​Fragment of the blocked door at the west end of th chapel

The upstanding remains at Swingfield consist of a length of wall lying to the north-west of the chapel  and the preceptory chapel itself. The wall, which is listed at Grade II (1242405), is 30m long and constructed of flint. According to Rigold (Grove and Rigold 1979, 121) it has a slight central projection and 'until recently' formed the back wall of a shed about 5.5m wide. The east gable of this building is shown in the 1807 watercolour.  Rigold (ibid) identifies this building as the 'long house with a stable next to the said gate' in the 1529 itinerary and the List description cites a 16th century 'or earlier' date.  Its construction is the same, though less refined, as that of the chapel. Accordingly, this wall may be a surviving fragment of one of the 14th century preceptory buildings.

 ​The main building at Swingfield is the preceptory chapel, listed at Grade II* (1242361). The chapel has been the subject of a detailed architectural analysis by Fry (2013, Appenix 2c) and the following remarks should only be regarded as a summary. On architectural grounds the original building is dated to the mid 13th century, though it exhibits signs of several major modifications in the 16th and 19th centuries. It is built of flint and stone with stone quions and dressings. The roof is tiled. It is rectangular in plan, oriented roughly east-west and measures 19m by 8.3m. A two storey porch projects from the north-west corner. Both the northern and southern walls have been truncated at the west end indicating that the chapel was originally part of a larger building. Rigold's commentary on the 1529 itinerary (ibid 122) estimates this truncated section to have been about a third of the original building, giving it an overall length of about 40m.

The east elevation is the least altered with three pointed lancets, stepped in height and with oculi above them. The north elevation has three tall lancets, the most easterly being original 13th century work equivalent to its counterpart in the south elevation (see below). The central and western lancets are 19th century cement facsimiles  replacing two rows of three rectilinear openings which are depicted in the 1794 and 1807 illustrations. These were bricked up before the insertion of the cement lancets. Close inspection of the north elevation reveals traces of both this blocking but also fragments of the jambs of the original lancets, which can also be traced in the interior.  The west elevation, marking the truncation of the original building, is tile hung with 19th century sashes. 

The south elevation has a complicated story to tell representing aspects of the chapel's history as a 19th century farmhouse, a Tudor mansion and the eastern two thirds of the original preceptory building. Three openings, all now blocked date from the later phases. These consist of ground- and first-floor doorways with brick dressings. The 19th century illustrations  show that these openings probably relate to an outshut, a trace of which is preserved in a truncated stump of walling immediately to the west of the main window. The 1905 photograph shows that these outshuts had been removed before the conversion of the chapel to a farmhouse. There are three window openings; a tall, narrow lancet towards the east end, a board pointed arched window in the centre and a  first floor lancet above a water-table or string course near the west end. The fact that this latter lancet only lighted the first floor can be taken as evidence that the west end of the chapel was floored from the outset, implying a second storey chamber at this end of the chapel. The presence of such a chamber is a feature of a number of  preceptory chapels; those at Poling (Sussex), Godsfield (Hampshire), and Sutton-at-Hone (Kent) being examples (Rigold 1966, 119-120 figure 10). This view has been adopted here in the case of the chapel at Low Chibburn in Northumberland. The eastern and western most lancets at Swingfield are of the same date as the three in the east elevation and Cotton (1930, 65) has suggested that the larger, middle window is a 14th century replacement of an earlier lancet matching those to either side. Finally, there is a fragment of a pointed arched ground-floor doorway preserved in the truncation at the west end. This provided access to the, now missing, third of the preceptory building.

​A crypt or cellar is now found under the east end of the chapel but this thought to be 16th century or later in date.

The porch, situated at the west end of the northern elevation, is of two storeys and has higher eaves and a lower ridge than the main range. It is thought to be of 14th century date and outer and inner doorways are pointed-arched. The outer has an incised cross. Access to the room over the porch was probably gained from the upper floor of the chapel.

SWINGFIELD PRECEPTORY archaeology 1