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West Firle

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WEST FIRLE is a village and parish, half a mile south from the Lewes and Eastbourne turnpike road, 5 miles south-east from Lewes, a mile and a quarter from Glynde station, and 55 miles from London, in the Eastern division of the county, hundred of Totnore, rape of Pevensey, county court district and archdeaconry of Lewes, rural deanery of Rype, and diocese of Chichester. The church of St. Peter is an ancient Gothic building, with nave, chancel, and north and south aisles: the old pews have been taken down and replaced with open sittings: there are four stained glass windows: a chapel on the north side of the chancel contains several monuments and brasses to the Gage family. The register dates from 1668. The living is a vicarage, united with Beddingham in 1747, joint annual value £480, in the gift of the Bishop and Dean and Chapter of Chichester alternately, and held by the Rev. Henry Smith, M.A., Queen's College, Oxford, and prebendary of Chichester. Here is a National School. The principal point of attraction is Firle Place, the seat of Viscount Gage, which is a large mansion, but irregular in its architecture, having been built at different periods: it is sheltered on the south and south-west by the range of downs: the grounds adjoining are well stocked with game, and there are ponds equally well supplied with fish. From the point of Firle Beacon, one of the highest hills on the south downs, which is 820 feet above the level of the sea, the view is rich and varied over the weald for many miles. Viscount Gage is lord of the manor and owner of the whole parish, with the exception of a few acres and some houses. West Firle is the head of a union, comprising the following parishes:- Alciston, Beddingham, Berwick, Chalvington, Glynde, Rype, Selmeston, and West Firle. The Union House is here. The area is 3,392 acres, and the population in 1861 was 631. [Kelly's Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 1867.]


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