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OTTERTON PRIORY

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An alien priory of Benedictine (Black) monks is believed to have stood to the east of the present church of St. Michael at Otterton (SY 08008516). It was founded as a cell of the monastery of Mont St. Michael in Normandy before 1087 and was their principal property in England. Its foundation for four monks by King John is recorded in 1332 but he may only have increased the revenues and erected better buildings for a small cell. The priory was temporarily alienated in 1332 for 120 pounds but may have been re-occupied by a monk from the parent house. It was suppressed in 1414 and some years later was granted to Syon Abbey, Middlesex. At the dissolution of this abbey in 1539 the property was purchased by Richard Duke, who converted part of the monastic building into his mansion (SY 08 NE 11). The tower of the present church is believed to be part of the priory, the monks using a chancel that is thought to have stood on its east side. Although the tower is late 11th century, the rest of the church is entirely 1870.

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