Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Barn and cellar in Rectory Lane

A Scheduled Monument in Icklesham, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9245 / 50°55'28"N

Longitude: 0.7066 / 0°42'23"E

OS Eastings: 590314.413184

OS Northings: 117381.054923

OS Grid: TQ903173

Mapcode National: GBR QXV.ZCC

Mapcode Global: FRA D6CN.P2G

Entry Name: Barn and cellar in Rectory Lane

Scheduled Date: 11 March 1953

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002275

English Heritage Legacy ID: ES 166

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Icklesham

Built-Up Area: Winchelsea

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Winchelsea

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


Ruins of a medieval house and undercroft, 187m WNW of St Thomas’s Church.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 4 December 2014. The 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 medieval house and undercroft surviving as upstanding remains and below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated on flat ground on the west side of rectory lane on the western edge of Winchelsea. The house is a rectangular building constructed of stone rubble of which parts of the walls now remain up to about 3.7m high. These include the two end bays of the north and south side and part of the rear (west) wall. There are several surviving details including three corbels, an aumbry and blocked window with moulded jambs. It was incorporated into a single aisled timber barn but this burnt down and was demolished in the 1950s, leaving the ruins of the medieval building. A modern concrete floor covers the interior but beneath this is a three-chamber vaulted medieval undercroft or cellar accessible via modern hatches. It features two cross vaults in the end bays and a barrel vault in the centre. Most of the ribs are no longer present but a cap to the rear springer survives. In the front bay are the remains of a vaulted stairway.

The medieval house and undercroft date to around 1300. The site was partially excavated in the late 20th century. The house is alleged to have been a merchant’s town house or the site of the Dominican Friary of Winchelsea.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The ruins of the medieval house and undercroft on the west side of rectory lane are a survival of the medieval period with significant upstanding stone remains. The walls of the house contain surviving late 13th or early 14th century architectural details whilst the undercroft is a good example of its type. Although the original function of the house is uncertain, it is an important testament to the early history of Winchelsea and has group value with the surviving undercroft. Domestic undercrofts were constructed of stone, fireproof and used for the storage of provisions or items of special value. Placed beneath a house they could thus be kept under close supervision. Although undercrofts are sometimes referred to as cellars, they were not necessarily built entirely below ground level, but, where they are sunken into the ground this can aid their preservation when the house either falls into disuse or is replaced by a later structure, as is the case with this example at Rectory Lane.

Source: Historic England


East Sussex HER MES4002, MES4034, MES4035. NMR TQ91NW15, TQ91NW39, TQ91SW9, TQ91NW30. PastScape 419232, 968690, 502598, 502597. LBS 410536.

Source: Historic England

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