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     Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 93  1977  page 33

Excavations on the Site of Leeds Priory.  Part  I  - THE CHURCH  By P. J. Tester, F.S.A.

The Augustinian Priory of St. Mary and St. Nicholas at Leeds was founded by Robert de Crevecoeur in 1119 and continued in existence until the Dissolution in 1539. Thereafter, an extensive mansion was built on the site which in turn was demolished at the end of the eighteenth century. Nothing now remains above ground of the church or claustral buildings although historical evidence indicates that the Priory was a place of wealth and importance. A partial excavation in 1846 was briefly noted in The Journal of the British Archaeological Association, ii (1847), but no plan or adequate description of what was found is known to survive.
   In 1973 the Kent Archaeological Society commenced an investigation for the purpose of locating the exact whereabouts of the Priory and discovering — as far as circumstances allowed — its plan and architectural character. This work progressed under the writer’s direction for four seasons during which a total of eleven weeks was spent in actual excavation. This has resulted in the discovery 

of sufficient evidence to enable a reconstruction of the layout to be made and also to elucidate the general architectural development of the church and claustral buildings.
In view of the fact that the excavations have now been back-filled, it is considered necessary to publish the evidence at length and in some detail, and for this purpose the report has been divided into two parts. The first, dealing with the monastic church, is presented herewith, while description of the chapter house and other claustral buildings, together with appendices on the finds, will follow in a future volume of Arch. Cant. [ Vol.94 1978 ]

Permission for the excavation was given by the landowners, Leeds Castle Estate, and we are grateful for the co-operation of the Agent, Mr. J. D. Money, and the tenant, Mr. R. T. C. Boucher. The late Mr. John Caiger made a preliminary survey of the site and produced draft

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