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GISBOROUGH PRIORY

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  RUINS OF ST MARYS PRIORY, GUISBOROUGH PRIORY
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The now ruined Gisborough Priory, an Augustinian monastery, was founded was founded in 1119 by Robert de Brus as part of the early 12th century religious revival in the north of England. The priory was richly endowed from the onset and continued to be supported by the benefactions not only of large landowners but also of relatively humble people. In 1289 a fire at the priory had a serious financial effect, as did the Scottish Wars of the 14th century when it became a refuge for canons driven from the monasteries at Brinkburn, Jedburgh and Hexham. In 1540 the priory was dissolved by Henry VIII and in 1550, the site and buildings were sold to Sir Thomas Chaloner. The site is still owned by the Chaloner family and is managed by English Heritage. Archaeological excavations have revealed that prior to the monastery's foundation, the site was the location of a late Saxon settlement and a Norman cemetery. The first priory church built on the site is assumed to have been constructed of wood and there have been three successive churches on the site since, forming the north range the cloister. The first was constructed prior to 1180 and demolished in the second half of the 12th century. It was rebuilt in the 13th century, however it was affected by the fire of 1289. Repairs and rebuilding of the church took place in the 14th century. South of the church lay the remaining three cloister ranges of which only the west range has been excavated. Its standing remains date to the later 13th century, with 15th century cross walls, and include a vaulted undercroft which would have been used for cellarage. The south range would have included the refectory and kitchens, while the east range would have included the dormitory and chapter house. A wide range of ancillary buildings stood outside the cloister and would have included an infirmary, a brewhouse and bakehouse, workshops and barns. Records indicate the existence of two gatehouses, one of which dates to the 12th century.

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