Medieval crypt, Church Street

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1002289

Date first listed: 23-Jun-1939

Map

Ordnance survey map of Medieval crypt, Church Street
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: East Sussex

District: Lewes (District Authority)

Parish: Seaford

National Grid Reference: TV 48234 98922

Summary

Medieval undercroft below Crypt Gallery on the east side of Church Street.

Reasons for Designation

A domestic undercroft of the medieval period might comprise three, four or more vaulted bays depending upon the wealth of the owner. They 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, such is the case with the undercroft below The Crypt Gallery. All domestic undercrofts of the medieval period with significant surviving archaeological remains are considered worthy of protection.

The undercroft below The Crypt Gallery, Lewes survives well with some impressive medieval architectural details. It provides an important testament to the early history of Lewes. The monument has high amenity value, as a recreational and educational resource within the town, which adds to its value and importance.

History

See Details.

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 27 November 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 undercroft, or vaulted chamber, believed to date to the mid 13th century. It is traditionally known as ‘The Crypt’ and is situated below a modern building called ‘The Crypt Gallery’ on the east side of Church Street, near to a car park. The undercroft is constructed of at least two bays with a vaulted roof with Early English bosses. It is flint-walled and is approximately 8.2m long, 4m wide and 1.7m high. The undercroft is approached by an original stair on the east side with a corbelled roof and there are blocked pointed arches in the north and west walls. It is formerly thought to have been sited below a medieval merchant house or court house. It was originally approached by a painted arch and flight of steps on the north side and a flight of steps in the east wall. An area near the undercroft was excavated in 1993, which recorded the remains of three or four tenements.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: ES 111

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

Sources

Other
East Sussex HER MES1692. NMR TV49NE6. PastScape 469825.

End of official listing