The cathedral close: The bishop's palace

Pages 147-153

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1935.

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The BISHOP'S PALACE stands south-west of the cathedral and is, in the main, of a half-H-shaped plan with the wings extending to the south. There are also projections to the north-west angle and to the south-east (the 'great kitchen'). From the last is a long range of outbuildings extending southwards to the gatehouse which stands at the west end of Canon Lane. (fn. 1) The building has undergone many vicissitudes, with the consequence that the precise history of its development is obscured by the later repairs and alterations.

There are some slight indications of a 12th-century origin in the south wall of the 'great kitchen'; some windows there may have lighted a basement or a lowlying chamber which has been lost in the subsequent buildings. Otherwise the earliest remains are those of the chapel at the east end of the main block. This is of early-13th-century date, and may possibly have been built or begun at least by Bishop Seffrid II (d. 1204). It is recorded that the bishop's house was burnt in the fire of 1187 (fn. 2) and that Seffrid rebuilt his houses in the palace. (fn. 3) These details of the chapel approximate closely to those of the south porch of the cathedral, but may be a little later, as there is no touch of the Norman carving to be seen in the porch.

The form of the building which existed side by side with the chapel is uncertain, but there appears to have been west of the chapel a lobby or passageway which may have been of only one story, and west of that a great hall some 84 ft. long and somewhat wider than the chapel. Its walls still remain, but no windows or other details have survived. Under the present roof, however, can be seen its original east gable head with a cross at the apex.

The walls of the chapel are complete without the lobby or passage, and there are indications that the north-west angle of the chapel had a buttress on its west face as well as on the north face. If so, this west buttress must have risen above the lower lobby. Therefore it is probable that while the west gable of the chapel was free, the east gable of the great hall was also free above the lobby, and there do not appear to be any traces on its east face of the abutment of a roof against it.

The walls of the square hall known as the 'Great Kitchen' may be also of the 13th century or earlier date, but its roof is probably unique so that it is not possible to fix its age by comparison with any parallel example. The arches of the upper part of the framing are not unlike those of St. Mary's Hospital in the city, but the manner in which they are carried on braced trusses or hammerbeams suggests an advanced piece of engineering more likely to occur in the 15th than the 13th century.

There was a reconstruction or remodelling of the chapel in the 14th century, probably the work of Bishop John Langton (1305–1337), when the windows in the east wall and north wall (except the westernmost) were altered. This was probably contemporary with the addition of a north-east wing which afterwards became the chancellor's lodgings. There appears to have been no cause for alteration to the south windows of the chapel: from this it may be inferred that there already existed some building against this side between the chapel and the 'great kitchen.'

Late in the 14th or early in the 15th century the great hall was provided with a new roof; it is somewhat after the same style as that over the cloister, but the central purlin is of an earlier section than that over the east walk. As this roof was made higher than the original gable, it is probable that the hall was then made into a two-storied structure instead of one. (fn. 4)

The south-west wing may have been added in the 15th century, and perhaps the south-east wing to match. The former was remodelled by Bishop Robert Sherburne (1508–1536), who may have had the upper floor inserted for his fine painted ceiling, the work of the Bernardis. The south-east wing flanking the west side of the 'great kitchen' shows now no detail earlier than the 17th century.

A wing was thrown out to the north of the main block at the west end. It may have been added by Bishop Sherburne; if so, the fact that it was of red brick, whereas the south-west wing is of flint and stone, would seem to confirm the pre-existence of the latter. On the other hand, it may not have been built until after the Reformation, when it was desired to provide quarters for the female members of the household. The wing as well as the earlier north-east wing were subsequently destroyed, probably after the siege of 1643; only a fragment of the north-east wing remains, and a portion of the red brick building which was patched up in the 17th century.

There is an inscription that Bishop Edward Waddington had found the palace in a ruinous condition, and had restored it in 1727; also an additional inscription that Bishop John Buckner had also restored and altered the building in 1800.

Waddington. Argent a cheveron between three martlets gules.

Buckner. Gules a clasped book open between three bucks' beads razed or.

The difference between the works of the two bishops is not altogether apparent, but doubtless the former was responsible for the arcaded corridor on the south front, and the latter for the fenestration and for the partial destruction of the south side of the great hall roof for the insertion of attic bedrooms. Probably both are responsible for further additions on the north side for the servants' quarters. The main staircase north of the south-west wing (dining room) is Waddington's work. Various repairs and alterations have been carried out also during the last century. The roofs throughout are tiled.

The Chapel (about 40 ft. by 19 ft.) stands east of the main block. The east window is of three trefoiled ogee-headed lights and net tracery of the 14th century on a two-centred head; it has chamfered jambs and a partly hollow chamfered arch; the internal splays are plain: the pointed rear-arch is hollow-chamfered. On either side of it are the remains of the outer lancets of the original 13th-century triplet. Externally all that is now seen are the straight joints of the outer jambs and parts of the moulded pointed arches; the 'hold-water' base of the southernmost shaft has also been revealed. Internally the southern nookshaft is visible, with its capital carved with 'stiffleaf' foliage and having a moulded square abacus, and its 'hold-water' base; also rather more than half of the moulded rear-arch. At the angles— completely exposed on the north-east—are 13thcentury clasping buttresses of ashlar, and below the window is a 13th-century string-course stopping at the buttresses.

