St Andrew’s Parish Church, Alfriston

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  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: St Andrew’s Parish Church, Alfriston

    A Leisurely Tour in England (1913)

    Of Alfriston a halting couplet runs:

    Poor parson, poor people,
    Sold their bells to repair their steeple.

    But that, I take it, was a long while ago — if it ever was^ for I have heard similar couplets of many other places ; a few may possibly have some foundation in fact, but I doubt the rest, and in some, alas, the word "drunken" is substituted for "poor"! After the Alfriston people had sold their bells, tradition, that unreliable jade, avers that the bell of a ship, wrecked on the coast, was purchased to take the place of the lost peal, and by the side of the ancient pilgrims’ hostel in the same village stands a ship’s figure-head in the shape of a boldly carved lion, fierce of countenance, said to have come from the same ship that provided the bell ; this, as long as the oldest inhabitant can remember — and what memories these oldest inhabitants have — has rejoiced in a coat of brilliant vermilion, hence the local saying, apropos of what I know not, " As red as the Alfriston lion." Such, at least, were the tales told to me, and many were the tales I heard as I travelled on.