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      THE RUINED NAVE  
             
Picture   It is, however, the opinion of some that this building was designed and intended to serve for something more than the parish church of a rapidly rising sea-port ; for, not only was the church--even as at first built-a grand cruciform structure, but the original Norman airless choir was taken down and rebuilt on a greatly enlarged scale and in the most sumptuous style.
  Although all direct historical reference is wanting, it is not improbable to assume that the monks, settled by de Braose at Sele Priory, were designed to be removed to Shoreham.
  This idea seems to receive some contirmation from the fact that William, son of Philip de Braose, gave to the monks of Florent, " the land at Shoreham of Ulnare the clerk," which the deed states " Saracenus formerly held." This gift he and his brother Philip made at the altar of St. Peter in the Church of Sele possession being given to David, a monk of St. Florent in the presence of his court.   De Braose also gave to the monks of Sele Priory, " in honour of the Blessed Mother of God, a house situated on the north side of the Church of St. Mary at Shoreham, free from all customary payments."
  The description of the position of this house seems to apply to " The Cottage "-formerly St. Mary's Cottage-a building of considerable antiquity, whose walls may well have been standing at the time when de Braose gave his monks " a house situated on the north side of the Church of St. Mary." Possibly the land of Ulnare the cleric may have been the garden-land adjoining to the west, on which it was designed to erect conventual buildings. In recent years the cottage has received very careful restoration at the bands of the owner.
           
  The foundations of the ruined Norman nave of the Church were excavated and examined during the summer of 1915, when some interesting discoveries were made. These included a south porch of spacious dimensions-apparently erected during the fifteenth century-and some of the original floor tiling. At the same time, part of the choir pavement was taken up and the foundations of the original semi-circular apse disclosed.
  At what period the nave fell to ruin is uncertain. The tradition -long accepted-that this took place during the fifteenth century, is now a matter of doubt. It was believed that the present west end comprising one bay of the nave, was built up at that time; and the doorway which has Norman details, constructed into a pointed arch from stones brought from the former western entrance.
           
             
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002