Ancient Monuments

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Holy Trinity Priory

A Scheduled Monument in Warbleton, East Sussex

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Latitude: 50.939 / 50°56'20"N

Longitude: 0.335 / 0°20'5"E

OS Eastings: 564150.358358

OS Northings: 118107.209684

OS Grid: TQ641181

Mapcode National: GBR NTQ.1HM

Mapcode Global: FRA C6LM.GBF

Entry Name: Holy Trinity Priory

Scheduled Date: 7 June 1967

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002246

English Heritage Legacy ID: ES 357

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Warbleton

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Warbleton St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


Augustinian Priory of the Holy Trinity, 112m SSE of Monks Barn.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 26 February 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes an Augustinian Priory surviving as upstanding and below-ground archaeological remains. It is known variously as the Priory of the Holy Trinity, Rushlake Priory, Warbleton Priory, and the New Priory of Hastings. It is situated on the west slope of a valley through which flows Christian’s River, a short distance to the east. The surviving remains are located in the vicinity of The Priory Hotel, which is a 16th century Tudor dwelling constructed of monastic stonework on the probable site of the Refectory and Chapter House. The priory church survives as upstanding and below-ground remains east of the hotel. It is based on a cruciform plan and is about 38m long. The south, east and part of the north walls of the chancel survive to a height of about 1.3m along with traces of the buttresses. The outline of the north transept has been identified under grass, as has other foundations and the course of the main drain. A sepulchral slab, 1m long and of Sussex marble, has been removed from the chancel of the church but its current location is unknown. An oast house was later built on the site of the south end of the west range of the priory. To the east of the oast house, beyond a later brick wall, are the remains of the north refectory wall with part of a 15th century doorway. In 1974, the cellarium was partially excavated and a watching brief carried out over building alterations.

The Priory of the Holy Trinity was a house of Augustinian Black Canons originally situated in Hastings. That site was abandoned following encroachment of the sea and the priory was re-established at Warbleton, after Sir John Pelham obtained a licence from Henry IV to grant the canons new lands. The community remained at the site until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1536. After it was suppressed, the buildings passed to Henry VIII’s Attorney-General Sir John Baker and his descendents. They were used as a farmhouse and associated buildings before part of the site became a hotel.

The Priory Hotel is Grade II* listed and the wing 10 metres to the east (‘The Priory Oast’) is Grade II listed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

From the time of St Augustine's mission to re-establish Christianity in AD 597 to the reign of Henry VIII, monasticism formed an important facet of both religious and secular life in the British Isles. Settlements of religious communities, including monasteries, were built to house communities of monks, canons (priests), and sometimes lay-brothers, living a common life of religious observance under some form of systematic discipline. It is estimated from documentary evidence that over 700 monasteries were founded in England. These ranged in size from major communities with several hundred members to tiny establishments with a handful of brethren. They belonged to a wide variety of different religious orders, each with its own philosophy. As a result, they vary considerably in the detail of their appearance and layout, although all possess the basic elements of church, domestic accommodation for the community, and work buildings. Monasteries were inextricably woven into the fabric of medieval society, acting not only as centres of worship, learning, and charity, but also, because of the vast landholdings of some orders, as centres of immense wealth and political influence. Some 225 religious houses belonged to the order of St Augustine. The Augustinians were not monks in the strict sense, but rather communities of canons - or priests - living under the rule of St Augustine. In England they came to be known as `black canons' because of their dark coloured robes and to distinguish them from the Cistercians who wore light clothing. From the 12th century onwards, they undertook much valuable work in the parishes, running almshouses, schools and hospitals as well as maintaining and preaching in parish churches. It was from the churches that they derived much of their revenue. The Augustinians made a major contribution to many facets of medieval life and all of their monasteries which exhibit significant surviving archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

The Augustinian Priory of the Holy Trinity, 112m SSE of Monks Barn survives well with significant upstanding medieval masonry and below ground archaeological remains. The layout of the priory is still evident and much of the monastic precinct is unencumbered by later development, which will result in good survival of the buried remains. As such, there is considerable potential for further investigation, which will yield archaeological and environmental deposits relating to the former use and history of the site.

Source: Historic England


East Sussex HER MES4891. NMR TQ61NW2. PastScape 411995. LBS 295623, 295624.

Source: Historic England

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