The south chapel was built in 1847 after the excavation of the site of the Priory during the building of the Brighton to Lewes Railway in 1845.
The remains of William de Warenne and his wife Gundred (latinised as Gundrada) were found in small leaden caskets.
These remains had been removed from their original resting place before the High Altar of the Priory Church, and re-interred in those caskets
in the floor of the Chapter House when it was built in the thirteenth century.
The following is one of the many translations of the inscription:
Illustrious branch of Ducal race
in brought into England's Church
pious as Mary and as Martha kind
to generous deeds she gave her
Though the cold tomb her
Martha's part receives.
Her Mary's better part forever
0 Holy Pancras keep with greater
A mother who has made her sons
On the sixth calends of June's fateful morn
the marble frame by inward
freed the pure soul which upward
bent its way
to realms of love and seeds of
These caskets are now in niches in the south wall of the Chapel, but the remains of William and Gundred were buried again in the
floor of the chapel, under the original grave slab of Gundred. This had been found in the eighteenth century, face down, as a common paving
stone in nearby Isfield Church.
It was for many years thought that Gundred was a daughter of William the Conqueror but this cannot now be sustained.
She died in 1085 at Castle Acre, Norfolk, apparently her favourite home. Her remains were brought back to Lewes to be buried
in the Priory Church which she and her husband founded.
The tomb slab is stylistically of the period of re-interment rather than of the original burial, and is considered to be an
important piece of roman-esque art. There are sundry other finds in the Chapel, including the damaged effigy of a Knight
also found during the railway work.
Maps & Directions |
(c) 2007 Southover Church.