A village full of cheese and tobacco

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ROUSER has more than a soft spot for Chiddngly with its great pub and distinguised parish church. It has a tale or two to tell.

The village, in its own humble way, is said to resemble Rome because the parish rests upon seven hills.

There was nothing humble about the Jefferay family, the old lords of the manor, whose pride was a byword. To stop their feet from getting soiled on the way to church they had a line of cheeses laid from their mansion to the church door to use as stepping stones.

Stone spires are a rarity in Sussex. There are only three and Chiddingly’s is the best, The great Sussex historian Mark Antony Lower was born in Chiddingly, where his father was the village schoolmaster. Dad was something of a writer himself and also a slave of the weed, a fact he laments in The Old Smoker’s Six Reasons for Breaking his Pipe, which concludes:

‘Farewell, broken pipe; King Tobacco, adieu!

No longer I bow in submission to you;

Those pleasures I seek that are lasting and free, Which vainly are sought for in tyrants like thee; I revoke my allegiance to thy petty reign; Thy sceptre I’ve broken -I’ll not smoke again!’