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     Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 93  1977  page 42

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

   Two parallel lead pipes were found running under the wall beneath the position of the eastern aumbry. Their projected line would cross the cloister garth in the direction of the layer beside the refectory entrance a fact of obvious significance.
   Features of the west end of the nave were well preserved in spite of having been covered by not more than a few inches of soil. The north side of the main west entrance remained with the four marble bases of its jamb-shafts (Plate VIIIB). The threshold had a long marble cill with a square recess in the stone paving immediately inside, this probably relating to a vertical draw-bar for fastening the double doors (Plate VIIIA). To the north was a smaller doorway with a similar cill and marble bases for single jamb-shafts on each side (Plate IXA). There were indications to suggest the occurrence of a blind arch on the south side of the main doorway to balance the appearance of the minor door to the north.
   The central part of the west front was covered by a narrow porch or narthex with three arches forming its west side, supported by two pillars on quatrefoil bases (Plate XA) with trefoil-based responds at each end of the arcade (Plate XB). In the corners of the porch were marble bases for thin trefoil shafts suggesting strongly that the porch was vaulted. A similar vaulted porch occurs at the west end of the fine fourteenth-century church at Snettisham, Norfolk, where it

forms a lean-to structure like the narthex of a typical Cistercian church. At Leeds, beyond each end of the porch was a chamber, covering the ends of the aisles and of unknown use. Their walls appear to have been too slight to have supported western towers. Projecting into the southern of these two chambers was a rectangular footing, which might have formed the base for a newel stair to a room over the porch. A chamfered plinth ran along the base of the west front and was continued round the two buttresses.
   The north transept was enlarged presumably at the same time as the rebuilding of the nave. All traces of its north-east corner had vanished, but against the north face of the Norman presbytery there was the short stub of a wall cut through by the foundation of the later presbytery. This stub is interpreted as remains of the east wall of the enlarged transept,4 the Norman north presbytery aisle and the adjoining transept chapel having been eliminated in the reconstruction.

The Late-Medieval Presbytery
The third major period of construction involved the replacement of the Norman presbytery by a long, square-ended and aisled eastern limb.
    4 An examination of mortar samples tends to confirm this identification. I am indebted to our member Mr D. G. Thompson, for making the analyses of the mortars.

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