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MONK BRETTON PRIORY

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The now ruined Monk Bretton Priory was founded circa 1154, it originally housed monks of the Cluniac order. After a number of disputes concerning the appointment of its priors, it severed its ties with its mother house, La Charite sur Loir, and St John's in Pontefract to become, in 1281, an independent Benedictine Priory. The priory was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538. The visible remains are of the church and domestic ranges around a central cloister occupying the south and west parts of the precinct. Northwards, these are divided from the main gatehouse and a separate administrative building by the outer court, while to the south, a second court served the prior's lodging and the guest house. The church, which formed the north cloister range, was built in the second half of the 12th century and was altered by the end of the 12th century and in the mid 14th century. Apart from the south transept, only the lower walls of the church remain standing. The administrative building, though altered in the 17th century, is of late 13th-early 14th century date, while the main gatehouse dates to the early 15th century. South of the church are the cloister ranges of the priory. The temporary buildings, erected after the priory's foundation, were replaced in stone throughout the 13th century and were altered at various times during the later Middle Ages. The east cloister range consisted of the chapter house, warming house and the monks' dormitory. East of this range are the remains of the infirmary. The south cloister range was occupied by a later warming house and the refectory, and on the north side was the lavatory. South of the refectory are the 13th century remains of the kitchen and a bakehouse. The west cloister range comprised an outer parlour and undercroft used for cellarage and storage. On the first floor were the prior's apartments which, after the Dissolution, were altered to form a dwelling house. The remains of two fishponds are also visible.

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