Medieval crypt, Church Street
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002289
Date first listed: 23-Jun-1939
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: East Sussex
District: Lewes (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: TV 48234 98922
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.
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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ES 111
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
East Sussex HER MES1692. NMR TV49NE6. PastScape 469825.
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing