Ancient Monuments

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Chapel of St James' Hospital

A Scheduled Monument in Lewes, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.87 / 50°52'12"N

Longitude: 0.0068 / 0°0'24"E

OS Eastings: 541300.347019

OS Northings: 109755.846971

OS Grid: TQ413097

Mapcode National: GBR KQ2.8KG

Mapcode Global: FRA B6XS.SKH

Entry Name: Chapel of St James' Hospital

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1966

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002261

English Heritage Legacy ID: ES 253

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Lewes

Built-Up Area: Lewes

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Lewes St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


Chapel of St James’s Hospital, 86m SSW of Southover Grange.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 26 February 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a mid-14th century chapel, formerly part of St James’s Hospital, surviving as upstanding and below-ground remains. It is situated a short distance south of Winterbourne Stream on the west side of Southover High Street. The chapel is constructed of flint on a stone plinth with stone and brick quoins and dressings. It has been restored, including alterations in the 19th and 20th century. The original fabric of the building includes the north and south walls of the chancel. On the north side are two original single light 14th century windows with cusped ogee-heads in rectangular chamfered openings. The building is originally thought to have been attached to an infirmary hall on the west side, which extended to the end of St James’s Lane.

The Hospital of St James was built by the monks of Lewes Priory during the 14th century. It fell into disuse after Lewes Priory was suppressed in about 1540. The chapel survived since it was incorporated into a house. It was later used as a school building.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre-Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish church. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Unlike parish churches, the majority of which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in the 1540s. Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being nationally important.

Despite later alteration, the chapel of St James’s Hospital contains a significant proportion of surviving medieval fabric, such as the 14th century windows on the north-side. Its association with the Hospital of St James enhances its significance. The ground beneath the chapel is likely to contain archaeological evidence relating to the history and use of the site.

Source: Historic England


NMR TQ40NW21. PastScape 405902. LBS 293420

Source: Historic England

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