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THE CLOISTER (4)
|THE NORTH AND EAST PRECINCT
The Precinct north and east of the church were separated by a recently excavated wall. This wall connected the northeast corner of the presbytery and the southwest corner of Watergate Tower (the low wall crossed by a stile between the north transept and the riverside wall may be relatively modern). It was the custom for part of this area to have been the priory graveyard and in Figure 4 it is shown north of the church. The medieval parish church yard may have been on the site of the present cemetery just west of the priory church (Figure 8).
The riverside curtain wall is pierced near the northwest corner by an arrow slit and by a low, narrow gateway onto the river. A single hanging eye and the draw-bar slots are preserved. An indent in the wall west of the arrow slit and a low foundation parallel to the river wall mark out the site of a low building, perhaps a grave-diggers house (53) (not represented in Figure 4). Two further arrow slits pierce the river wall nearer Watergate Tower.
A small Northwest Gate (54) permitted entry into the Precinct alongside Belfry Tower also. A round-headed outer archway opens into a segmentally arched gate passage containing the hanging eye for a single gate. The gate was secured by a draw-bar fitting into slots in the passage walls on either side. Foundations just inside suggest that the gate passage led into the Precinct via a small square gatehouse which opened into the Precinct through a south door (Figure 8).
The so-called Watergate Tower (55) was identified through excavation in 1974. Relatively thin walls (about 0.8m thick) enclose a square ground level chamber 5m across. An external stairway against the east wall ascended to the second storey and the battlements above. With a river gate close by to the west, was this really anything more than just another tower?
Postern gate (56) and Postern Tower (57)
The east wall of the Precinct is interrupted by a small postern gate11
(a side or rear gate) (56). The gate passage has the usual segmentally arched vault but lacks the round-headed
outer arch of the other priory gates. It passes through a stretch of wall over 1.5m thick. The wall is capped by
a wall-walk with a low uncrenellated parapet, reached by eleven steps on the north side of the gate. The priory
drain leaves the Precinct beneath the gate passage.
(c) Daniel Tietzsch-Tyler