The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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LEWES                                233
house was granted at the Dissolution, was so complete that nothing now remains which can give any idea of the former glories of the place. However, the discovery of so much that was interesting when the railway was built led to the foundation of the Sussex Archa3ological Society, and excavation has fairly revealed the whole ground-plan, which has thrice been published in the Society's collections, each time with increased knowledge, and the last on a large scale in colours, produced under the direction of St. John Hope, is really a magnificent piece of work. The con­ventual buildings were, as usual, south of the church, and in the cloister garth was an ornate fountain as at Much Wenlock, another Cluniac foundation in Shropshire.
The principal existing remains are in a field just south of the railway. Close to the fence is part of the south wall of the refectory, and (east of it) of the warming house. There remain some small Norman windows that lighted the vaulted chambers below the refectory, a skewed doorway and part of a newel stair. Rubble walls of flint, chalk, and stone enclose rather complicated build­ings of two distinct periods, both Norman. The latter owe their existence to a complete re­modelling and extension of the house shortly after 1145, when, further accommodation being required, the^dormitory over the existing ruins was lengthened from 102 to 213 feet, and broadened as well. The vaulted chambers of the earlier period were filled up or divided by walls without the very slightest respect for their original features. South of everything else is the second Domus necessarice, a fine long chamber against whose south wall the vaulted tunnel
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