Collapse of historic flint wall sparks fury in Lewes

Prediction that sadly came true ... Dr Graham Mayhew and the collapsed section of the wall
Prediction that sadly came true ... Dr Graham Mayhew and the collapsed section of the wall

A large section of the former boundary wall of Lewes Priory has collapsed – leaving a former mayor of the town fuming.

It comes two months after the Sussex Express highlighted the issue, in which a furious Councillor Graham Mayhew lambasted Lewes District Council over continuing delays to repairs to the wall in Ham Lane.

Dr Mayhew, who is the leading authority on Lewes Priory, said this week: “I warned the district council on May 8 last year that this wall was in danger of collapse if repairs were not carried out before winter weather set in. I’m not at all surprised that my prediction has now come true.”

He continued: “This in an important part of Lewes’s heritage and the work which is needed now is considerably greater than what was needed last summer.

“I know the district council has been going through a staff reorganisation and it is not the fault of the new interim Head of Property who had arranged to put the work out to contract, but the fact remains that it hasn’t been done and now several hundred pieces of flint have fallen out of the wall leaving a gaping great hole.

“This is now going to cost Lewes council tax payers far more than it need have done and I would like a public assurance that the work is in hand and there will be no more delays.”

It was cruel timing that the collapse occurred when it did – work was just about to start on repairs.

A spokesman for Lewes District Council said that flint wall specialists have been scheduled to be on site this week.

They said: “It is unfortunate timing that a further deterioration of the wall has occurred just prior to this planned start of repair work.”

Dr Mayhew said of the wall: “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.”