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GROVEBURY PRIORY

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The site of an Early Medieval settlement, a Medieval manor and Fonterraultine double house. The manor of Leighton was granted by Henry II in 1164 to Fontrevault, a cell of brethren being established after 1189. It appears not to have become completely conventual. Only Grovebury was still regarded as an alien priory of the order after 1294, when the King temporarily took all of the Fontrevaultine houses into his hands. It was dissolved in 1414. Excavation and documentary evidence from English and French sources combine to support the theory that a conventual house never became properly established. From a chapel combined with living quarters, the site rapidly became a chapel with resident chaplains in a manorial complex rented to tenants. In the 13th and 14th centuries Grove was used as an occasional royal residence, and the Crown seems to have kept an interest until at least 1480. It is not clear when the priory completely lost its religious function and degenerated into a farmhouse. Iron Age and Roman findspots have also been located at the site.

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