To mark the 10th anniversary of the re-opening of Priory Park to the public, Lewes Priory Trust is presenting a season of 16 short talks in 4 evening symposia, online on Zoom. This free programme is for anyone with a love of Lewes history, telling the story of how our magnificent monastery became one of the top ten in England 900 years ago.
Make a note in your diary for the four symposia listed below – further details about registration will be available in April.
Tuesday May 4, 7.30pm: What did the Cluniacs ever do for us? This aims to show what was so special about the pathway to heaven offered by Cluniac monasticism, and how its great scholars and administrators put Lewes firmly on the European map.
Friday May 7, 7.30pm: The destruction and rediscovery of the Priory. The story of its demolition – which, thanks to the engineer’s reports, tell us much. The evening also tells how the driving of the railway through it, 300 years later, in 1844-6, led to more discoveries and the founding of the Sussex Archaeological Society.
Tuesday May 11, 7.30pm: Caring for a heritage site into the future. The present day’s conservation challenges are discussed in the third symposium. Speakers include the Lewes Town Clerk – the Council is the latest of the many dynasties of Priory owners and benefactors – as well as the Trust’s architect, and local flintman David Smith.
Friday May 14, 7.30pm: What the latest research is telling us. New insights into the lavatorium where the monks washed their hands before meals, and its associated but still mysterious tunnel. Also encouraging news of possible new excavations on the Priory site that would be scrutinised by Historic England, and evidence of the preservation of the Priory’s first small church for centuries, with its service as a shrine to Canterbury’s Saint Thomas Becket.
The series will then be rounded off on Saturday 15 May with a Guided Tour of the Priory Remains by two of the Trust’s experts.