The walling is Quarr Abbey stone and some flint. The filling-in of the 13th-century lancets is mainly of flints with some square stones.

The gable head has been altered and heightened in 16th-century red brick, and is crow-stepped. In it are two brick-built loops and, lower, another one not central. It is flanked by pointed pinnacles.

In the north wall are four windows. The eastern three are each of three cinquefoiled lights and leaf tracery of the 14th century: the sections of the jambs and head are like those of the east window. The westernmost window is one of the original 13th-century windows. It was covered by the 14th-century north-east wing (chancellor's lodgings), and therefore remained unaltered. It has shafted jambs inside and out and a pointed head, the arch and rear-arch being moulded with rounds and hollows as in the east window. The north wall has two intermediate buttresses between the first and second and second and third windows, of which the east has been added and the west enlarged recently. At the west end of the wall is another 13th-century shallow buttress with the string-course carried round it, and next to it a strip of cement and straight joint, which appears to indicate a former similar buttress against the west wall of the chapel.

In the south wall of the chapel are four original windows of the 13th century, but the three eastern are blocked and the westernmost has the sill raised for the south doorway. This window is masked outside by one of the 18th-century sash windows.

The doorway is round-headed and of three moulded orders: the outer two are carried on Purbeck marble shafts which stand free of the splayed jambs and have stone foliated capitals and 'hold-water' bases as well as moulded sub-bases. The mouldings bear a close resemblance to those of the south porch of the cathedral, but the keeled edge-rolls are well contoured. The innermost order has a roll-and-hollow mould continued from the jambs. The internal reveals and segmental rear-arch are of square section. In it is an old battened door with 18th-century framing or rib-work planted on the face, and old half-round ledges inside. On the south face of the wall only the lower lines of the blocked windows can be seen (towards the entrance-passage).

The chapel is vaulted in two sexpartite bays so that the wall-ribs form four pointed arches against the north and south walls. The main cross-rib is of a moulded square section with a keeled edge-roll and rolls and hollows, while the radial ribs are of a less definite group of hollows and rounds. They spring from carved capitals with moulded round Purbeck marble abaci and rather tall pointed corbels of stone well carved in tiers of trefoiled or cinquefoiled leaves. The arches of the wall-ribs are stilted and the webbing undercut to clear the side windows. While the wall-ribs against the west wall form a good two centred arch, the arch against the east wall is semicircular, or even less, to clear the heads of the triplet of lights. The two central bosses are carved with foliage.

In the east window of the chapel are a number of medallions or panels of the arms of the bishops, but the only really old one appears to be the uppermost in the south light, which bears the arms of Bishop Sherburne set inside out and reversed—a lion quartering a pelican—and the motto operibus cred. The top shield in the middle light is faded and may be old. The glass in the quatrefoils of the tracery is of the time of Bishop Sherburne and his successor, Richard Sampson: in the top is a Tudor rose in a shaped frame, under a crown. In the north quatrefoil is a shield in a garter, charged with the arms (with many quarterings) of Sir Anthony Browne, K.G., 1540.

Bishop's Palace: Screen at West End of Chapel

In the south quatrefoil also in a garter is the quartered shield of Sir William Fitzwilliam, K.G., 1526, who was created Earl of Southampton in 1537.

On the south wall is a delicately tinted painting of the Virgin and Child. The Virgin is represented seated on a throne: she is wearing a pink robe powdered with fleurs-de-lis and is crowned: she holds in her right hand an orb and sceptre and with left is supporting the Child, who stands on her knee. On either side are censing angels: the background is blue powdered with fleurs-de-lis. The crown, the Child's nimbus, the orb and sceptre and the fleurs-de-lis, etc., are gilded. It is surrounded by a quatrefoil within a roundel which is 2 ft. 7 in. in diameter, and is evidently of early to mid 13th-century date. There are also two painted consecration crosses: one under the first vault-corbel is of 1 ft. diameter and has eight flowered arms (white) and two rings (yellow) with red infilling; the other, under the second vault-corbel, is of 9¼ in. diameter and is of more simple character: it has four flowered arms and one ring. In the south wall is a piscina with a deep round basin of twenty foils: it is set on a rectangular recess which has chamfered jambs with broach stops and a thin Purbeck marble lintel.

The western half-bay has an early-14th-century oak screen across it. It has a pair of doors in the middle. The lower half of the screen and doors is closepanelled; the upper half is open with trefoiled ogeeheaded bays and tracery: the arches are carried on turned-round posts with moulded capitals and bases. There are eight bays to the north half, two to each leaf of the doorway, and six and a half bays on the south half; three south of the doorway are normal like the north half: next these is a square post, south of which are the other three and a half bays. The southernmost round post or baluster, and the half balusters against the south side of the intermediate square post, the north side of the north door-post, and the north half-baluster of the north leaf, are all of 17th-century turned mouldings, the others are original. The moulded rails of the fixed parts are original, the cornice is modern.

