Ancient Monuments

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Monastic site identified as St Leonard's Nunnery

A Scheduled Monument in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.7794 / 55°46'46"N

Longitude: -2.0265 / 2°1'35"W

OS Eastings: 398432.979211

OS Northings: 654013.549725

OS Grid: NT984540

Mapcode National: GBR G19M.12

Mapcode Global: WH9YB.VZ5S

Entry Name: Monastic site identified as St Leonard's Nunnery

Scheduled Date: 13 March 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1416290

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Berwick-upon-Tweed

Built-Up Area: Berwick-upon-Tweed

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Berwick Holy Trinity and St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The buried remains of a medieval monastery identified as the remains of St Leonard’s Nunnery.

Source: Historic England


The monastic site is situated above the steep north bank of the River Tweed at the junction of Duns Road and the A1. It is visible on aerial photographs as parch and cropmarks, and has also been investigated by geophysical survey and partial archaeological excavation. It comprises a complex of buildings surviving as low stone walls, many robbed, but which retain original floor surfaces. A large building of cruciform plan about 32m long, truncated at its east end and oriented east to west is interpreted as the conventual church; the southern transept is larger than the north, and is thought to incorporate a chapel. Attached to the north side of the nave is a rectangular cloister flanked by ranges of buildings, with a chapter house thought to occupy the centre of the east range. Other buildings are present to the west and south of the church, including what is thought to be a large lodging house. It is considered likely that the remains originally extended further on the north, east and west sides, but a linear boundary feature running west to east immediately to the south of the buildings is interpreted as part of a precinct boundary.

Extent of scheduling:
The monument includes the full known extent of the buried remains and their immediate environs as they have been identified by aerial photography, geophysical survey and partial excavation. Its south side is defined by what is considered to be the remains of the precinct boundary and on the east side the site has been truncated by the construction of 1-4 Duns Road. On the north and west sides no traces of further archaeological remains have been confirmed and these sides are also now truncated by roads.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The remains of this monastic site identified as St Leonard’s Nunnery are scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: archaeological investigation has demonstrated that it retains significant archaeological deposits including both structural and artefactual remains;
* Documentation: the foundation and subsequent history of the site is well documented, in particular it is noted that it was damaged in 1333 during the Battle of Halidon Hill;
* Diversity: the 'Benedictine' layout of the monastery and the identification of key buildings have been established, including church, cloister and chapter house;
* Potential: few nunneries have been examined in detail, and the largely unexcavated remains will inform our knowledge and understanding of its foundation, use and abandonment;
* Group value: it shares group value the registered site of the Battle of Halidon Hill.
* Association: The site is associated with the scheduled medieval town walls and castle at Berwick-upon-Tweed, and with the scheduled medieval church and graveyard at Castle Terrace.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cambridge, E, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 5th series' in Berwick And Beyond, Medieval Religious Establishments On The NW Margin..., , Vol. 5th ser 29, (01/01/2001), 33-94

Source: Historic England

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