Ancient Monuments

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Area of Conventual Buildings, St Mary's Priory

A Scheduled Monument in Abergavenny (Y Fenni), Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

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Latitude: 51.8213 / 51°49'16"N

Longitude: -3.0157 / 3°0'56"W

OS Eastings: 330091

OS Northings: 214116

OS Grid: SO300141

Mapcode National: GBR F5.WJKW

Mapcode Global: VH796.PH35

Entry Name: Area of Conventual Buildings, St Mary's Priory

Scheduled Date: 15 July 1975

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2408

Cadw Legacy ID: MM183

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Priory

Period: Medieval

County: Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

Community: Abergavenny (Y Fenni)

Built-Up Area: Abergavenny

Traditional County: Monmouthshire


The monument consists of the remains of the cloisters belonging to St Mary's Priory, a daughter house of the Benedictine abbey of SS Vincent and Laurence at Le Mans. The Priory was founded around 1100 by Hamelin de Ballon, Lord of Abergavenny on a site outside the E gate of the town. The Priory benefitted from the patronage of the powerful Herbert family in the late 15th and 16th centuries, but was dissolved in 1536 at which time there were only 4 monks in residence. The cloisters are located on the S side of the church, in an area now occupied by a car park and a church hall. The cloister area was square and measured 16m E/W by 17m and would have comprised an open garth surrounded on all sides by a covered cloister arcade. The E claustral range still stands, although it has been greatly altered and is not part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument. The W and S ranges were demolished in 1953. The profile of the W range can be seen in the wall of the S nave and suggests a two-storey building with a timber floor. The exterior wall of the W range survives in a reduced state and reveals the presence of a doorway with a four centred arched head which was the entrance passage through the building into the cloister. The ground floor of the W range may have been used for storage while the upper floor may have provided lodging for the Prior or guests. The S range would have housed the refectory. Following the dissolution, church became the parish church for Abergavenny and the remainder of the Priory buildings were granted to James Gunter of Abergavenny who set about converting them into a substantial Tudor house.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval ecclesiastical organisation. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. The structure itself may be expected to contain archaeological information concerning chronology and building techniques.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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