The paving is modern wood blocks, but at the sides west of the altar step are some ancient tiles set diagonally, green glazed alternating with red tiles 6½ in. square. The altar-pace has modern mosaic. On the west wall is a brass inscription recording that Bishop Charles John Ridgeway (1908–1919) had restored the chapel. The west lobby or antechamber of the chapel, which was probably of one story originally, has now a brick barrel-vault. It is divided into two cellars. In the south wall is a round arched recess which may have been a doorway, and in the north wall there appears to have been another doorway of which there is a late-14th or early-15thcentury label in position outside. The recess formed by the walling-up of this doorway contains a window. The lower story of the wall outside is cemented, but the upper story is a mixture of flints and other materials, evidently a later work. In the east wall of this chamber, seen in the north cellar, are some stone quoins and part of a semicircular arch suggesting a blocked doorway which once opened into the chapel: there are no visible traces of it in the chapel.

The range of rooms occupying the site of the great hall are divided by partition-walls which have little or nothing to indicate their age, but in the ceilings are ovolo-moulded beams running both ways, which are probably of late-16th or early-17th-century date. There appears to have been a fairly large doorway at the east end of the north wall of the hall, judging from the patching of small flints and stone seen outside. In this patching or filling-in is a modern doorway to a passage-way. The wall-face west of this is of modern brick.

The upper story of the north wall has been a great deal altered. The walling of mixed material over the former lobby or antechamber to the chapel contains a modern window, and next west of this is a corbelledout brick chimney-stack of early-17th-century brick, and again west of that at the top of the wall can be seen six quoin-stones of the former north-east angle of the great hall, forming a straight joint with the later masonry: below the quoins the angle is lost in a patching of flints. Farther west there are late17th or early-18th-century windows with wood frames and transoms and an 18th-century projecting brick chimney-stack.

The south front of the main block has a projecting one-story corridor built by Bishop Waddington (1724–31). It has a range of nine round arches; the westernmost two are walled up; one is fitted as a doorway and the others fitted with windows.

The main wall of the first floor has five irregularly spaced tall sash windows, the easternmost masking the 13th-century window of the chapel. The walling is of stone rubble with brick dressings to the windows, and patches of red brick repairs. The second floor has a similar range of windows of less height. The rooms on the first floor have little or nothing of age except a high dado of 17th-century panelling along the north passage. In two of the attic chambers are remains of a late-14th or early-15th-century roof obviously later than the gable with the cross. They consist of arched braces to common rafters and a moulded central purlin or ridge piece which is also central with the gable. Those on the south side have been mostly cut away in the later alterations to the south front. In the north passage which runs alongside the rooms the curved timbers are plastered.

In the room east of the gable are some re-used timbers of the 15th century or earlier. One horizontal timber is moulded and set upside down as a kind of purlin: this is of the 14th century. Another is an upright with two shafts worked on it, and with moulded bases (now at the top); it may be part of a 15th-century screen.

The attic-passage is lighted by three dormer windows and the bedrooms by the sash windows seen on the south elevation.

The south-west wing is built of flints with stone dressings and has an embattled parapet of red brick of the 18th century. The west side has a deep projecting chimney-stack, the lower part of which is of flint with stone quoins. The top has a crow's-step gable in red brick, and above that is a modern shaft. There are two windows in the west wall which have moulded jambs and sub-cusped cinquefoiled heads and (inside) moulded and panelled splays and fourcentred rear-arches. The jambs are old (early 16th century), but the mullions and some other portions are modern restoration. At the south end of the wall was a similar window, but this has been walled up. There are two modern windows of the same design in the east wall and one in the south. The upper windows are similar.

The dining room is divided from the stair hall at the north end by an old timber-framed partition and has a moulded four-centred doorway at its west end. At the other end is an 18th-century doorway. The fireplace in the west wall has moulded jambs and a flat four-centred arch in a square head. The spandrels are carved with Tudor roses and foliage. Above it is a broad plain frieze and a moulded cornice breaking forward over flanking pilasters and having a central corbel-head. The flat ceiling is divided into four bays by three rather elaborately moulded beams; the mouldings are matched in the cornice.

Each bay is subdivided by moulded ribs into eight panels which have rounded corners and duo-foils with foliated cusp-points. The spandrels in the rounded corners are filled with various kinds of carving, foliage, pelicans, etc., and foiled tracery.

All the thirty-two panels are painted, the work of the Bernardis. Every alternate panel has a large Tudor rose and the initials K. H. The others are painted with initials and shields of arms, among which can be distinguished Sherburne, Mowbray, Maltravers, West, Mortimer, Knill and Croft.

