Refectory above an undercroft, and the kitchen, etc.;
and on the west the cellarer's buildings of two stories. From this there
extends westwards a long series of chambers, perhaps part of the accommodation
for guests. The infirmary lies to the south-east.
Of the Abbey Church considerable remains exist. The nave
walls, and the west and south walls of the transept are more or less
entire, and the north tower with its wings is still standing to a height
of 40 or 50 feet. The eastern limb was laid bare during the excavations.
The most singular feature about the church is the tower.
Instead of being placed over the crossing or at the west end as is more
usual, it stands on the north side of the nave, at a distance of six
feet from the west wall of the transept. This peculiar position has a
parallel in several Kentish churches, e.g., Rochester Cathedral, Offham,
Orpington, Thanington, Dartford, Chelsfield, Brookland, St. Mildred's in
Canterbury, Godmersham; but a singularity here is the addition of a
flanking wing on the east and west side.*
It is difficult to find a satisfactory reason to account
this; perhaps the builders adopted these means to
mask the huge buttresses which were necessitated by the material óflint;
or the lack of aisles to the nave rendered it desirable to provide a
processional path through the basement.
In support of this latter theory it should be observed that
the lowest stories of all three divisions were vaulted, and open into
each other and into the nave and transept by arches, not doors, thus
forming one continuous passage. It has been suggested that the entire
block was also used for defensive purposes.
Owing to the destruction of the upper part of the tower,
the three divisions are now all of equal height, but the unfortunate
luxuriant growth of ivy with which the whole is mantled makes it
impossible to say whether the side portions retain their original
altitude, or nearly so, or
* The western tower of St. Nicholas Church,
New Romney, has a low lean-to aisle on each side, but not of such
importance as the wings here. See Mr. Scott Robertson's Paper in Arch.
Cant., XIII. Mr. Scott Robertson informs me that similar appendages
are found on each side of Sandhurst tower.