states that it is the only known example of such a ‘beak-head’ in Kent
Professor Zarnecki has examined photographs of the chapter
house carvings and in his expert opinion they date from c. 1160. He
makes comparison with the chapter house at Rochester (c. 1150—60),
but whereas the spurs on the bases there are pointed, those at Leeds are
foliated and of greater interest.
The trefoiled scrolls with binding ties on an abacus (Fig. 3,
no. 6) are matched by work on the lavatory tower in the monastic buildings
of Canterbury Cathedral, ascribed to Prior Wibert between 1153 and 1167.
The walls on either side of the entrance survived to a height
of 2 ft. 6 in. and if the doorway had been flanked by the two openings
usually found in that position, their cills could not have been less than
that height above the cloister floor.
Only a small part of the interior was fully excavated, mainly
in the area of the destroyed apse. No burials were encountered but a small
patch of tiles slightly below the estimated floor level could have formed
the floor of a grave of the type found by Mr. A. C. Harrison in the
medieval St. Mary’s Hospital at Strood (Arch. Cant., lxxxiv,
1969, 146). There were signs of later disturbance and pieces of coal
covered a late floor level, from which it is concluded
that the chapter house was used for the storage of that material in
post-Dissolution times. No evidence survived of a bench against the inside
of the walls as frequently occurred in chapter houses.
Consideration has been given to the possibility that the
chapter house was extended eastwards in the later Middle Ages and provided
with a square end in place of the apse, as might be inferred from the plan.
Constructional evidence and the stratification — particularly the high
level of the base of the extended north wall — does not, however, accord
with such an interpretation.
The East Range
The side walls of the dormitory range were traced at several points but
the interior of the building could not be uncovered due to the presence of a
plantation of poplar trees in the area. At this point the ground rises
steeply on the side of the valley towards the east and drops away southward
beyond the limit of the range shown on the plan where the foundations
vanished completely so that we were unable to discover the original length
of the range nor the situation of the reredorter which should have been
sited in that direction. The east wall of the range was seen to butt against
a wall lying east—west, in line with the south side of the chapter house
although of separate construction.