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Haltemprice Augustinian priory

A Scheduled Monument in Willerby, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.765 / 53°45'53"N

Longitude: -0.4194 / 0°25'9"W

OS Eastings: 504286.500072

OS Northings: 431005.045624

OS Grid: TA042310

Mapcode National: GBR G2F.WR

Mapcode Global: WHGFJ.JMHK

Entry Name: Haltemprice Augustinian priory

Scheduled Date: 13 February 1957

Last Amended: 9 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019825

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32639

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Willerby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Willerby

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes buried, earthwork and standing remains of an Augustinian
priory that was established on the site of the earlier settlement of Newton.
It is located at the east end of Abbey Lane, extending around and including
the ruins of Haltemprice Priory Farm, which is a Listed Building Grade II*.
The Augustinian priory of St Mary the Virgin and the Holy Cross was originally
founded in 1321 by Thomas de Wake close to Baynard's Castle, his fortified
manor house in Cottingham. With the exception of the two Charterhouses at
Mount Grace and Hull, it was the last monastic foundation in Yorkshire.
However, it proved impossible to obtain secure title to the site to prevent
de Wake's heirs reclaiming the land, so in c.1325 Thomas de Wake moved the
community to the small settlement of Newton, 2.4km to the south. Newton, which
was first documented in the late 12th century, was effectively replaced by the
new priory and the area was renamed Haltemprice. The priory was granted the
manors of Newton, Willerby and Wolfreton and the churches of Cottingham, Kirk
Ella, Wharram Percy and Belton in Axholme. The first prior, a canon who had
transferred from Bourne in Lincolnshire, was appointed in 1327, but died soon
after. He was replaced by one of the only three other canons in the community
at that time. In 1367 the Archbishop of York ordered an investigation into
Haltemprice, which was found to be heavily in debt and badly run. A letter
from Pope John XXIII dated 1411 noted that the priory was incomplete and had
insufficient income to meet its needs. It went on to note that the bell tower
of the church had recently blown down, ruining the church and other buildings,
and that the priory's gatehouse and adjoining offices had been destroyed by
fire. A number of the other buildings were also in ruins so that the priory
was scarcely habitable. Despite this state of affairs, by 1424 there were 12
canons including the prior at Haltemprice, increased from the 9 recorded in
1380. In 1440 Kingston upon Hull was granted the status of a county with its
boundary including Haltemprice, separating the priory from Cottingham. This
led to disputes because the priory claimed several rights from its foundation
and later charters which were now infringed by Hull. One such dispute, in
1515, is said to have led to a skirmish between the Sheriff of Hull with 200
townsmen and the canons supported by their farm tenants. The priory was
suppressed in August 1536, at which time there were nine canons and a prior,
together with 40 servants and boys. The net income of the priory in the
previous year was recorded as being one hundred pounds. In September, after
the speedy sale of goods from the priory, including roofing lead, realised
nearly 250 pounds for the Crown, the priory was leased to Sir Ralph Ellerker
of Risby. Later that year Sir Ralph was one of the local leaders of the
Pilgrimage of Grace, and he briefly returned some of the canons to
Haltemprice. The Pilgrimage of Grace was a short-lived popular northern
uprising partly in opposition to Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Sir Ralph was pardoned by the Crown at the end of 1536, and he retained the
lease to the priory, and subsequently bought the property outright.
Haltemprice Priory farmhouse is thought to have been rebuilt by the Ellerkers
in the mid- to late 16th century, reusing medieval bricks and stone quoins and
incorporating part of one of the priory's buildings built a few years before
the Dissolution. The east end of the house was reconstructed in the late 17th
century and the present west wing was added in the following century along
with the complete re-roofing of the building.
Haltemprice Priory is located in a low lying area of land. To improve the
drainage of the site and to provide some measure of security during times of
unrest, a system of moat ditches was constructed around the priory, some of
which are now incorporated into modern drainage works. The core of the priory,
the inner precinct, would have typically included the priory church, domestic
accommodation for the prior and canons including a dormitory, refectory and
chapter house, along with other buildings, possibly including an infirmary and
guest house. The higher status buildings are thought to have been brick built
with stone detailing, with other buildings being timber framed. Aerial
photographs and map evidence show that there is a large, roughly rectangular
enclosure defined by moat ditches which are now mainly infilled. This
enclosure extends 120m east and 200m north of the eastern end of Abbey Lane,
with the demolished remains of the later farm buildings roughly at the centre
and the standing remains of the farmhouse approximately central on its
western side. The line of the western ditch is followed by a modern footpath.
This enclosure is considered to form the original inner precinct of the
priory. In addition to the farmhouse, which includes part of a high status
early 16th century building including a doorway and section of walling, buried
fragments of architectural worked stone have also been uncovered in this area
in the past. To the east of this enclosure there is an area known as Ash Hill.
This is a second moated enclosure which is also roughly rectangular, but with
an irregular eastern end. It measures up to 120m north-south and extends 190m
eastwards from the eastern moat of the inner precinct. The moat ditches, which
are still used for drainage, are still open. Towards the centre, orientated
with the northern side of the enclosure, there is a slight linear depression.
This is interpreted as the infilled remains of a set of three linked
rectangular fishponds, each originally just over 30m by 12m. The buried
remains of further features related to the priory are considered to survive in
this area. The eastern moat of the inner precinct extended northwards, as a
narrower ditch, for a further 200m to meet the drain which defines the
northern side of the monument. Extending from the west side of the northern
end of this ditch are the infilled remains of a double ditched enclosure 30m
by 40m internally, 60m by 70m externally, with a single ditched annex
extending 60m from its western side. Further features, including trackways and
ditches between the inner precinct and these northern moated enclosures can be
seen on aerial photographs as earthworks before 1960 and as crop marks
thereafter. This whole area is considered to retain buried remains of the
priory's outer court, which typically would have included the service
buildings for the community, such as a brewery, bakehouse, granary and stores,
along with accommodation for the lay people who served the priory. It may also
have included the buildings of a home farm working the surrounding land. This
area is thought to have developed out of the earlier settlement of Newton
which the priory took over, and buried remains of this earlier settlement are
also considered to survive within the area of the monument.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.

