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Cartmel Augustinian Priory medieval gatehouse and parts of the priory precinct

A Scheduled Monument in Lower Allithwaite, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.2024 / 54°12'8"N

Longitude: -2.9532 / 2°57'11"W

OS Eastings: 337915.033

OS Northings: 478932.672

OS Grid: SD379789

Mapcode National: GBR 7MTV.FB

Mapcode Global: WH83C.LMXR

Entry Name: Cartmel Augustinian Priory medieval gatehouse and parts of the priory precinct

Scheduled Date: 4 December 1924

Last Amended: 3 September 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020454

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34976

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Lower Allithwaite

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Cartmel St Mary and St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Cartmel Augustinian Priory medieval gatehouse and
three parts of the priory precinct. It is divided into four separate areas
of protection.

The priory was founded in about 1190 by William Marshall, later to become
Earl of Pembroke and Regent of England. The first monks came from
Bradenstoke Priory in Wiltshire and were Canons Regular of the Order of St
Augustine. Major rebuilding took place during the 14th century. This
included removal of the cloisters and refectory from the south side of the
priory to the north, construction of the main priory gatehouse leading
into the precinct between 1330-40, and the enclosure of land surrounding
the priory by a precinct wall. In 1537 the priory was dissolved. The
church, however, served a parochial as well as a monastic purpose and
hence it was not demolished. Much medieval fabric survives including the
north and south transepts, the four piers supporting the tower at the
crossing, the doorway, and parts of the chancel and nave walls. Most other
buildings associated with the priory, apart from the gatehouse,
subsequently disappeared, probably used as a source of building material
for local houses. The gatehouse continued in use as a seat and courthouse
of the manor until it was sold as a schoolhouse in 1624. In 1790 the
gatehouse passed into private hands and was used for a considerable period
as a storehouse. In 1920 it was bought by R O'Neill Pearson who repaired
and restored the structure prior to opening it as a small museum and
exhibition hall in 1923. In 1946 the gatehouse was given to the National
Trust and it continues to function as a museum and exhibition hall.

The gatehouse is situated on the north side of the village square at the
south end of Cavendish Street. It is built of stone rubble with ashlar
dressings and a slate roof, and consists of a four-storey rectangular
structure with a stair turret to the east and a vaulted passage to
Cavendish Street. To the west of the arch the south face of the gatehouse
has a bow window on the ground floor, a window on the first floor and a
two-light mullioned window on the second floor. Above the arch there is a
straight-headed niche. The north face of the gatehouse has a two-light
mullioned window on the second floor to the west of the arch together with
one first floor and two second floor narrow lights. Post-medieval
buildings abut the ground and first floors of the gatehouse east and west
of the arch. The west wall is abutted by a post-medieval building up to
second floor height; immediately above the roof of this later building
there is the top of a cusped single light in the gatehouse wall and above
this there is a four-light mullioned window with two upper lights above.
On the roof at the western end of the gatehouse there is a square chimney
stack. The gatehouse east wall is also abutted by post-medieval buildings.
It has a cusped single light and a narrow single light on the second
floor, and above this is a 20th century reconstructed four-light mullioned
window with two upper lights above. The west side of the passage has two
entrances and a large window, the east side of the passage has an entrance
leading to a winding stair giving access to the upper floors. Internally
the gatehouse has undergone considerable modifications including removal
of the upper floor while entrances have been inserted into the west wall
from the adjacent property on three levels. The thick walls of the
gatehouse have enabled certain features to be inserted; these include a
store and a stone staircase in the north wall and an entrance and wide
ledge in the east wall at third floor level. The post-medieval buildings
which share the gatehouse walls are not included in the scheduling,
although the shared wall is included. The gatehouse is a Listed Building
Grade II*.

Much of the priory precinct lies beneath the houses and gardens of modern
Cartmel to the north of the gatehouse and priory church. It would have
been surrounded by a stone precinct wall, the course of which is followed
by a modern wall at the precinct's north west corner. Within the precinct
are three areas of undeveloped land either side of Priest Lane within
which archaeological remains have either been located or are considered to
exist. One of these areas is Farmery Field, centred at SD38007887, on the
north side of the priory church immediately north of Priest Lane. Its name
suggests that the priory infirmary was located here and an aerial
photograph clearly show crop marks indicating that the buried remains of a
substantial building survive within this field. Evidence that the priory's
lay cemetery was located here came in 1983 when eight burials were found
in Farmery Field during the excavation of a gas pipe trench. Other
features associated with the priory are considered to lie within Farmary
Field including parts of the cloister built in the mid-15th century.
Limited excavations during the 1990s in Priory Gardens, part of the
medieval precinct situated north west of the church and centred at
approximately SD38927883, revealed well-preserved multi-phased medieval
structures associated with a relatively deep stratigraphy. The earliest
features comprise timber structures which were precursors to, or were
associated with, the initial phase of stone construction of the priory in
the late 12th/early 13th centuries. This stone construction comprised two
buildings with a possible associated courtyard. The structures were
enlarged during the 13th or early 14th centuries and large amounts of
industrial residues suggest that the area was given over to industrial
activity at this time. A further phase of structural remodelling occurred
prior to abandonment and demolition of the buildings in the late 14th
century. The features revealed in Priory Gardens extend beyond the areas
excavated suggesting that similar well-preserved medieval remains await
discovery elsewhere within the priory precinct. Such an area is the field
south east of Fairfield Lodge centred at approximately SD38917893. This
field formed part of the priory's outer court, an area housing the
agricultural and industrial buildings essential to the priory's economy.
Excavation and documentory sources associated with other medieval abbeys
and priories indicate the wide range of buildings located in areas such as
this including barns, graneries, brewhouse, bakehouse, guesthouse,
woolhouse, swinehouse, stables, mills, dovecots, tannery, and blacksmiths

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These comprise all
modern walls, fenceposts, gateposts, railings and telegraph poles, a shed
in the garden of No 1 Church View, an electrical substation in Farmery
Field, a greenhouse, a gazebo which is a Listed Building Grade II, all
outbuildings and all dwarf walls associated with a market garden in Priory
Gardens, the surfaces of all paths and access drives, and the road surface
beneath the gatehouse. The ground beneath all these features is included.
Additionally all signs, information boards, exhibits and associated
fixtures and fittings in the gatehouse which are affixed to the medieval
masonry are also excluded from 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.

Despite alteration and adaption for a variety of uses over a period of
almost 800 years, Cartmel Augustinian Priory gatehouse survives well and
remains an excellent example of a medieval monastic gatehouse.
Additionally a combination of aerial photographs and limited excavations
in the priory's precinct have revealed the survival of well-preserved
archaeological remains relating to the arrangement of medieval buildings
within the precinct and the changing uses to which parts of the precinct
were subjected. Further well-preserved archaeological remains are expected
to survive elsewhere throughout the priory's precinct.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Dickinson, J C, The Priory of Cartmel, (1991)
Wild, C, Howard-Davis, C, 'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Excavations at Priory Gardens, Cartmel, , Vol. MM, (2000), 161-80
Wilson, P R, Clare, T, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Farmery Field, Cartmel, , Vol. XC, (1990), 195-8
AP No. MY70, Cambridge University Collection, Cartmel Priory,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,

Source: Historic England

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