Sheffield's Mansion At Fletching Was The Last Great House He Knew That
Was Entirely Warmed With Charcoal, Nothing Else Being Burnt.
still used in houses for heating plates.
But the principal demand seemed
to be for hop-drying purposes - the charcoal burned in the kiln where I
had been resting was made on the spot. This heap he was now burning was
all of birch poles, and would be four days and four nights completing. On
the fourth morning it was drawn, and about seventy sacks were filled, the
charcoal being roughly sorted.
The ancient forest land is still wild enough, there is no seeming end to
the heath and fern on the ridges or to the woods in the valleys. These
moor-like stretches bear a resemblance to parts of Exmoor. The oaks that
once reached from here to the sea-shore were burned to smelt the iron in
the days when Sussex was the great iron land. For charcoal the vast
forests were cut down; it seems strange to think that cannon were once
cast - the cannon that won India for us - where now the hops grow and the
plough travels slowly, so opposite as they are to the roaring furnace and
the ringing hammer. Burned and blasted by the heat, the ground where the
furnaces were still retains the marks of the fire. But to-day there is
silence; the sunshine lights up the purple heather and the already
yellowing fern; the tall and beautiful larches stand graceful in the
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