The staircase north of the dining room, of c. 1727, has comparatively thin spiral balusters and cut strings (or ends of the steps) carved with foliage. The upper chamber of the wing was altered in the 18th century. South of the chapel is a stone-paved passage from the east entrance. It has old joists in the ceiling and low gabled trusses at the east end. In it can be seen the lower lines of the blocked 13th-century windows to the chapel. A doorway in the south wall opens into the south-east wing. This wing, which practically coincides in length with the south-west wing, flanks the west side of the 'great kitchen.' The walls (partly covered with creeper) are of flints. The south end appears to have been gabled but was heightened in the 18th century in rubble and brick to an embattled parapet as on the south-west wing. In the south wall is a modern five-light window to the lowest story; a three-light square-headed window to the second floor appears to be old, probably 17th century. In the west wall each of the two floors has a range of 17thcentury two-light windows with moulded jambs and mullions and plain square heads. They have all been much restored. The wing is divided into two chambers and passage-ways. They have stopchamfered cross-beams in the ceiling of the 17th century.

In the east wall (the west wall of the 'great kitchen') is a blocked doorway of stone with moulded jambs and the damaged remains of a cinquefoiled segmental-pointed arch; it is probably of late-13thcentury date. Farther south is a modern fireplace and next it a low ashlar buttress with a V-shaped face, against a higher shallow buttress, probably of the 13th century. This is the only buttress of the kind in the palace, the others to the 'great kitchen' being square.

The chamber known as the 'Great Kitchen' is about 34 ft. square inside, and is built mostly of flint and rubble with dressed angles outside. It is entered at the west end of the north wall by a modern brickframed doorway, which is fitted with an old oak frame with stop-chamfered posts and chamfered lintel. Farther east is a large window with old splays of dressed masonry but fitted with a modern wood frame.

In the east wall are modern framed windows and a doorway, but some of these seem to be in older openings. There are two square buttresses to this wall and one against the north wall.

The south wall outside is more or less in line with that of the south-east wing; in it is a blocked doorway or archway with a segmental-pointed head and next eastward of this is a small round-headed window which is half below the ground level. This window may be of the 12th century and must have lighted a lower chamber than the 'kitchen.' Inside, the wall has a modern projecting fireplace behind which are indefinite traces of a former large fireplace. East of it is a rough recess apparently the back of a former oven.

In the west wall, at the south end, is a former square-headed window with quoined splays: it is filled in with brick to form a recess down to the floor, the part below the former sill-level having brick splays. Northward is a recess formed by another blocked window of less height than the first, which has old square jambs with large quoins and a segmental-pointed chamfered arch of fairly small voussoirs, that has also been filled in with brickwork. There is little to indicate the age of these windows; the second may very well have been of the 14th century or earlier. Farther north of this is the outline of the former foiled doorway to be seen on the west face of the wall. It is filled in flush with stone and flint and has a segmental-pointed arch of fairly thin voussoirs, and it is higher than the blocking south of it. Above it is a rough relieving arch. Reset in the wall north of the doorway is a headcorbel or label-stop, apparently a 13th-century king. The upper part of this wall appears once to have been pierced by a large window of which the lower jambstones remain in place. On either side of it are patchings indicating smaller windows. The top part of the wall is of whitewashed brick.

The roof has a central framing of purlins, about 18 ft. square, which is carried on square posts at the angles and between the posts are braces forming pointed arches, one in each side. Each post, instead of rising from the floor in the usual manner, is supported, just below the springing-line of the arches, on the conjoined ends of two hammer-beams at right angles to each other and sloping slightly upwards from the walls. These form parts of cantilever trusses with wall posts and curved braces, carried on rounded stone corbels which have chamfered edges with tiny trefoil stops. The spandrels of the hammer-beam trusses have sloping struts in them, and those of the upper arches have struts crossing each other in X form. The arched braces have chamfered edges, those on the north truss are hollow-chamfered. Above the hammer-beams are principal rafters for a pyramidal roof: these go up to the apex, but cannot be seen as there is a flat ceiling at the level of the purlins. The angles of the purlins have short diagonal ties. The rafters of the sloping roof and ceiling are rather small, and many of them are modern. The wallplates from which they spring are plain and partly ancient. The pyramidal form survives on three sides but is lost against the west wall, where the roof is gabled.

North of the 'great kitchen' between it and the east entrance-passage is a small stair-hall with a mid to late 16th-century staircase up to the first floor of the south-east wing; it has square oak newels with moulded square heads and pendants, and flat shaped and pierced balusters. From the first to the second floor the balusters have been copied in deal. On the first floor landing are two 17th-century doors with moulded oak battens.

The wing at the north-west corner of the main building is of brickwork of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The early-16th-century walling suggests that the addition of that period was at least of L-shaped plan with the wings running north and east, the latter adjoining the older main block, and having the north wing projecting from the west half of its north side. There was a stair-turret in the angle of the two wings. The north wing was destroyed in the 17th century, but the other was left standing with the stair-turret, and where it adjoined the destroyed wing a new closing wall was built. In the 18th century other small additions and alterations were made, bringing the whole north front of this part more or less to one plane and overlapping the end of the former great hall.

Nearly in the middle of the north front is the side of the original 16th-century stair-turret. It has on the first floor a window of two lights and a transom with moulded jambs, head, mullion and label. The brickwork of the second story appears to be later than that below.

