The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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234                   THE SUSSEX COAST
through which the stream flowed may still be seen. A number of old fragments of very different periods are built in. The church and claustral buildings were on solid chalk; the southern part, however, is on the very edge of the marshes, and, as there were evidently signs of settling, huge buttresses were in the fifteenth century built against the south wall. They are clumsy things, and not being properly bonded with the earlier work have gradually slipped a few inches away from it.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the ruins is the recently excavated infirmary chapel, which must have been a remarkable Norman building intermediate in date between the two periods above noted. The walls are so thick that it was probably vaulted throughout; it is constructed of small stones, rubble faced with ashlar. It con≠sisted of large aisleless nave with a very narrow eastern transept, from which opened a square chancel with an apsidal chapel each side, the northern one still retains its stone altar, except for the slab; it appears in the photograph. The fragments of walling lean, illustrating the method of destructionócutting trenches along the lower parts of the walls inside and propping, then removing the props to cause the whole to collapse inwards.* Just south-east is a much later frag≠ment in which a neat cross of worked flints is inlaid in the rubble. Farther east is the Calvary mound that appears in the photograph, and beyond it is the depression that now forms a
* "Ten of them hew the walls, among which are three carpenters. These make props to underset where the others cut away. The others cut the walls."óLetter of John Portinari to Cromwell, March 24, 1538.
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