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     Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 93  1977  page 38

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

   From the east side of the north-east pier there projected a surviving length of the north wall of the Norman presbytery, standing 2 ft. 6 in. above the original floor level. Unfortunately, its eastward extension could not be followed as it appeared to have been completely robbed out in the course of later alterations.
   The north wall of the twelfth-century north aisle of the nave was found below later floor levels and its ashlar-bonded junction with the north transept was observed. Part of what appeared to have been an external buttress was noted although its position did not coincide with any likely bay intervals of the nave.
   Absence of any trace of the nave pillars makes it impossible to estimate accurately the number of bays although it may be assumed that they were narrower and therefore more numerous than the five bays of the Decorated rebuilding. The south pier arcade must have occupied the same alignment as its successor.
   The main deficiency in our knowledge of the Norman church is in regard to its layout east of the transepts. Evidence at present available indicates that there was a presbytery flanked by aisles, with the addition of a pair of short apsidal chapels. Most likely the presbytery was apsidal and probably of no great projection, the western part of its side walls being solid, as shown by excavated remains.

Rebuilding of the Nave
Early in the fourteenth century a reconstruction of the nave took place. The opening between the north aisle and the transept was blocked and plastered over on the eastern side A new arcade of five bays was then built on an alignment some distance north of its Norman predecessor. The outer wall of the new aisle had buttresses which are assumed to have coincided with the positions of the piers. Only in the eastern bay could actual traces of a pier be observed by an impression of the square plinth in the mortar of the sleeper foundation, but the base of the eastern respond was well preserved (Plate VIIA). It possessed a marble2 bench on its south and west sides and the chamfered lower part of the plinth was of the same material. From its form it may be deduced that the arcade piers were octafoil in plan, with four major foils separated by lesser shafts, a conclusion confirmed by the discovery of a complete capital of the same size and form elsewhere on the site and almost certainly derived from the nave arcade (Fig. 3, no. 1).
   Communication between the transept and the new aisle was effected
   2 The word ‘marble’ is used throughout this report for shelly ‘Paludina’ Limestone of Wealden origin much used in medieval buildings for decorative purposes. Dr. R. P. S. Jefferies informs me that the fossil fresh-water shells which used to be called Paludina are now recognized as Viviparus. The stone is sometimes called Sussex Marble.

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