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WATTON PRIORY

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Gilbertine priory erected between 1156-1539, possibly on the site of Anglo Saxon nunnery extant circa 686, probably destroyed in the 9th century. Later converted to a house in the post medieval period, (TA04NW28). There are extensive earthworks. This was the wealthiest Gilbertine house in England and at its greatest extent covered 22 hectares, the boundaries defined by watercourses. The precinct of the double monastery was rectangular in shape with the inner precinct of the nuns in the South-West corner, bounded in medieval times along most of its length by a watercourse. The existing mansion, which embodies the medieval prior's lodging, and some mounds and fragments of masonry on the sites of the cloisters of the nuns and the canons, is all that can be seen today. The whole site was carefully excavated in 1893-8 by W H St J Hope and is the only Gilbertine "double" monastery of which the plan has been completely revealed. The site is visible on air photographs and was mapped as part of the Chalk Lowlands and the Hull Valley NMP project.

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