Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Site of Nunburnholme Priory

A Scheduled Monument in Nunburnholme, East Riding of Yorkshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 53.925 / 53°55'30"N

Longitude: -0.7024 / 0°42'8"W

OS Eastings: 485306.352001

OS Northings: 448432.90083

OS Grid: SE853484

Mapcode National: GBR RRJ1.QQ

Mapcode Global: WHGDM.5LSW

Entry Name: Site of Nunburnholme Priory

Scheduled Date: 6 March 1953

Last Amended: 25 January 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011897

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21121

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Nunburnholme

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 Benedictine Priory of Saint Mary
located next to the Nunburnholme Beck. Extensive earthworks are visible
across the whole of the site. These include several embanked islands on which
the principal buildings of the priory would have been located. Adjacent to
these is a wide complex of water-management features and, to the north of
Manor Farm, a group of well preserved but now dry fishponds. These various
water-management features are fed and drained by two streams, Nunburnholme
Beck to the west and an unnamed stream to the east - the courses of both of
these streams are partly engineered and embanked where they run through the
monument. The priory was founded in the reign of Henry II, before 1262, and
was dissolved in 1536, when a prioress and five nuns were living there. By
the end of the nineteenth century the priory survived only as earthworks and
in 1905 it was partially excavated by the antiquarian M C F Morris. Morris
investigated the south western portion of the site in which he found a number
of stone foundations. It was not clear from these excavations which priory
buildings had been located and hence little is as yet known about the actual
buildings and their layout. It is not certain that all the the remains
uncovered were of medieval date as the discovery of quantities of
Romano-British pottery and a coin of the Emperor Caracalla suggest that the
monastic site may overlie earlier structures. Other Roman coins have
subsequently been found at the site. The farm buildings and estate road
within the monument are excluded from the scheduling, though the ground
beneath them is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A nunnery was a settlement built to sustain a community of religious women.
Its main buildings were constructed to provide facilities for worship,
accommodation and subsistence. The main elements are the church and domestic
buildings arranged around a cloister. This central enclosure may be
accompanied by an outer court and gatehouse, the whole bounded by a precinct
wall, earthworks or moat. Outside the enclosure, fishponds, mills, field
systems, stock enclosures and barns may occur. The earliest English nunneries
were founded in the seventh century AD but most of these had fallen out of use
by the ninth century. A small number of these were later refounded. The tenth
century witnessed the foundation of some new houses but the majority of
medieval nunneries were established from the late 11th century onwards.
Nunneries were established by most of the major religious orders of the time,
including the Benedictines, Cistercians, Augustinians, Franciscans and
Dominicans. It is known from documentary sources that at least 153 nunneries
existed in England, of which the precise locations of only around 100 sites
are known. Few sites have been examined in detail and as a rare and poorly
understood medieval monument type all examples exhibiting survival of
archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

Despite limited damage from the construction and use of Manor Farm, and
limited excavation, the monument survives well as a series of earthwork
remains. It will retain evidence of the buildings which formerly occupied the
precinct, and the fishponds and other water-management features will retain
environmental and archaeological remains in the silts which have accumulated
in them.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bulmer, T, History and Directory of East Yorkshire, (1892), 687
Kitson Clark, M, Gazetteer of Roman Remains in East Yorkshire, (1935), 118
Knowles, D , Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, (1971), 254-262
Midmer, R, English Medieval Monasteries 1066-1540, (1979), 100
Morris, J E, The East Riding of Yorkshire, (1932), 279
Morris M C F, , Nunburnholme, its History and Antiquities, (1907), 149-178
Ramm, H, The Parisi, (1978), 100
Sheahan, , Whellan, , History and Topography of York And The East Riding, (1856), 563
'Yorks. Weekly Post' in Yorkshire Weekly Post, (1906), 16
'Yorks. Arch. J.' in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal : Volume 16, , Vol. 16, (1902), 273
'Yorks Arch. Journal' in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal: Volume 38, , Vol. 38, (1955), 258
Dugdale, , 'Monasticon' in Monasticon (Volume IV), , Vol. IV, (), 279
Morris, M C F, 'The Antiquary' in The Antiquary (Volume 42), , Vol. 43, (1906), 155-156
3962, Humberside County Council 3962,
3962, Humberside SMR 3962,
56/34 - 56/37, Crawshaw, North Yorks. County Council 56/34 - 56/37,
AJC 037/12 -14, Crawshaw, North Yorks. County Council AJC 037/12 - 14,
AJC 037/18 - 20, Crawshaw, North Yorks. County Council AJC 037/18 - 20,
CUC JZ 40-41, CUC JZ 40-41,
CUC RW 07 - 11, CUC RW 07 - 11,
OS 71/138/277-8, OS 71/138/277-8, (1971)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.