Ancient Monuments

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Site of Warter Augustinian Priory

A Scheduled Monument in Warter, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.9434 / 53°56'36"N

Longitude: -0.6761 / 0°40'33"W

OS Eastings: 486996.467132

OS Northings: 450506.349326

OS Grid: SE869505

Mapcode National: GBR RQQV.F5

Mapcode Global: WHGDM.L48S

Entry Name: Site of Warter Augustinian Priory

Scheduled Date: 11 March 1953

Last Amended: 4 November 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008185

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21170

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Warter

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Nunburnholme St James

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the remains of the Augustinian Priory of Saint James
located in the village of Warter. Extensive earthworks are visible across
almost the entire site. These include building platforms and foundations, some
of which have been identified as remains of the church and the attached
cloister and its buildings. On the north side of the site a linear earthwork
may be an original boundary around the inner monastic precinct. A complex of
water-management features including dry fishponds is also visible. The
southern portion of the site includes the churchyard of the Grade II listed
modern parish church of Saint James, which was built on the site of the priory
church. The priory was founded in 1132 by Geoffrey FitzPain, on a site already
occupied by a church served by canons. Initially the priory was a daughter
house of Arrouaise but it had gained its independance by 1162. Warter Priory
was suppressed in 1536, when it was valued at 144 pounds 7 shillings and
8 pence, and was granted to the Earl of Rutland. After the Dissolution the
nave of the priory church continued in use as the parish church until 1864
when it was demolished and replaced by the present church. In 1899 William St
John Hope carried out a short programme of excavations to the east of the
present church, when the foundations of the priory church's tower, the north
end of a transept, and what were believed to be foundations of chapter house
and presbytery walls were located. The present church is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included. The small portion of
the churchyard, to the west of the church, which is still in use for burials
is not included in the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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. They were
established in all parts of England, some in towns and others in the remotest
of areas. Many monasteries acted as the foci of wide networks including parish
churches, almshouses, hospitals, farming estates and tenant villages. Some 225
of these 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.

Although a small part of the site has been disturbed by the construction of
the church and burials in the churchyard, the monument survives well with
various of the major buildings within the precinct identifiable from the
earthwork remains, including the claustral range north of the church. Limited
excavations have confirmed the location of the priory church and the survival
of below-ground archaeological remains. The fishponds will retain
environmental and archaeological remains in the silts which have accumulated
in them, and will contribute to an understanding of the wider economy which
supported the monastic community.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bulmer, T, History And Directory of the East Riding, (1892), 723
Knowles, D , Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, (1971), 158
Lawton, G, Religious Houses of Yorkshire, (1853)
Midmer, R, English Medieval Monasteries 1066-1540, (1979)
Morris, J E, The East Riding of Yorkshire, (1932), 335-6
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Yorkshire - York and the East Riding, (1972), 359
'Yorks Arch.J.' in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, , Vol. 31, (1934)
'Howdenshire Chronicles and Pocklington Weekly News' in Howdenshire Chronicles and Pocklington Weekly News, (1899)
Hope St John, W H, 'Transcriptions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society' in Excavations at Warter Priory, , Vol. 16-18, (1900)

Source: Historic England

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