following extract from the "Manorial Customs of Southease-with-Heighton, near Lewes," in 1623: "Every reaper must have allowed him, at the cost of the lord or his farmer, one drinkinge in the morninge of bread and cheese, and a dinner at noone consistinge of rostmeate and other good victualls, meete for men and women in harvest time; and two drinkinges in the afternoone, one in the middest of their afternoone's work and the other at the ende of their day's work, and drinke alwayes duringe their work as neede shall require."
Telscombe, the capital of these lonely Downs and as good an objective as the walker who sets out from Brighton, Rottingdean, or Lewes to climb hills can ask, is a charming little shy hamlet which nothing can harm, snugly reposing in its combe, above Piddinghoe. Piddinghoe (pronounced Pidd'nhoo) is a compact village at the foot of the hill; but it has suffered in picturesqueness and character by its proximity to the commercial enterprise of Newhaven. Hussey, in his Notes on the Churches of ... Sussex, suggests that a field north of the village was once the site of a considerable Roman villa. A