Cluniac Priories - St Pancras, Lewes

Cluniac monasteries were all priories, subordinate to the Abbey at Cluny, in Burgundy, France. Cluny was established in 910 as a Benedictine monastery. There were concerns at this time about the laxity of monasteries, which were often used as comfortable retirement homes for the nobility. Under Abbot Odo an attempt was made to reinforce the rules of Benedict. The rules were strict, though unlike the later Cistercians art was encouraged.
  The first Cluniac priory in England was established c1081 in Lewes, Sussex. It was founded by a Norman nobleman, William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, Lord of Lewes, and dedicated to St Pancras. It was intended to be a means of asserting Norman control of post invasion England.
  The first church was a humble building of wood, but within a hundred years a very grand church was under construction, the largest church in Sussex, exceeding even Chichester Cathedral. All that remains now is ruins.
   Eventually, there were 22 Cluniac priories in England. I will look at two more.



On to Castle Acre Priory

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