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PRIORY OF ST MARY MAGDALEN

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Site of the priory of St Mary Magdalen founded by Richard de Clare, Earl of Hartford, late in the reign of Henry II and confirmed by Celestine III in 1192. In 1337 the church, chapter-house, dormitory, refectory, library, vestry and other buildings of the monastery were destroyed by fire. John, Archbishop of Canterbury, granted indulgence of 40 days to all who should assist in rebuilding the priory and further indulgences, amounting in all to 8 years and 230 days, were obtained from the Pope and bishops. Eventually, Tonbridge became one of the monasteries suppressed by Wolsey for the foundation of his colleges. It was dissolved by his agent William Burbank on 8th February 1525. The priory came into the possession of the Crown in 1532 and was granted with most of its possessions to the dean and chapter of Windsor. Several stone coffins originally laid to rest at the priory have been found locally.

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