Sussex Life - - Writer In Residence - by Terry Townsend Louise Du­mas

Read­ers of Terry Townsend’s many books on East Sus­sex smug­glers’ pubs might won­der what other sort there are. It seems that most inns were com­man­deered by the ‘gen­tle­men’ in the 17th and 18th cen­turies when ex­port du­ties threat­ened farm­ers and im­port du­ties were levied on to­bacco, silk, brandy and tea.

Inns were a nat­u­ral place to meet and an ob­vi­ous store for con­tra­band. They also served as a re­cruit­ment cen­tre, dis­tri­bu­tion de­pot and val­ued cus­tomer.

Le­gends and char­ac­ters be­came as nu­mer­ous as hid­den tun­nels, and Townsend has enor­mous fun dig­ging them out in this am­ply il­lus­trated study.

Many a mod­ern land­lord is pic­tured hap­pily pulling pints, per­haps un­aware of the se­cret his­tory be­neath his feet or pos­si­bly en­gaged in some fu­ture leg­erde­main which to­mor­row’s his­to­ri­ans will have as much fun as the au­thor in un­cov­er­ing.

(Hals­grove, £9.99)

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