How the walls were built

Section through reredorter wall

The main buildings, including the great Priory church, were put up in Quarr limestone in the Romanesque (Norman) style between c1082 to c1100 and in Caen stone in the Gothic style from c1145 to the 13th century.

The easiest place to see how the Priory walls were constructed is in the 12th century Reredorter (toilet block). The outside of the wall was faced in flint with quoins and string courses of stone to give strength. Flint was a readily available material from nearby fields or chalk deposits and was laid randomly undressed or halved or squared (knapped) in courses. The inside face of walls which were not decorated was often of dressed chalk blocks. The centre of the wall was filled with chalk rubble. Chalk was a cheap building material quarried locally. All the masonry was laid in lime mortar.

It is possible to see the holes left by the timber lacing (re-inforcing) that was built into the wall during construction. These have now rotted away. Putlog holes, to take timber scaffold beams, can also be seen.

Images © Lewes Priory Trust