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DRAX PRIORY

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The buried and earthwork remains of an Augustinian priory founded in the 1130s by William Paynel and dissolved in 1535.The priory is recorded as having a church, cloister, infirmary, refectory, prior's chamber and dormitory in 13th century documents. Drainage works have converted the marsh into farmland, with the original island granted to the Augustinians now standing 3-4 metres above the surrounding area. The priory is thought to have occupied all of this island, with buildings located within a precinct enclosure. The main route of the priory is thought to have been along Pear Tree Avenue, labelled as Ave Maria Lane on 19th century maps. The route approaches the monument from the east and would have provided access to the priory through a gatehouse thought to have been located in the area of the western part of the modern farmyard. To the north of the farmyard are the remains of the priory's eastern precinct boundary. The buildings of Drax Abbey farm are thought to overlie the remains of the priory's outer court. The inner court or core of the priory, including the church and the cloistral ranges, is thought to have been located on the higher ground to the west. In 1997 a geophysical survey of this area revealed wall lines of buried buildings. Some ponds, probably associated with the abbey were recorded from air photographs. Most are still extant as earthworks on the latest photography but the most westerly has been filled in and ploughed over and apppears as a soilmark.

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