Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Ordnance survey map of THE ABBEY
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Statutory Address:

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

East Sussex
Rother (District Authority)
Salehurst and Robertsbridge
National Grid Reference:
TQ 75428 23845


In the entry for;

TQ 72 SE SALEHURST FAIR LANE Robertsbridge 13/10 (south side)

3.8.61 Robertsbridge Abbey Farmhouse and ruins in the garden. (formerly listed as Abbey Farmhouse and the ruins of Robertsbridge Abbey)

II* (star)

The entry shall be amended to read;

TQ 72 SE SALEHURST FAIR LANE Robertsbridge 13/10 (south side)

3.8.61 The Abbey


Abbot's house, later private house. Cistercian Abbey of Robertsbridge founded by Alured and Alicia de St Martin in 1176. Buildings on present site started c1200 but the Abbot's House would have been the last to be built, possibly c1225 in time for Henry III's visit but at least by c1250, with C16 alterations after the 1530's when it passed to Sir William Sydney and c1567 when it may have been adapted for the use of Sir Henry Sydney after his marriage and a T-wing added on the south side. Further early C19 alterations. Original range of undercroft with first floor hall of stone rubble with some early C19 brick infill to north east and tiled roof with 3 brick chimneystacks. T-wing to south has half-hipped gable and is clad in weatherboarding and east end is also clad in weatherboarding. West elevation has gable end with wooden bargeboards and upper part is tile hung. Large first floor C13 hall window with arch and colonnettes and smaller 3-light C20 mullioned window set in it. Smaller C13 trefoil window to right. Undercroft has 2 small Caernavon-arched windows. North elevation has 2 C16 3-light mullioned windows, 2 other C19 mullioned windows, 1 stone buttress and a triangular brick buttress. Caernavon-arched doorway to Undercroft. East side has gable end clad with weatherboarding and incorporating a C13 wall once part of the Cellarer's quarters turned into a lean-to addition. Tiled roof external brick chimneystacks casement windows and C17 3 plank door. South front has late C16 to early C17 addition clad in weatherboarding with half-hipped gable. First floor has mid C19 6-pane sash, other windows C19 casements. To left is smaller 2 storey addition, also weatherboarded with C19 sashes and early C19 6 panelled door. Virtually complete 5-bay early C13 roof structure survives of 3 crown struts, differentiated from crown posts because there are no collar purlins and the member rising vertically from the tie beam is tenoned into the collar. Almost uniquely among the roofs of this kind known to date, the crown strut does not reach the ridge, the only other example known at present being the Nave of Chichester cathedral. The crown struts are slender and octagonal with moulded top and 4 head braces. Roll-moulding to central beam. Above the moulding the crown strut is chamfered and rises nearly to the apex with 2 further collar beams spliced in. The fourth crown strut was removed when a brick chimneystack was inserted in the C16. Sans-purlin roof with most rafters original and 2 collars. Rafters are smoke-blackened, particularly to west of the inserted chimneystack. Undercroft has 3 double bays of quadripartite ribbed Caen stone and 2 circular stone columns and brick paving. C13 stone staircase to first floor level from stone arch and similar stone arch to outside. Ground floor room to east of Undercroft has C16 sandstone fireplace with wooden lintel. Ground floor room to south has C16 fireplace, the lower part in sandstone but with wooden lintel with 4-centred head and blank spandrels above. Studded plank door to pantry. First floor of original wing has east room with C16 roll-moulded ceiling, C13 trefoliated window with colonnettes and C16 open fireplace with wooden lintel but stone below. The large room adjoining has C16 4-centred arched fireplace with plain spandrels. 2 stone arches have capitals with foliate capitals but are probably of c1830-40. South wing has exposed frame with midrail and jowled posts, 4 inch chamfered spine beam with lambs tongue stops, oak floorboards and oak winder staircase to attic. Attic bedroom has wooden fireplace of c1830-40 but the hearth is tiled with superlative quality Medieval tiles, either geometrical patterns or depicting pike, running dogs, shields, fleur de lys and other designs.

[See 'Medieval Archaeology' Vol II (1967) p276 'Medieval Archaeology' Vol XXVII (1983) pp128 and 129 Article by John Warren "Origins of the English Crown post roof and the significance of the roof at Robertsbridge Abbey. B.O.E. Sussex p589 Jerrard Williamson "Abbey of Robert's Bridge"]


TQ 72 SE SALEHURST FAIR LANE, Robertsbridge 13/10 (south side)

3.8.61 Robertsbridge Abbey Farmhouse and ruins in the garden. (formerly listed as Abbey Farmhouse and the ruins of Robertsbridge Abbey)


The Cistercian Abbey of Robertsbridge was founded by Alvred Alice de St Martin in 1176. The main portion of the Abbey surviving is the Abbot's house of about 1250 which comprises the present residence, formerly a farmhouse. This has a crypt of 3 double bays of quadripartite ribbed stone vaulting with 2 round stone cols. The building above is mainly of stone rubble with some red brick and brick buttresses at the back, and the East gable end is weather-boarded. Steeply-pitched tiled roof. Casement windows. 2 storeys. 4 windows. In the west wall is a pointed stone medieval doorway and a small ogee-headed window. On the south side a small T-wing has been added in the early C17. This is weather-boarded and has a half-hipped gable. To the south east of the House are the ruins of a rectangular building of stone rubble with the remains of a pointed recess and 2 round-headed windows. This was part of the Frater.

Listing NGR: TQ7543023845


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Nairn, I, The Buildings of England: Sussex, (1965), 589
Warren, J, Origins of the English Crown Post Roof and the Significance of Robertsbridge Abbey
Williamson, J, Abbey of Roberts Bridge
'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Archaeology, , Vol. 2, (1967), 276
'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Archaeology, , Vol. 27, (1983), 128 129
'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Archaeology, , Vol. 2, (1967), 276


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

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Date: 30 Jun 2001
Reference: IOE01/06117/26
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Clive Read. Source Historic England Archive
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