History Of Brighton And Environs - Online Book

From The Earliest Known Period To The Present Time.

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of over 500 years. The last Prior was liobert Crowham, and he, on the 16th November, 1537, surrendered the Priory unto Henry VIII. In the King's book it was valued at £1091 Is. Gd.,—a sum far below its real revenues. The community possessed £2000 per year, an income equal to £13,000 per annum of the present value of money. The destruction of this edifice was entrusted to Thos. Cromwell, who deputed John Portmarus to carry out the same, and he proved a very active agent in the demolition of this Gothic edifice. The following letters will afford some idea of the extent of the buildings, and the savage industry with which they were demolished :—
" March 24th, 1538. "My Lord,—I humbly commend myself to your Lord­ship. The last I wrote to your Lordship was the 20th instant, March, by the hands of Mr. "Williamson, by which I advertized your Lordship of the length and greatness of this Church and the sale; how we had begun to pull down the whole to the ground, and what manner of fashion they had used in pulling down. I told your Lordship of a vault on the right hand of the high altar that was borne with four pillars, having about five chapels, which were com­passed with the vaults, 70 steps in length, that is 210 feet. All this is down Thursday and Friday last. Now we are pulling down a higher vault, borne up by four thick and lofty pillars, 14 feet from side to side, in circumference 45 feet. This shall be done for our second week. As it goes forward I shall advertize your Lordship from time to time. And that your Lordship may know with how many men we have done this, we brought from London 17 men, three carpenters, two smiths, two plumbers, and one that keeps the furnace. Every one of these keeps to his own office. Ten of them hew the walls, among which are three carpenters, these make props to underset when the
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