The Bishop's Palace: Staircase (16th cent.)

The walling next west is of 17th-century thin bricks: the east half of it is the later stair-turret, and has 18th or early-19th-century casement windows to the two stories; above, the walling is of 19th-century stone and flint rubble with brick quoins. One gable head covers the two turrets. The west half, of similar bricks, has a gable pairing with the other; the windows in this part are modern.

The east half of this front is of 18th-century bricks in two periods, one being part of an enlargement of the present kitchen.

The west front is of 16th-century bricks and has an embattled parapet. There are square projections at the north end and in the middle, and another at the south end projecting southwards. The north projection is corbelled out at a height of about 7½ ft. to a greater projection, on six courses of bricks, one of them dentilled. A number of disused original stone windows remain, one on the ground floor between the square projections, two to the first floor, one of them in the middle projection and the other in the side of the southern projection. The significance of these windows and projections is lost in the later internal arrangements. In the south wall of the wing is yet another blocked window to the first floor, but the windows in use are of the 18th or 19th century.

The present kitchen occupies part of the early16th-century wing, but was enlarged to the north in the 18th century. It retains a moulded ceiling beam of the earlier date. The servants' hall, occupying the rest of the wing, has no old features, but the bedroom above it has some late-16th or early-17th-century wall panelling, made up with later deal copies.

Although the lower part of the original square turret has lost its staircase in the lower story, the top story retains some of the old winders now disused and only approached from a second floor chamber.

The other former wing, which extended to the north, overlapped the west half-bay of the chapel enclosing its original window; it may have been contemporary with the 14th-century windows of the chapel. The building is said to have been used as the chancellor's lodgings, but it was probably a part of the bishop's residence originally. All that remains of it now is the lower part of its east wall, which serves as a garden wall or boundary wall to the churchyard; it is built of small flints with much mortar and contains the lower stones of three narrow windows.

The boundary wall extends right up to West Street and various straight joints and changes in the masonry suggest that there were buildings here formerly.

South of the 'great kitchen' is another long lower range about 120 ft. long containing offices, stables, etc. There are various blocked doorways and straight joints to indicate other uses and changes, but the original purpose of each part is not now evident. A portion of the east wall is of timber framing in the upper story. One doorway in the west wall has chamfered jambs and a pointed head of the 14th or 15th century.

The range terminates in the gatehouse at the west end of Canon Lane, which was apparently built about 1327, (fn. 5) and is of two stories. It is built of ashlar on the outer east face and of rubble on the inner west face. It has a carriage way at the south end, and northward of it a narrower foot-way, and north of that again a small walled-off chamber. The archways east and west have jambs of two chamfered orders continued on the pointed arches, the hoodmoulds of which are of a usual 14th-century section. The east arches are rebated and fitted with doors.

There are rectangular buttresses of two stages at the south-east angle, and two intermediate buttresses flanking the narrower arch on each face. The west angles have diagonal buttresses and at the north-east is a square stair-turret splayed back to an octagonal form above.

The upper story has two windows in the east front of two cinquefoiled ogee-headed lights under square heads with moulded labels, and there is a single window in the west wall. On the west face is a chimney-stack on corbels with a single octagonal shaft of which the upper part has been rebuilt.

The parapets are plain, with a grooved and hollowchamfered string and a modern coping. The room here in the upper story is said to have been the prison for criminous clerks and heretics. (fn. 6)

The gateway has a flat plastered ceiling, but it was either formerly vaulted or intended to be vaulted. There are chamfered wall-ribs springing from the remains of carved corbels, the north-west with a figure and foliage, the others with foliage only.

The north wall of the passage way is plastered; a pointed chamfered doorway at the west end opens into the side chamber, and midway is a cinquefoiled light; also a small upper light with a plain ogee head.


At the east end of the south alley of the cloister are the remains of the CHAPEL OF ST. FAITH, now converted into a dwelling-house. The origin of the chapel is unknown, but the connection of its dedication with Chichester can be carried back to the beginning of the 12th century, when about 1107 the feast of St. Faith was selected as the date for the bishop's fair called the Sloe Fair. (fn. 7) The chapel was maintained by the cathedral body and was in no way parochial. Dean Garland founded a chantry here in 1332 for the soul of Master Roger de la Grave, (fn. 8) and in 1396 the cathedral staff heard Mass in the chapel before proceeding to lay the foundation stones of the adjoining new Vicars' Hall. By 1403 the chapel was evidently falling into disrepair. Master John Paxton, one of the residentiary canons, was accused of making a common path from his lodging through the chapel, 'against the ordinance of the founder of the said chapel and the great loss and alienation of the goods and things of the [cathedral] church deposited in the same chapel for safe custody.' Paxton replied that the canons residentiary inhabiting his lodging, probably in Canon Lane, always had the right of going through the chapel to the cathedral. He was further charged with purloining timber deposited in the chapel for the work of the cathedral. (fn. 9) In 1441 it was reported that the chaplain of the chantry of Colworth in the chapel of St. Faith did not celebrate divine service for the founders and cut down and sold the trees growing on the chantry land. (fn. 10) Before this date the chapel had probably fallen into decay and the west end of it was pulled down about this time to make room for the cloister. The chapel was left apparently in a dilapidated condition, as Mr. Hannah suggests, until the reign of Elizabeth, when it was converted into a dwelling-house. (fn. 11)

The chapel was about 64 ft. long (east to west) by 25 ft., internally. The middle part of it (about 34 ft.) is a private residence; it lost 10½ ft. at its west end when the east walk was built, and the remaining 19½ ft. at the east end forms an open courtyard to the house.

