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Bradshaw’s Guide


Lewes is a borough town in the county of Sussex, and one of the largest and most important in the whole county. It stands on the banks of the River Ouse, about seven miles from the sea-coast. Lewes is a place of great antiquity, and the vestiges of walls and entrenchments still remaining prove how strong the fortifications must have been. It is well built, and contains several excellent streets, with uniform and elegant buildings. There are also two large suburbs, one on the west side of the town called Southover, and the other on the east side of the river, on a chalk cliff, and hence called Cliff. It contains seven churches, and the ruins of an old castle, founded by Athelstane, and rebuilt by William De Warrenne; it had two keeps, one of which still remains in good preservation, and commands a good panoramic view of the surrounding country.

It has been the witness of many a scene in English history – has been the palace of kings, and the prison of their captives. In the vale beneath the castle mound are the remains of the rich priory of St. Pancras, founded by Gundred, the wife of De Warrenne, and daughter of the Conqueror, who were buried here. The ruins of this once proud pile embrace an area of upwards of 30 acres. A short distance from the town is Mount Harry, where the battle was fought in 1264 between Henry III. and Montfort, in which the former was defeated.

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