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THORNHOLME PRIORY

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The buried and earthwork remains of Thornholme Augustinian priory founded by King Stephen between 1148 and 1154 for about 12 Augustinian canons on a small island on the western edge of the Ancholme valley. The priory was supressed in 1536. The main part of the priory lies to the east of the West Drain, a drainage dyke which was in existence by 1836. The priory church is cruciform in plan, about 65 metres long and 25 metres across the trancepts. The north transept was archaeologically investigated in 1975-76 demonstrating that the priory had both glazed and unglazed windows, a leaded roof, and areas of tiled flooring. To the south of the nave and south transept are the substantial earthwork remains of the cloister and other related buildings. The substantial west range, the refectory forming the south side of the cloister and the large kitchen in the south east corner all survive as clear upstanding earthworks. To the south of the cloister there are the earthworks of boundary walls and small buildings that are interpreted as the remains of service yards. Further to the south and south west are a series of depressions and water filled ponds which are interpreted as ponds used for the management of water-fowl. To the east of the cloister, set within a large walled enclosure, there are the buried remains of the infirmary. The west end of the precinct lies to the west of the West Drain. This are was partly excavated in the 1970s and was shown to retain a complex succession of gatehouses and other service buildings built and modified from at least the 12th century up until the Dissolution. Scheduled.

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