Action promised on historic Lewes wall in danger of collapse

Historian's fears: Cllr Dr Graham Mayhew and the damaged wall
Historian's fears: Cllr Dr Graham Mayhew and the damaged wall

Lewes District Council this week pledged to resolve ongoing concerns about a badly damaged flint wall of historical significance.

There are fears the large hole in the surface of the structure in Ham Lane, Lewes, will grow worse with the onset of winter.

Cllr Dr Graham Mayhew said he first raised the issue of the collapsing wall, which runs alongside The Dripping Pan, with the council in May.

He said: “It is a flint wall with the usual outside skin and rubble infill. No doubt rebuilt on several occasions it nevertheless is a survival of the medieval boundary wall of Lewes Priory and is therefore of considerable importance historically.

“Immediately outside it in July 1377 a clash between the defenders of the town and soldiers from 100 French and Castilian galleys took place in which 200 Lewes men were killed and the Prior of Lewes and two other gentry captured and eventually ransomed.”

It was a fact historian Dr Mayhew included in his book The Monks of St Pancras.

He continued: “This wall is likely to collapse further with frost damage unless something is done before the very cold weather sets in, so any delay will mean that eventually repairs will cost more.”

Sy Morse-Brown, Chairman of Lewes Priory Trust, has also contacted the council. He warned: “Nearly two months have passed since you said you had sought a cost for the work. We are now in the frost season. What is the progress?”

A spokesman for Lewes District Council said on Wednesday (November 7): “We recognise the historic significance and importance of the wall and are liaising with Historic England about the necessary repairs.

“A quotation from a flint wall specialist has been received and we hope to have the work undertaken soon.”

Elsewhere, when the Lewes Buildings Preservation Trust was wound up earlier this year it donated its residual money of more than £1,000 to the Friends of Lewes.

This money is being applied to the restoration of the collapsing flint wall at the entrance to Church End, Cockshut Road, and the entrance to the small private car park at Church End is being slightly widened.