It was built of flint with stone dressings, probably early in the 13th century and retains a lancet window of the period in the gabled west wall above the cloister roof, and another in the south wall, both visible externally; the latter has a hollow-chamfered reararch. Another in the north wall is said to be visible internally in a cupboard. (fn. 12) In the exposed east wall, towards the courtyard, is the north jamb and splay of the original east window. It was foiled and probably of three lights; there appears to be barely space enough for a triplet of lancets. In the adjoining north wall was another wide window of which the east splay remains.

The building had buttresses at the four angles. One exists at the north-east, projecting northwards; it is built of ashlar in two stages. Another projects into the cloister garth at the north-west angle.

When the cloister was built and encroached on its west end, its west doorway was removed to the south wall to serve as an entrance from the 'Dark Cloister' which flanked the south side of the chapel. This doorway has chamfered jambs of two orders and a pointed head of two hollow-chamfered orders, with a moulded label having defaced head-stops towards the cloister. This face is probably of the 14th century, but the rear-arch on the south face has a well-defined moulding of the 13th century.

The end of the chapel towards the east walk was closed by a timber-framed partition; the lower half of it is plastered, but in the middle is a 15th-century oak doorway with chamfered jambs and a pointed head. The upper half of the partition has been renewed with wood battens and vertical ribs.

When the chapel was converted into a dwellinghouse, probably in the 16th century, a large fireplace was inserted in the original east wall; this is now filled in.

The north front of the house is coated with cement and has a modern doorway and windows, including two half-dormers in the roof.

The internal arrangements are mostly modern, but the north and west walls of the western room are lined with late-16th or early-17th-century oak panelling. The main roof has been reconstructed, or drastically repaired; it was apparently of trussed collar-beam type.

The 'Dark Cloister' is said to have been of wood and was removed in the 18th century. (fn. 13) Several plain corbels for its roof remain in position.


The HOUSE OF THE ROYAL CHAPLAINS of Mortimer's Chantry stands west of St. Faith's Chapel and south of the south walk of the cloister. Its original purpose is unknown, but it served later to house the two priests who officiated at the chantry which was founded in the Lady Chapel by Henry V, and confirmed by Edward IV.

It is said to have had a 13th-century hall (fn. 14) with an undercroft 46 ft. 2 in. long. Whether the undercroft is vaulted cannot be ascertained without inspection, but the outline of the hall is indicated by the remaining north, south and west walls and quoins in the north wall to show where the original west wall (now gone) formed an angle with it; and the date is perhaps borne out by the existence of a blocked lancet window in the north wall (towards the cloister). There are also in this wall three blocked rectangular lights which lighted the undercroft. The wall is of flint with limestone dressings.

In the existing west wall can be seen the traces of the original gable head, a story lower than the present eaves. In it is the head of a trefoiled square-headed window and (over it) a cinquefoiled bull's-eye, probably of early-14th-century date.

Just east of the middle rectangular light in the north wall is the entrance doorway. Excepting the moulded label, this is a modern copy of the late15th-century doorway which was removed from here and reset in the garden wall towards Canon Lane (see below). It has moulded jambs and a fourcentred arch in a square head; the spandrels are carved with a portcullis and foliage on the one side and on the other a shield with a cross charged with a Tudor rose; around the rose are bored eight holes; there is also a late cartouche form of shield charged with a frette (for Maltravers ?).

Above the doorway is a framed stone tablet also of late-15th-century date carved in high relief in two tiers; the upper half has a crowned shield of the royal arms of Henry VII with a dragon and a greyhound as supporters. The lower half has a representation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (defaced) standing on a bracket which is carved with a winged demi-angel holding a Tudor rose; on each side of it is a kneeling figure, their heads destroyed; above them are fragments of scrolls. The transom between the two halves is battlemented. The moulded frame is also carved with devices, repeated several times; the east half has cressets or beacons, and chained harts and swans, the west half fleurs-de-lis, portcullises and Tudor roses alternating.

After the chantry was suppressed at the Reformation the house, instead of passing into possession of the cathedral authorities, was granted in 1549 by Edward VI to John Hereford of Bosbury and Richard Wilson of Ledbury, Herefordshire. (fn. 15) It has been altered considerably since then, chiefly in the 18th century.

The original doorway, reset in the garden wall on the north side of Canon Lane, is as already described. Above it is a carved stone not belonging to it which has a kind of cartouche foiled at top and bottom in which is a sort of a monogram, a W, and a reversed T with foliage (or chains ?) at the top; on either side of it are Lombardic letters E, one reversed. (fn. 16) In the middle topfoil is a roundel.


