Thursday is stoolball evening and today was no different- except that the weather was glorious (usually we have threatening clouds that gather at about 3pm on Thursday evenings) and I ended up in Lewes about 2 and a half hours earlier than I needed to be. I intended to potter around the town, but instead found myself wandering through Lewes Priory- a really beautiful and peaceful place that's right next to the stoolball field.
A few years ago it was refurbished (as much as a ruin can be) and now is much more visitor friendly rather than a ramshackle collection of random stones- there are signs that tell you where abouts in the Priory you are standing with historical facts, descriptions of the usage of rooms and drawings to help you visualise yourself as a monk.
There are still some lovely features, like beautiful windows or stairs that lead to nowhere...
I like to try and imagine what it might have been like before the random acts of graffiti. How were the roofs positioned, what were the floors like, was there furniture, tapestries, paintings, flaming torches....? There are lots of filled in arches, did they once lead somewhere or are the shapes in the stone just for decoration? How did the rooms connect, how many floors where there? So many questions!! If only time travel was possible....
(Apparently the big green space in the above photo used to be the monk's toilets- there were up to 50 cubicles in there so that they wouldn't have to queue for the loo in between sermons or prayer time.)
A little round the corner there is this big helmet like structure which has always been a source of fascination for me. The carvings around the top are so intricate and detailed (and a bit grisly).
There is also a little section, tucked away in a sunny spot against an elderly flint wall, for a herb garden- which contains plants that would have been grown in the priory's own herb garden. It's very pretty in there!
A perfect place for quiet contemplation and reflection.
If you are in the Lewes or East Sussex area, do go and check it out, it really is a lovely little place to visit.