The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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368                   THE SUSSEX COAST
protecting the west side of the town, a ditch and bank are very distinct, and for at any rate the greater part of the distance—some twelve hundred yards—they do not seem to have been supple­mented by any wall. The New Gate is a very bald rubble structure, its vault resting on three ribs, a triangular guard-room of some sort on the east. It is fifteenth-century work, and walling of the same poor quality as that noticed above started from it, but apparently did not extend very far. Along the eastern and northern sides of the town the ground was naturally very steep, in places it has been artificially scarped and a sustaining wall constructed. The barons of Winchelsea were not very clerical in their tastes, and when the town was moved they got a promise from the king (which was broken by his son, Edward II.) that no religious house should be permitted in the new town except one for the Friars Minors or Franciscans. The quire of their church (p. 354) remains in a garden, it is roofless and plant-grown, all the tracery is gone from the windows, but it is a good example of the period (c. 1300) when it was built. It possesses a three-sided apse, and has four bays ; the windows are under lancet arches and each had three lights, there are doors north and south, the altar plat­form is grass-grown and there are traces of the piscina. (Apses are extremely unusual in England at the date of this church though they are fairly frequent both earlier and later.) The western arch has clustered responds, and south of it is a turret with stone roof whose stair led to a passage in the wall of the narrow south aisle of the nave, of which there are scanty traces, and onto the leads of the roof. The nave seems to
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