The HOUSE OF THE WICCAMICAL PREBENDARIES stands between the house of the Royal Chantry and the eastern side of St. Richard's Walk south of the cloister. It had a main hall 36 ft. long (east to west) by 18 ft. with two wings projecting at right angles to the south, the eastern about 25 ft. by 12 ft., and the western roughly about 11 ft. square. Whether the wings were connected with each other is uncertain. The walls of the original work are of flint with stone dressings. The building dates probably to the second half of the 14th century. Early in the 16th century it was occupied by Archdeacon Edward More. After his decease, Bishop Sherburne in 1523 allotted the building, with the wing east of the hall (deambulatorium), to the four new Prebendaries he created at that time. His description of the building is extant with the parts allocated to each Prebendary. (fn. 17) There appears to have been a kitchen south of or at the south end of the south-east wing.

The house has been much altered subsequently, but the undercroft and the thick walls suffice to indicate the extent of the original plan.

The most remarkable feature is the cellar, or undercroft of the hall; its walls are thicker than those above, so that its internal dimensions are less than those of the hall (about 35 ft. by 15½ ft.), and it is vaulted in a very irregular manner. The middle part has three bays of chamfered diagonal ribs, which die on the sidewalls side by side, but it is really nothing but a plastered barrel-vault, with cross-vaults or groining only where the two north doorways and two south windows pierce (or pierced) the walls, and these are not opposite each other. The south compartment of the easternmost bay is wider than the others and has an extra intermediate rib to allow the vault to clear the doorway into the south-east cellar. This doorway has chamfered jambs and a pointed head: the other doorway farther east, leading to the staircase between the two south wings, retains the original reveals. There were two windows in the north wall (towards the cloister) now blocked; the recesses formed by them in the cloister have chamfered lintels on shouldered corbels. The wall in which they are set is of flint. Between the windows is a projecting chimneystack apparently of the same date as the rest of the walling, and near the west end is a blocked doorway with moulded jambs and segmental-pointed arch having a hood-mould with defaced head-stops. It may be an insertion of Bishop Sherburne's time. Internally the upper part of the house contains no original features except perhaps the pointed recess in the passage south of the kitchen occupying the eastern half of the hall; this may have been an original doorway into the south-east wing, and is seen on the south face of the wall; there are no traces of it on the north face, but west of where it should be is another pointed recess.

Against the chimney-stack seen on the cloister, the kitchen has a wide fireplace splayed across the north-west corner.

The roof of the hall-block as seen in the attics has no very distinctive features; it is probably of the 18th century.

The block, which is now of three stories and attics, was probably of only two stories originally, above the undercroft. It is gabled at the west end and has modern windows. Its east wall (towards a small courtyard) has a 16th-century square-headed window lighting the kitchen; it is of four lights with a transom, and has hollow-chamfered jambs. The first floor has a modern sash window, south of which is the jamb of another window like that below. The second floor also has a modern window and traces of a former brick window.

The small south-west wing, which now contains the entrance hall, is also gabled on the west front like the hall-block and is of three stories; it contains an 18th-century doorway with a wood pediment and fanlight; the upper windows are modern. The wing probably had an undercroft, but it is not now accessible.

The south-east wing has a cellar to which access was gained from the vaulted undercroft. It has a splayed window in its west wall, now an opening between it and the cellar stairs, but otherwise has been modernised, as also have the upper rooms internally. The wing was lower than the hall-block and was originally gabled at the south end, but it was subsequently heightened and most of its east face rebuilt in red brick. A modern one-story addition is built east of it.

The building (Bishop Sherburne's 'deambulatorium'), which fills the space between the hallblock and the Royal Chantry House east of it, has a lower story of flints towards the cloister and a later upper story of soft limestone or chalk ashlar. In it is a doorway with a modern frame; the door, however, is probably of the 16th century; it is of nine panels, divided by moulded nail-studded muntins and rails, and is hung with strap hinges with foiled ends.

The south side of this building has its upper story built of timber framing of late-17th-century date with brick infilling.

Adjoining the south side of this house is another small residence of about the same period as the Deanery (early to mid 18th century). It is built of red brick; the elevation, on the east side of St. Richard's Lane, has tall sash windows and a middle entrancedoorway with a pediment.

The entrance to the cloister from St. Richard's Walk has splayed jambs and a four-centred arch of two hollow-chamfered orders probably of late-14thcentury date.

The remainder of the south wall of the cloister west of St. Richard's Walk is built of squared rubble and was occupied by the former Treasury. A house built in 1834 stands partly on the site.

The cloister is said to have encroached on the original building, but the window and doorway in the wall have their external faces towards the cloister. The window, which is of two square-headed lights with hollow-chamfered jambs and mullion, is now filled with modern coloured glass. The doorway farther east has moulded jambs and a pointed head with a rounded apex and a hood-mould; the rear to the south has a wood lintel. The doorway may be of the 14th century but subsequently altered, and the window perhaps of the 15th or 16th century.

