Clayton (St. John the Baptist)

CLAYTON (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Cuckfield, hundred of Buttinghill, rape of Lewes, E. division of Sussex, 2¼ miles (S. S. E.) from Hurst-Pierrepoint; containing 747 inhabitants. It is situated on the road from London to Brighton, by way of Cuckfield, and intersected by the London and Brighton railway, which proceeds for about a mile and a quarter under Clayton Hill, through a tunnel that commences near the church. The area consists of 2353 acres, whereof 201 are common or waste. The southern portion of the parish is fine down, and the northern comprises some rich arable, pasture, and woodland; the scenery is pleasing, and the views from Clayton Hill are extensive. Fairs are held on St. John's Common, for cattle and sheep, on the 6th of July, and the 26th of September. The living is a rectory, with that of Keymer annexed, valued in the king's books at £21. 0. 10., and in the patronage of Brasenose College, Oxford: the incumbent's tithes have been commuted for £400, and the glebe comprises 25 acres; certain impropriate tithes have been commuted for £39. The church is of the early English style, with some Norman details, among which is a fine arch separating the chancel from the nave; it was repaired in 1838. The Roman road from Portus Adriani passed over Clayton Hill to St. John's Common; and on opening a barrow near Clayton windmill, in 1805, the remains of a camp-kitchen were found, in which was a vessel of embaked clay, containing bones of various animals. In the rectory grounds, some years since, a Roman bath was discovered by the plough, with a beautiful tessellated pavement; celts and various Druidical relics have been found near Layton Mill, and numerous fossils in the chalk-pits.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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