Ditchelling, or Ditchling (St. Margaret)

DITCHELLING, or Ditchling (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of Chailey, hundred of Street, rape of Lewes, county of Sussex, 3 miles (E. S. E.) from Hurst-Pierrepoint; containing 1148 inhabitants. This place, which is situated on the road from London, by way of Lindford, to Brighton, was once a market-town of some note; it contains several ancient houses of timber frame-work and plaster, and is seated on a gentle acclivity, sloping to the downs. The market has been long discontinued; but fairs, formerly for sheep and hops, and for pedlery, are still held on the 5th of April and 12th of October, though chiefly as pleasure-fairs. The parish comprises 4050 acres, whereof 260 are common or waste; it abounds with interesting features; and Ditchelling Beacon, the most elevated ridge of the South Downs, and which is 858 feet above the level of the sea, commands a view of the English Channel and the Isle of Wight. The soil is various; in the northern part a stiff clay alternated with veins of Sussex marble, and between the village and the downs a rich calcareous loam resting on a clay bottom. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £11; patron, the Chancellor in the Cathedral of Chichester: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for £210. The church is an ancient structure, chiefly in the early English style, with some windows of the decorated style. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Unitarians. On Ditchling common is a chalybeate spring, the water of which is similar to that of Tonbridge Wells; and in the neighbourhood is a spring strongly impregnated with sulphur. Near the Beacon are the remains of a Roman encampment.

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

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