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WHITE LADIES PRIORY

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  ST LEONARDS PRIORY
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The remains of the Priory of St Leonard at Brewood, generally known as White Ladies Priory. The land was given as a grant in 1186, and the architectural evidence also suggests a foundation in the late 12th century, and was a house of Augustinian nuns. It had a modest endowment and remained a small convent until it was dissolved in 1536. In 1538 during the suppression of the monasteries most of the buildings were taken down. Parts of the church remained and a timber-framed house was built onto the east end with a walled garden by the Skevington family. This was demolished in the 18th century. The future Charles II was given shelter at White Ladies during his flight from Parliamentary troops in September 1651, at which time the priory and nearby Boscobel House were owned by the Giffords. They were a Roman Catholic family, and the church precinct was used for Catholic burials until 1844. The gatehouse was still in use as a labourer's cottage in 1809. In 1938 the site was placed in the care of the Secretary of State.

A number of standing and buried remains of the priory have survived. The priory church had a five-bayed, aisleless nave, a quire, and a three-bayed, square-ended presbytery, with simple north and south transepts. The cloister was unconventionally attached to the north wall of the nave. The standing remains of the priory are made of coursed sandstone and include the presbytery and parts of the east and west walls of the transept. To the north of the ruins is evidence of the subsurface remains of the claustral buildings and ancillary structures within the priory precinct. The north-eastern edge of the precinct was marked by a line of fish ponds, one of which had been converted from a quarry scoop which had probably provided the stone for the priory's construction. A number of grave covers have also been found on the site, some of which date from the late 12th to mid 13th century. The site is now in the care of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the English Heritage website.