Before motorways and bypasses, before the advent of cars and even trains, horse-drawn vehicles carried the British people all around the country. From pedlars to clerks to the Prince Regent himself, the old coach roads led the way, and while the coach traveller certainly made their journey in less comfort than today’s car passenger, they also felt the benefits of a less altered landscape, the sound of birdsong and the scent of the breeze.
The very first stage coach service from London to Brighton was started by J. Batchelar of East Grinstead who had been running a service between London and Lewes for some time. In 1756 the increasing importance of Brighthelmstone encouraged him to run some of his coaches from London beyond Lewes, over the Jugg’s Road, to reach the coast. Lewes remained a major stop for the coaches, and toll houses still stand in Offham and beside the main road north of Malling Hill.
Geoffrey Hewlett’s book will be of local interest to Lewes readers, as well as giving information on the development of the Brighton roads as a whole.
Based on the author’s detailed study of the coach roads and his own experiences of walking the length of each of them in turn, The Coach Roads to Brighton details the histories of each of the old routes from London to the coastal town of Brighton, including the Lewes route.