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The Abbey

A Grade I Listed Building in Salehurst and Robertsbridge, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.9873 / 50°59'14"N

Longitude: 0.4981 / 0°29'53"E

OS Eastings: 575428

OS Northings: 123845

OS Grid: TQ754238

Mapcode National: GBR PVP.0R6

Mapcode Global: FRA C6XH.RW0

Entry Name: The Abbey

Listing Date: 3 August 1961

Last Amended: 5 March 1992

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1221354

English Heritage Legacy ID: 412929

Location: Salehurst and Robertsbridge, Rother, East Sussex, TN32

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Salehurst and Robertsbridge

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Salehurst St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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Listing Text

In the entry for;

13/10 (south side)

3.8.61 Robertsbridge Abbey Farmhouse
and ruins in the garden.
(formerly listed as Abbey
Farmhouse and the ruins of
Robertsbridge Abbey)

II* (star)

The entry shall be amended to read;

13/10 (south side)

3.8.61 The Abbey


Abbot's house, later private house. Cistercian Abbey of Robertsbridge
founded by Alured and Alicia de St Martin in 1176. Buildings on
present site started c1200 but the Abbot's House would have been the
last to be built, possibly c1225 in time for Henry III's visit but at
least by c1250, with C16 alterations after the 1530's when it passed
to Sir William Sydney and c1567 when it may have been adapted for the
use of Sir Henry Sydney after his marriage and a T-wing added on the
south side. Further early C19 alterations. Original range of
undercroft with first floor hall of stone rubble with some early C19
brick infill to north east and tiled roof with 3 brick chimneystacks.
T-wing to south has half-hipped gable and is clad in weatherboarding
and east end is also clad in weatherboarding. West elevation has gable
end with wooden bargeboards and upper part is tile hung. Large first
floor C13 hall window with arch and colonnettes and smaller 3-light
C20 mullioned window set in it. Smaller C13 trefoil window to right.
Undercroft has 2 small Caernavon-arched windows. North elevation has
2 C16 3-light mullioned windows, 2 other C19 mullioned windows, 1
stone buttress and a triangular brick buttress.
Caernavon-arched doorway to Undercroft. East side has gable end clad
with weatherboarding and incorporating a C13 wall once part of the
Cellarer's quarters turned into a lean-to addition. Tiled roof
external brick chimneystacks casement windows and C17 3 plank door.
South front has late C16 to early C17 addition clad in weatherboarding
with half-hipped gable. First floor has mid C19 6-pane sash, other
windows C19 casements. To left is smaller 2 storey addition, also
weatherboarded with C19 sashes and early C19 6 panelled door.
Virtually complete 5-bay early C13 roof structure survives of 3 crown
struts, differentiated from crown posts because there are no collar
purlins and the member rising vertically from the tie beam is tenoned
into the collar. Almost uniquely among the roofs of this kind known
to date, the crown strut does not reach the ridge, the only other
example known at present being the Nave of Chichester cathedral. The
crown struts are slender and octagonal with moulded top and 4 head
braces. Roll-moulding to central beam. Above the moulding the crown
strut is chamfered and rises nearly to the apex with 2 further collar
beams spliced in. The fourth crown strut was removed when a brick
chimneystack was inserted in the C16. Sans-purlin roof with most
rafters original and 2 collars. Rafters are smoke-blackened,
particularly to west of the inserted chimneystack. Undercroft has 3
double bays of quadripartite ribbed Caen stone and 2 circular stone
columns and brick paving. C13 stone staircase to first floor level
from stone arch and similar stone arch to outside. Ground floor room
to east of Undercroft has C16 sandstone fireplace with wooden lintel.
Ground floor room to south has C16 fireplace, the lower part in
sandstone but with wooden lintel with 4-centred head and blank
spandrels above. Studded plank door to pantry. First floor of original
wing has east room with C16 roll-moulded ceiling, C13 trefoliated
window with colonnettes and C16 open fireplace with wooden lintel but
stone below. The large room adjoining has C16 4-centred arched
fireplace with plain spandrels. 2 stone arches have capitals with
foliate capitals but are probably of c1830-40. South wing has exposed
frame with midrail and jowled posts, 4 inch chamfered spine beam with
lambs tongue stops, oak floorboards and oak winder staircase to attic.
Attic bedroom has wooden fireplace of c1830-40 but the hearth is tiled
with superlative quality Medieval tiles, either geometrical patterns
or depicting pike, running dogs, shields, fleur de lys and other

[See 'Medieval Archaeology' Vol II (1967) p276
'Medieval Archaeology' Vol XXVII (1983) pp128 and 129
Article by John Warren "Origins of the English Crown post roof and the
significance of the roof at Robertsbridge Abbey.
B.O.E. Sussex p589
Jerrard Williamson "Abbey of Robert's Bridge"]


13/10 (south side)

3.8.61 Robertsbridge Abbey Farmhouse
and ruins in the garden.
(formerly listed as Abbey
Farmhouse and the ruins of
Robertsbridge Abbey)


The Cistercian Abbey of Robertsbridge was founded by Alvred Alice de St Martin in
1176. The main portion of the Abbey surviving is the Abbot's house of about 1250
which comprises the present residence, formerly a farmhouse. This has a crypt of
3 double bays of quadripartite ribbed stone vaulting with 2 round stone cols. The
building above is mainly of stone rubble with some red brick and brick buttresses at
the back, and the East gable end is weather-boarded. Steeply-pitched tiled roof.
Casement windows. 2 storeys. 4 windows. In the west wall is a pointed stone
medieval doorway and a small ogee-headed window. On the south side a small T-wing
has been added in the early C17. This is weather-boarded and has a half-hipped
gable. To the south east of the House are the ruins of a rectangular building of
stone rubble with the remains of a pointed recess and 2 round-headed windows. This
was part of the Frater.

Listing NGR: TQ7543023845

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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