Hardham Priory


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015916

Date first listed: 18-Dec-1946

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Jun-1997


Ordnance survey map of Hardham Priory
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1015916 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 09-Dec-2018 at 19:54:35.


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

County: West Sussex

District: Horsham (District Authority)

Parish: Coldwaltham

County: West Sussex

District: Horsham (District Authority)

Parish: Parham

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 03435 17221


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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.

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


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

Legacy System number: 29279

Legacy System: RSM


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

End of official listing