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Leonard Stanley Priory

A Scheduled Monument in Leonard Stanley, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.7275 / 51°43'38"N

Longitude: -2.2882 / 2°17'17"W

OS Eastings: 380189.8838

OS Northings: 203233.449311

OS Grid: SO801032

Mapcode National: GBR 0LB.Q95

Mapcode Global: VH94X.9V53

Entry Name: Leonard Stanley Priory

Scheduled Date: 24 January 1951

Last Amended: 11 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018606

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31928

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Leonard Stanley

Built-Up Area: Stroud

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Leonard Stanley

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes an area of Leonard Stanley Priory, a Benedictine
foundation, which lies immediately to the south and south west of the church
of St Swithin and comprises a Saxon chapel, Listed Grade II*, a 14th century
tithe barn, Listed Grade II, a pond and the below ground remains of the
conventual buildings. The priory precinct would originally have been more
extensive, but the evidence for this is not fully understood and this wider
area is not included in the scheduling. The church of St Swithin was
originally also part of the priory complex, but is still in use as a parish
church and is also not included in the scheduling. All the conventual
buildings which would have stood to the south of the church have been
levelled, although a vault beneath the north end of Priory Farm, which is not
included in the scheduling, is thought to have been part of the priory, and
evidence for other claustral buildings is expected to survive below ground
level. To the south west of the parish church is a single celled, ruined
chapel of tenth or 11th century origin, which retains a blocked doorway with
an Anglo-Saxon hood moulding. In the southern wall of the building is 11th
century herringbone masonry, and where the chancel was enlarged during the
14th century, a two-light window of the same date with decorated tracery has
survived. The roof of the chapel appears to have been altered during the 17th
century and now has an asbestos sheet roof. To the west of the chapel is a
pond which is thought to have been a fishpond associated with the medieval
priory. To the south west of the chapel is the large tithe barn which retains
a complete medieval gable end containing the remains of a 14th century window
and a blocked doorway. The barn has a later porch extension on the eastern
front, above which is a dovecote. Several lean-to buildings have been
constructed on the east and south sides of the structure.
The western side of the precinct, to the south of the Saxon chapel, contained
the kitchen, which is known to have been a square stone building with a
louvred roof and which was standing until 1834.
Leonard Stanley Priory was founded as a cell of Austin canons between 1121 and
1131 by Roger de Berkeley, lord of the manor. In 1146 the house became a cell
of Gloucester Abbey, and therefore a Benedictine foundation. The Saxon chapel
was incorporated into the foundation, and until the completion of the church
of St Swithin, was the main place of worship for both monks and villagers,
after which it served as a guest and private chapel for the prior. The
foundation was dissolved in 1538, after which the site became a farm, and the
buildings were converted for use as farm buildings.
A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these are concrete
paths, the patio between the wings of Priory Farm, all dry-stone walls, wooden
fences, farm gates, modern farm outbuildings and lean-to buildings against the
two priory structures, all modern electric lighting and associated light
fittings within the two structures and all modern guttering; the ground
beneath all these features is, however, included.

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.
Benedictine monasticism had its roots in the rule written about AD 530 by St
Benedict of Nursia for his own abbey at Monte Cassino. Benedict had not
intended to establish an order of monasteries and wider adoption of his rule
came only gradually. The first real attempt to form a Benedictine order came
only in 1216. The Benedictine monks, who wore dark robes, came to be known as
`black monks'. These dark robes distinguished them from Cistercian monks who
became known as `white monks' on account of their light coloured robes. Over
150 Benedictine monasteries were founded in England. As members of a highly
successful order many Benedictine houses became extremely wealthy and
influential. Their wealth can frequently be seen in the scale and flamboyance
of their buildings. Benedictine monasteries made a major contribution to many
facets of medieval life and all examples exhibiting significant surviving
archaeological remains are worthy of protection.

The remains of the Benedictine priory at Leonard Stanley contains the remains
of a tenth or 11th century chapel which has survived to the present, despite
medieval and post-medieval alterations, along with a 14th century tithe barn
which also retains a number of original features. The priory would have played
an integral role in the life of the town at Leonard Stanley from the time of
its foundation until its dissolution in the mid-16th century. Leonard Stanley
was the subject of an archaeological assessment by Gloucestershire County
Council Archaeology Service in 1997. This provided information on the origins,
development and plan of the town from its in the earlier medieval period to
the present.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Herbert, NM, The Victoria History of the County of Gloucestershire: Leonard Stanley, (1972), 257-264
Herbert, NM, The Victoria History of the County of Gloucestershire: Leonard Stanley, (1972), 257-266
Herbert, NM, The Victoria History of the County of Gloucestershire: Leonard Stanley, (1972), 257-264
Verey, D, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1979), 298
Douthwaite, A, 'Gloucestershire Historic Towns Survey' in Leonard Stanley Archaeological Assessment, (1997), 2-3
Douthwaite, A, 'Gloucestershire Historic Towns Survey' in Leonard Stanley Archaeological Assessment, (1997), 2-3

Source: Historic England

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