Alfriston Clergy House
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Excellent example of a medieval Wealden hall house
The purchase price was 10 pounds, which sounds insignificant today, but in 1896 would still have been a fairly sizeable sum, roughly equivalent in purchasing power to a few thousand pounds. Even so, it was considered a nominal sum, much like we might 'sell' something for 1 pound today just to satisfy the legal requirements of a sale.
The house is made of wattle and daub, filling in the gaps in an oak frame. This infill is now covered in a lime wash. The house was built as an open hall, with two storeys. To the east are family rooms, with a parlour and garderobe, with a solar above. At the opposite end of the hall were small chambers for storage and food preparation, with quarters for servants above. There would have been an open fire in the centre of the hall, and there was no chimney; the smoke from the fire was expected to work its way through the thatched roof.
A small garden runs from the house down to the Cuckmere River. Reeds grow along the river banks, so it is not surprising that the roof of Clergy House is covered in thatch, with river reeds forming the base layer! In the 16th century the service rooms were replaced by a crossing wing, projecting to the rear of the house. The windows throughout the house would have been unglazed, with only wooden shutters for protection from the elements, until the 17th century. Small diamond paned window glas was added then, and an upper floor inserted in the hall. This upper chamber has been removed by the National Trust so that we can see the house in its original 14th century state.
Be aware that there is no parking at the Clergy House. You will need to use the main village car park to the north, as you come into Alfriston off the A27.
About Alfriston Clergy House
Address: The Tye, Alfriston, Polegate, East Sussex, England, BN26 5TL
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: off B2108
Website: Alfriston Clergy House
Phone: 01323 871961
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: TQ521 029
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Alfriston, St Andrew's Church - 0.1 miles (Historic Church)
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