Field And Hedgerow By Richard Jefferies




























































































 -  Lord
Sheffield's mansion at Fletching was the last great house he knew that
was entirely warmed with charcoal, nothing else - Page 110
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Lord Sheffield's Mansion At Fletching Was The Last Great House He Knew That Was Entirely Warmed With Charcoal, Nothing Else Being Burnt.

Charcoal was 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 stillness.

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