In the south-west angle of the cloister is a splayed piece of walling which may have been the side of a stair-turret; in it about 10 ft. up is a cross looplight, and in the adjacent west wall of the cloister, about 7½ ft. up, is a tiny quatrefoil piercing now blocked.

The outer face of this angle was strengthened with a round buttress by the late Dean Burgon (1875– 1887); (fn. 18) traces of a crypt were then noticed, but were not exposed.

In the west wall of St. Richard's Walk, which was also a part of this building, there are another doorway and window, opening like those in the cloister on to a garden. The window at the extreme north end of the wall is like that in the cloister and is also glazed. The doorway farther south is square-headed and has chamfered jambs and lintel; above it is a moulded string-course or hood-mould.

In the garden wall of this residence on the north side of Canon Lane is another doorway, which has stone chamfered jambs and a brick four-centred arch in a square head with a moulded stone label, probably of early-16th-century date. The wall in which it is set is built of flints with brick courses.

Farther east on the same side of the lane is a small building, perhaps of early-16th-century origin, now used as a garage by the tenant of the house of the Wiccamical Prebendaries. The walls have some old flint masonry with later patches of brickwork, and the north end has a brick crow-stepped gable. A part of the upper story of the east side is of 17th-century timber-framing with brick nogging. The roof is probably of the early 16th century and is divided into four bays by trusses, none of which is in its perfect original condition, having lost one or more timbers. They have cambered tiebeams, which have (or had) curved braces below them, and there are curved wind braces below the purlins. The south front has been modernised and the roof is hipped instead of gabled.


The RESIDENTIARY, next to the gateway to the Bishop's Palace, on the south side of Canon Lane, was rebuilt in the last century (1870–80), but retains a reset doorway and window in the front wall. The doorway is of the 12th century and has shafted jambs and scalloped capitals with hollow-chamfered abaci. The round arch is of two orders, the inner plain, the outer enriched with cheveron ornament. The hoodmould is also carved with similar ornament. Modern renovation includes the inner order of the jambs (all but one stone), the abaci, the west capital and the east base. The window, farther west, is of mid to late 14th-century date, but now mostly restored. It has two cinquefoiled lights and a sexfoil in a twocentred head with a moulded label.

A modern oriel window on the first floor contains some reset coloured glass. It includes an early16th-century wreath enclosing a quartered shield of Weston. The wreath is green with purple infilling. Another wreath has a shield of late form on which can only be discerned a lion crowned or and (apparently) the saltire and bougets of Sacheverell. The wreath is of bay leaves and berries—brown and yellow—bound with ribands. Below is a scroll inscribed: 'Magnificate deum mecum' and an initial capital T. The same text (or parts of it) is visible on the ribands. There is also a roundel, probably not English, with an outline drawing of a crowned woman holding on her left arm a nimbed dove and in her right hand a pair of scales. She stands on a field of grass and flowers. Under it are scrolls with the name in black letter: Athfhuel (?) Falconer. On either side, a bird with yellow beak and wings.

A fireplace in the same room is said to have come from Halnaker House (whence also probably came the glass). It has moulded jambs and a Tudor arch with carvings in the spandrels, the initials I. T. and foliage. The cheeks of the fireplace have a series of Dutch scriptural tiles, and some modern replicas. The vestibule is paved with medieval tiles mostly in quatrefoil patterns with a star on each foil; others have lions, stars and fleurs-de-lis. (fn. 19)


  • 1. A paper by Mr. Ian C. Hannah on the Bishop's Palace in S.A.C. lii, 1–23, has been used for some of the facts in this article.
  • 2. Chron. Rogeri de Hoveden (Rolls Ser.), ii, 333.
  • 3. Cathalogus, Episc. Rec. Liber E; and Leland, Coll. ii, 341.
  • 4. During the repairs, etc., made before the present Bishop, Dr. Bell, resided at the Palace, two moulded tie-beams and the south wall-plate of the roof were ascertained by Mr. W. D. Peckham to be still in situ below the attic floor, and were measured by him. They are of the 14th century, agreeing in character with the exposed central purlin.
  • 5. Episcopal Rec. Liber B, fol. 76.
  • 6. Arch. xlv, 225.
  • 7. See above, p. 98.
  • 8. S.A.C. lvi, 93; lxxiv, 95. The bishop's assent was given in 1337.
  • 9. Rede's Reg. (Suss. Rec. Soc. viii), pp. 116, 120, 370.
  • 10. S.A.C. lvi, p. 94.
  • 11. Ibid. pp. 95–6.
  • 12. Ibid. 94.
  • 13. Ibid. 95.
  • 14. Ibid. lxviii, 148.
  • 15. Cal. Pat. R. 1549–51, p. 29.
  • 16. Mr. Hannah (S.A.C. lxviii, 150) suggests that the device is that of William Earnley and occurs on tombs of that family at West Wittering.
  • 17. Ibid. 151.
  • 18. S.A.C. lxviii, 155.
  • 19. Ibid. 139.