SEAWARD SUSSEX - online book

A Description of Travels in Sussex During the early 1900s

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The road continues to the Battlefield and Mount Harry, but to explore the lower portion of the town a return must be made to High Street. At the corner of Bull Lane, marked by a memorial tablet and with a queer carved demon upon its front is Tom Paine's house. Note the unusual milestone on a house front opposite Keere Street, down which turning is presently passed (on the left) Southover House (1572), a good example of Elizabethan architecture. Keere Street has another remnant of the past in its centre gutter, the usual method of draining the street in medieval times, but now very seldom seen except in the City of London.
At the foot of the street is the (probably dry) bed of the Winterbourne, so called because, like other streams of the chalk country, it flows at intermittent times. A short distance farther, to the right, and just past St. John's Church, will be found the entrance to the space once occupied by the first Priory of the Cluniacs in England.
Founded in 1078 by William de Warenne and his wife Gundrada and dedicated to St. Pancras, the Priory was always closely allied with the parent house on the continent. At the Dissolution more than the usual vandalism seems to have been observed and Cromwell's creatures must have vented some personal spite against the monks in their wholesale demolition of the buildings. A mound to the north-east is supposed to be the site of a calvary, and until quite recently a "colombarium" or dovecote was allowed to stand which contained homes for over three thousand birds.
"The Priory building was probably irregular, varying in its form as the increase of inmates demanded additional room. But though irregular, it was certainly a noble edifice, faced with Caen stone, and richly adorned by the chisel of the sculptor. Its walls embraced an area of 32 acres, 2 rods, 11 perches, and it was not less remarkable for its magnificence than extent. The length of the church was 150 feet, having an altitude of 60 feet. It was supported by thirty-two pillars, eight of which were very lofty, being 42 feet high, 18 feet thick, and 45 feet in circumference; the remaining twenty-four were 10 feet thick, 25 feet in circumference, and 18 feet in height. [1] The belfry was placed over the centre of the church, at an elevation of 105 feet, and was supported by the eight lofty pillars above mentioned. The roof over the high altar was 93 feet high. Its walls were 10 feet thick. On the right side of the high altar was a vault supported by four pillars, and from this recess branched out five chapels that were bounded by a wall 70 yards long. A higher vault supported by four massive pillars, 14 feet in diameter, and 45 feet in circumference, was probably on the left side of the high altar, and corresponded with the one just mentioned, from which branched out other chapels or cells of the monks. How many chapels there were cannot be ascertained; the names of only three are known, the Virgin Mary, St. Thomas the
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