Around 6000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases moated islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
were built primarily as a status symbol rather than for defensive reasons,
with improved land drainage being an important secondary factor in lower lying
areas like the Humber basin. The peak period of moat building was between
about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in central and
eastern England. However, moated sites were built throughout the medieval
period and are widely scattered throughout England, demonstrating a wide
diversity of forms and sizes. They are a significant class of medieval
monument and are important for the understanding of the distribution of wealth
and status in the countryside. Many examples provide conditions favourable to
the survival of organic remains.
The tradition of constructing and using fishponds started in the medieval
period and peaked in the 12th century, their use declining after the
Dissolution. They were typically built by the wealthier sectors of society
with royal residences and monasteries often having large and complex
fishponds. They were designed to retain slow-moving fresh water to allow the
breeding, cultivating and storing of fish to provide a sustainable year round
supply of fresh food. They typically had a complex water management system of
leats and sluices to control water levels, sometimes incorporating moats which
were also sometimes used as fishponds. Fishponds are found widely scattered
across the country, the majority in central, eastern and southern parts and in
areas with heavy clay soils. Fewer are found near the coast or where natural
lakes and streams provided a natural source of fish. Although approximately
2000 examples are recorded nationally, this is thought to be only a small
proportion of those originally in existence. Despite being relatively common,
fishponds are important for their association with other classes of medieval
monuments, and in providing evidence of site economy.
Haltemprice Augustinian priory is a good example of one of the smaller and
less successful religious communities. Its importance is heightened by its
late foundation date and the survival of the Tudor farmhouse which
incorporates building fragments from the priory. The monument will also retain
important buried archaeological remains, both of the priory's inner and outer
precincts, and of the earlier settlement of Newton. The infilled moat ditches
are of special significance as they will include environmental evidence that
will aid our understanding of the medieval life and economy of the area.

Source: Historic England


Record Card, Sites and Monuments Record, 4520, (1998)
Record cards, Sites & Monuments Record, 810, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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