with ranges on its east, west and south sides.
As the excavation proceeded, it became apparent that a much more elaborate structure had existed than could have been anticipated by the excavators. The church in particular showed a complex development with a minimum of seven periods of building occurring during its 400 years of use.
The first masonry church was of a simple cruciform plan typical of 12th century Romanesque churches. The aisle-less nave was the same width as the presbytery; transepts of an identical width ran north and south.
It seems clear that over the crossing would have been a tower. A small chapel lay to the east of each transept. The construction of the church was of well coursed ashlar masonry in the local red sandstone with a rubble and mortar core. The church was consecrated in 1157.
Early changes involved the extension of the church westwards, giving an overall length of 61 metres. During the 13th century the east end of the church was drastically altered. The two transept chapels were enlarged and the presbytery was extended east by 9 metres.
The early 14th century saw a renewed spate of building activity. The north transept chapel was extended for a second time, and within the church at its eastern end was laid the mosaic type glazed tile floor described below.
A further change to the church occurred in the late 14th century when its length was increased yet again. The building of what is probably a large Lady Chapel at the east end of the presbytery brought the overall length to 86 metres. The final expansion occurred in the 15th century. The capacity of the nave was increased by demolishing the nave north wall and building on an aisle.
Several periods of construction can also be identified in the other buildings of the Priory. The east range was built after the church had been completed, continuing the