Tales of the Gay Prioress of Easebourne
There are lots of priories in Sussex, and all in various stages of preservation, but I know of only one that is at present used as a vicarage, and this one is doubtless passed hundreds of times by the many sightseers who go to look at the famous Cowdray ruins. It is Easebourne Priory, where priory and church are almost one.
The beautiful and noble house of Cowdray, brought to ruin by fire in September, 1793, has such romantically historic associations that it is hardly surprising it should receive the wondering attention of visitors, who gaze mutely at the sheering but jagged stone of the great walls and the huge sixteenth-century windows now open to the sky. But the priory at Easebourne is not in ruin; in fact, with modernization, it is remarkably well preserved, and escapes the traveller's notice.
It was, of course, this very neglect, so close to our own doorstep, that persuaded us it was time a little of the old `glory' of the priory was restored. I use the word 'glory' because while our tale of Easebourne Priory will send us dipping back into the glory of Cowdray, it will also bring, to light a colourful little piece of scandal.