brass to Thomas Alfraye and his wife Elizabeth—Thomas Alfraye "whose soul" according to his epitaph,
In active strength did passe
As nere was found his peere.
One would like to know more of this Samson. The tomb of Sir Anthony Browne is also here; but it is not so imposing as that of his son, the first Viscount Montagu, which we saw at Easebourne. In the churchyard is the grave of Isaac Ingall, the oldest butler on record, who died at the age of one hundred and twenty, after acting as butler at the Abbey for ninety-five years.
From Battle one may reach easily Normanhurst, the seat of the Brasseys, and Ashburnham Park, just to the north of it, a superb undulating domain, with lakes, an imposing mansion, an old church, brake fern, magnificent trees and a herd of deer, all within its confines. Of the church, however, I can say nothing, for I was there on a very hot day, the door was locked, and the key was at the vicarage, ten minutes' distant, at the top of a hill. Churches that are thus controlled must be neglected.
Ashburnham Place once contained some of the finest books in England and is still famous for its relics of Charles I.; but strangers may not see them. The best Sussex iron was smelted at Ashburnham Furnace, north of the park, near Penhurst. Ashburnham Forge was the last to remain at work in the county; its last surviving labourer of the neighbourhood died in 1883. He remembered the extinguishing of the fire in 1813 (or 1811), the casting of fire-backs being the final task. Penhurst, by the way, is one of the most curiously remote villages in east Sussex, with the oddest little church.
I walked to Ashburnham from Ninfield, a clean breezy village on the hill overlooking Pevensey Bay, with a locked church, and iron stocks by the side of the road. It is stated somewhere that at "that corner of Crouch Lane that leads to Lunford Cross, and so to Bexhill and Hastings," was buried a