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Hardham Priory

A Scheduled Monument in Coldwaltham, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9448 / 50°56'41"N

Longitude: -0.5294 / 0°31'45"W

OS Eastings: 503410.449344

OS Northings: 117182.607296

OS Grid: TQ034171

Mapcode National: GBR GJD.QZ6

Mapcode Global: FRA 96SM.1KR

Entry Name: Hardham Priory

Scheduled Date: 18 December 1946

Last Amended: 12 June 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015916

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29279

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Coldwaltham

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Hardham St Botolph

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes an Augustinian monastery, known as Hardham Priory,
situated on a low, sandy tongue of land which rises above the marshy ground
between the rivers Rother and Arun c.2.5km south west of Pulborough. Some of
the monastic buildings survive as ruined, sandstone-built structures
incorporated within the later farmhouse and its garden, and these are Listed
Grade I. Elsewhere, the priory survives in the form of earthworks and
below ground archaeological remains. Historical records suggest that the
monastery, known originally as Heringham Priory, was founded during the
mid-13th century by Sir William Dawtry, and underwent at least one phase of
subsequent expansion. The priory was dissolved in 1534, after which time it
passed into secular ownership.
In common with most religious houses, the main buildings ranged around a
square, inner cloister yard. The frater, or refectory, fronted the southern
side of the cloister yard and the surviving parts of this rectangular building
are incorporated within the later farmhouse. The best surviving part is the
undercroft, or below ground room used for the storage of provisions. This is
of six bays divided into two aisles with a groined, vaulted ceiling supported
by central, round stone columns. Projecting to the south east of the frater
are the ruined walls of an attached building which may represent the kitchen
or a common room. The eastern range is represented by the rectangular chapter
house, where the daily chapter met to discuss the business of the priory. This
has three lancet windows in the eastern wall and single blocked lancets in the
northern and southern walls. The western wall has an arcaded entrance pierced
by a pointed archway supported by thin, clustered shafts and decorated with
dogtooth moulding. These buildings have been dated by their architectural
details to the mid-13th century.
The other main buildings which ranged around the inner cloister, including the
monastic church to the north and further accommodation and service blocks,
survive in the form of buried remains beneath the later outbuildings and
grounds of Priory Farm. One of the 19th century barns built over the earlier,
eastern range is Listed Grade II. Some of the barns contain reused medieval
masonry from the disused monastic buildings.
A geophysical survey carried out in 1996 provided evidence for the survival in
buried form of further buildings and remains associated with the domestic,
agricultural and industrial activities of the monastery to the north, west and
east of the main cloister. Earthwork remains include levelled building
terraces, two fishponds and their water management system to the north east of
the main cloister and traces of a possible quay or landing place in the south
western corner of the monument. The geophysical survey also indicated the
existence of a complex water supply and drainage system represented by a
large, north west-south east aligned underground conduit which runs across the
precinct beneath the buildings of the main cloister.
The farmhouse, all barns, modern outbuildings and garden structures, the
electricity sub station, the modern surfaces of all paths, tracks, yards,
terraces and hardstanding, all modern fences and gates are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597
to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both
religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious
communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks,
canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of
religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. It is estimated
from documentary evidence that over 700 monasteries were founded in England.
These ranged in size from major communities with several hundred members to
tiny establishments with a handful of brethren. They belonged to a wide
variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. As a
result, they vary considerably in the detail of their appearance and layout,
although all possess the basic elements of church, domestic accommodation for
the community, and work buildings. Monasteries were inextricably woven into
the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship,
learning, and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some
orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence. They were
established in all parts of England, some in towns and others in the remotest
of areas. Many monasteries acted as the foci of wide networks including parish
churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. Some 225
of these religious houses belonged to the order of St Augustine. The
Augustinians were not monks in the strict sense, but rather communities of
canons - or priests - living under the rule of St Augustine. In England they
came to be known as `black canons' because of their dark coloured robes and to
distinguish them from the Cistercians who wore light clothing. From the 12th
century onwards, they undertook much valuable work in the parishes, running
almshouses, schools and hospitals as well as maintaining and preaching in
parish churches. It was from the churches that they derived much of their
revenue. The Augustinians made a major contribution to many facets of medieval
life and all of their monasteries which exhibit significant surviving
archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

Despite some disturbance caused by the construction of modern buildings, the
Augustinian monastery at Hardham survives comparatively well in the form of
standing architectural fragments, earthworks and below ground archaeological
remains confirmed by geophysical survey. Although they have been incorporated
within a later farmhouse and its grounds, these remains illustrate not only
the religious aspects of monastic life but also domestic, agricultural and
industrial elements.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Barker, P P, Geophysical Survey carried out at Hardham Priory, West Sussex, (1996)
Hills, G M, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in Hardham Priory of Canons of St Augustine, , Vol. 18, (1866), 54-59

Source: Historic England

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