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HARDHAM PRIORY

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The Priory of St Cross is situated circa 2.5 kilometres 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 remains. Historical records suggest that the monastery, known originally as Heringham Priory, was founded during the mid-13th century by Sir William Dawtry. In common with most religious houses, the main buildings range around the cloister. The frater fronted the southern side of the cloister yard and the surviving parts of this building are incorporated within the later farmhouse. The best surviving part is the undercroft. This is of six bays divided into two aisles with a groined, vaulted ceiling. Projecting to the south east of the frater are the ruins of an attached building which may be the kitchen or a common room. The eastern range is represented by the rectangular chapter house which is Grade I. 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, survive in the form of buried remains beneath the later outbuildings and grounds of Priory Farm. A geophysical survey 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 cloister. 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.

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